How to Start off the Semester Well

Alright. It’s that time of year where everyone is going back to school. Ever had that problem where you feel like you still have a lot of free time in college and then a few weeks go by and you realize that you are actually behind on classwork? Incoming freshmen sometimes feel that way. College offers so much more freedom than high school, yet somehow we still fall behind on the school work.


Well how do we get a good start on our semester? It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Most information you find on studying involves all this time spent planning out all the assignments, projects, quizzes, tests, exams, presentations, etc for every class. If that wasn’t enough, you need to make sure you study for 3 hours per every credit hour you have.


Yeah, because people honestly have the time for that…


Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about doing all that planning. While yes, perhaps some planning is involved, you really don’t need to do that much. That means more time for you to get out and enjoy yourself during college.


Before classes start:


Step one involves making sure you are signed up for your classes and have all your textbooks before you start classes. The earlier you buy/rent the textbooks the better (and cheaper). This way you at least have everything in the event you have professors that immediately want to start making you use the textbook from day one.


The first week of classes:

Make sure you attend all your classes the first week of school. Some schools will drop you from the class automatically if you don’t show up, which you definitely do not want. As a plus, the syllabus is a very useful document to have. It will tell you when all assignments are due and when any projects are. Be careful though, the copy that you get on the first class might become obsolete. Sometimes professors might not exactly follow the syllabus as it is written. Worse, some professors might actually add assignments that weren’t originally on the syllabus. So be careful and check to see if the professor updates the syllabus online.


After your first day of class, look over the assignments section and note the times that you don’t have homework. This way, you just assume you have homework and then when you don’t, it’s a pleasant surprise. It always amazed me how many of my classmates didn’t know if there was homework due that day. Be especially careful for assignments that professors want done every day but don’t put on the syllabus.


Honestly, it’s all downhill from here. The next step is just doing the work. When you have a homework assignment, do it the same day it was assigned or the next day. Yes, even if the class only meets once a week. This way doing the homework is extra practice to help you remember the material. In addition, you just need to briefly review the material a day or two before your next class and then you don’t need to worry about forgetting what you learned the previous class. This also translates into less cramming before tests throughout the semester, which means while your friends are cramming, you are relaxing.

If you stick with this as your baseline, I guarantee you that the semester will be much easier for you. I know it’s not always fun to try to immediately do homework, but a little work right up front will save you loads of time for when you really need it.


Good luck this semester!