Study Tips: Preparing for Your Next Semester

Happy Tuesday! I made it back from the Sierra Mountains alive and well and miss the adventure already. Meanwhile in real life, fall semester is almost here! The other day, I saw a school supplies stand in the grocery store and it hit me that it’s time to get ready. With the start of a new semester comes the rush of buying textbooks, gathering supplies, and getting into the right mindset. Fall semester is an especially big deal as everything on campus resets. Student orgs get new leaders, you get new friends, and everyone gets a chance to catch up after the long and sometimes busy summer.

Because I’m starting to think about the fall, today I’m sharing three things I do to prepare for a new semester.

I Make a Schedule

I enjoy making a schedule, yet I also find it an absolute necessity! Without a weekly and daily schedule, I could easily get home and spend all my time on social media or hanging out with friends when I really have homework to do. So when I get my class and work schedules for the next semester, I add them into my Google Calendar. Then as soon as I hear about events, appointments, and church activities throughout the semester, they go in the calendar. If I add an event to my calendar as soon as I know about it, I no longer have to stress over remembering it. And we all know college can give us enough of that!

Once the semester starts and I have a syllabus from each class, I make a list of dates with every known deadline in chronological order. When I’m planning out my study to-dos for the week in my bullet journal/planner, I like to look at the list to see what’s coming up in the next week or two. After I write down a due date in my planner, I break down the steps I need to take to make the deadline and add those as well.

Like with most things, there are a million ways to personalize this for you! You might have to search for suggestions (something which I will cover in the future) and see what works for you, but it’s worth it in the long run!

I Start Shopping for Textbooks

Freshman year I bought all my textbooks from the campus bookstore the weekend before classes started. That was a mistake I didn’t need to make! While I thankfully chose to rent some of those books, I wish I had known about other options which would’ve saved me even more money than just renting a textbook.

I personally find most of my textbooks by searching the ISBN number in a textbook search engine. My go-to is BigWords. Searching the textbook’s ISBN number on that website will pull up a list of all booksellers that offer it with the cost of buying or renting from each of them. I keep track of the books’ prices, and then, unless I know a certain textbook is key to a class, wait until the first class days to buy them.

Another cheap alternative I turn to is a second-hand textbooks Facebook group run by students from my school. I’ve gotten a couple good deals there and you might find your school has something similar if you ask around!

There’s plenty of articles out there that you can search on how to get the most bang for your buck (or lack of bucks) from textbooks. Feel free to look some up, and maybe someday I’ll add to the pile.

I Get Ready to Move

Depending on your situation, you might rent a campus apartment, live with your parents or other relatives, or stay in dorms. For me, I’m on campus, so I have to move out of my dorm every year for the summer. That means that moving is a big part of a new school year for me and I have to stay organized!

Staying organized actually starts as soon as I’m home for the summer. As I’m unpacking my dorm room things at home, I try and keep as much of my school-only stuff in one (giant) spot in my closet. When I’m smart about it, I’ll make a list of what stuff is already there, so I don’t have to dig through it all. Then when I’m starting to re-pack for the fall, I have half my things in one place!

Once moving time gets closer, I start looking through what I want to bring. Sometimes I find a Pinterest college packing list or make my own and it’s so helpful! My home is a decent distance from my school, enough to make it inconvenient to go home just for a weekend. Therefore, I try to be very thorough in making sure I’ve got everything I from home for the semester as I might come home maybe once in the next four months.

What’s most important to me in moving is time. Transporting your life and accompanying possessions is a process, whether it’s halfway across your state or halfway across the country. Therefore, it’s best to start thinking about what you need sooner rather than later.

What steps do you take to be ready for a new semester or school year? Share in the comments below!

Until next time,
Emmalee

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