Five ways to prepare and own this semester

Five ways to prepare and own this semester

By Branden Hopper

Whether you’re a freshman, transfer student or returning senior, starting a new semester after a long break can be stressful. College life isn’t always what you see in the brochure and it’s often most chaotic during the beginning of a semester when you’re still adjusting to new classrooms and professors. Being prepared on the first day of school will save you time, energy, unnecessary stress and it’s also an attainable goal. Here are five ways to make sure you’re prepared for the new semester.


Being goal oriented is a great way to stay focused and propel yourself through the semester. Sixteen weeks is a long time and making a list of several short-term goals to achieve throughout the semester will help motivate you. It can also help keep everyone’s favorite momentum killer, procrastination, at bay. Paint the big picture too, plan some long-term goals and use your short-term ones as a step ladder to reach them. Remember that setting them is just as important as following through. Often, getting started is the hardest part but once you’ve set a handful of attainable goals, things won’t seem so crazy.


Remember last semester when you forgot the due date of your midterm? We’ve all been there but mishaps like forgetting due dates and falling behind are avoidable. There a couple of sure ways to stay organized this semester. Get a planner, look through your syllabi and mark down important assignments, class meetings and due dates. It’s also a great idea to keep your schedule and classroom locations written down for the first few weeks of the semester. This way, you won’t be late to class or meetings. Cleaning up and organizing your work and living space is also a great way to hit the reset button before a new semester. Staying organized can help you stay focused on what really matters – your goals. You’ll miss if you’re not checking your campus email regularly. Make it a habit to check your email, along with your planner, every day before classes and again before heading home. Don’t forget about your Canvas email, either. Instructors and other students will often communicate via email through Canvas and it’s likely you’ll miss things if you’re not checking it. Make checking your email frequently a habit, so it will help you be successful.


One of the best ways to hit the ground running early in the beginning of the semester is to get your textbooks early. Buying or renting them early will allow you time to review the material, as well as mark reading assignments in your fancy new planner. You can find out which textbooks your instructors have assigned on The Cove Bookstore webpage. If the information isn’t available as quickly as you’d like it to be try emailing your instructors and asking which books you should get. Try to grab them as soon as they’re available and get started. Reading even a small amount every day before the semester starts will make the first weeks of school much less difficult.


One of the best ways to feel good going into a semester is to connect with your classmates and instructors early. Reach out to classmates and instructors on Canvas and introduce yourself Networking is always a good idea but it’s especially helpful at the beginning of the semester when you might have questions that other people have answers to. Starting study groups or just hanging out with your classmates can be helpful as it will create community and give everyone an extra resource for success. There are plenty of groups and clubs on campus. Try and find one that fits into some of your short or long-term goals. Plugging in and staying active are great ways to start a semester.


This could have gone with organization but it’s so important that it deserves its own category. CI is a big place with a lot of things happening and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Campus announcements, important deadlines and information from your instructors are just a few things

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