We all know Spring Semester feels like an endless roller coaster. Unexpected turns in the syllabus schedule, that weirdo who has to sit next to you and wont stop disturbing your space, the uncontrollable weather of your emotions, no control over the speed of the route; the boring incline of the first half, the epic climax into spring break, then the terrifying drop to the final examination period.
In the beginning, it’s all excitement, rainbows, resolutions and expert planning. And in the end, it’s all stomach churning, heart attacks and you wondering what happened to yourself. A rollercoaster indeed and whether you like roller coasters or not, you are forced on to it. So instead of standing in line with unknown expectations to where this ride might take you or how it’ll play out, why not be a little bit more prepared than the people in line behind you. Here are some helpful organizing tips that will get you through the rollercoaster of Spring Semester:
1. Buy the planner, become one with the planner.
A planner is the lifesaver of all semesters. It is not silly, it is not useless, it is not a waste. It is everything you need to be remotely successful in a college spring semester. With a planner, you have your whole life for that semester planned out right in front of you, telling you your schedule, to-dos, plans, and so on.
If you buy a planner, make sure it is actually functional. The ones with the day-to-day planning are my favorite because you can write out the actual times for each activity you have for the day. And with more room to write, you can add more details. For example, for my classes, I write the name of the class, the time, location, and book I need for it. Once the class is over I still have more room to write down the assignment I have before the next one. The more details the better because that will be less for you to try to remember because it is all right there for you.
Another helpful sub-tip for the planner is to make it personal. Highlighting, little doodles, stickers, post-it notes, whatever you like, personalize it. Make it your own. It's is a lot more appealing to look at your to-do list for the day with some pink highlighting than just a plan list on your hand.
2. Actually read the syllabus and schedule.
They all say the same thing; they are boring and are prone to being thrown in the trash as soon as it reaches your hand. But I, coming from experience, can tell you that if you actually read the syllabus and schedule (and put the important dates in your super cool planner), you will feel more prepared for the class. Some professors actually put in key information in the syllabus; some have even hidden it from the other boring text (coming from experience).
So read the syllabus, get an idea what the course will be like, and plan out how you are going to tackle the assignments and exams for the semester.
3. Talk to your professor.
That being said about reading the syllabus and schedule, I recommend going and talking to your professor about it. I know, it sounds somewhat like a teacher’s pet, but it is helpful I guarantee it. When you go up to the professor, on your free time after class, stand in line, shake their hand and tell them your name, and give them just one comment or question about the class, you’ll already be ahead for the course.
A college course is about learning and making connections and you greeting the professor and engaging in conversation with them is a developed connection that could actually be useful in the future of the course or the future of your career like for recommendations.
4. Don’t buy the books until your professor tells you to.
While talking with the professor, one question you might want to make is if they actually recommend buying the textbooks required on the syllabus. Syllabi might say yes buy these three books, but then on the first day, the professor says to only buy one. Waiting to buy your textbooks until your professor tells you so is a way to save money, time, and stress from the craziness of the beginning of the semester.
5. Stock up on supplies.
Once you’ve got a handle on what each class will require of you, go out and stock up on the supplies because we all know how valuable a #2 pencil is on the last day of exams when they are all sold out at the campus store. Buy plenty of scantrons, loose-leaf paper packets, pencils, pens, so that you don’t have to worry about restocking before exams. And carry some of the extras you buy with you, just in case a fellow friend needs you to save them from flunking an exam because they didn’t have the right color scantron. Buying in bulk can really be helpful, and it’ll help you feel more prepared for the entire semester.
6. Find your go-to person for each class.
They don’t have to be your best friend, you don’t have to hang out with each other every week, and you don’t even have to follow each other on Instagram. But finding that one go-to person in the class that you can share comments with, ask questions of reassurance, or even buddy up with just in case there is a group project (which we all know we love *cough cough*).
Knowing you have at least one person to be acquainted with can give you that reassurance as you come to class. You can double check exam times with each other, they can be there to study with you if you need it, maybe you can even recommend some of these helpful tips for them so that they can also have an organized semester. And if they survive the semester, so can you.
7. Don’t forget your ‘me time’.
Between class and studying and whatever else you have to do for your classes, make sure you take the time to sleep, go to the gym, watch a funny movie, hang out with friends, or do whatever you want to do that makes you happy. Every other student out there is just trying to survive through the semester also, you are never behind and never too far ahead, it is not a race and it is not an Olympic competition; as long as you achieve your goals and follow your dreams and find your own version of success, it is okay.
So literally plan out when you can find your own time to enjoy your college life. College is meant for you to experience many different things and aspects of life, so go and experience them, and experience them for yourself.
Like I said it is a rollercoaster, sometimes not a very fun one and sometimes the best one you’ve ever ridden through. These are just some helpful tips I have used to get through my semesters in a more organized fashion. Feel free to interpret them however you like, create some of your own tips even, I just hope these give you a little inspiration to take this semester as your best one yet. Good luck!