10 Practical Tips For Freshmen During Their First Semester
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10 Practical Tips For Freshmen During Their First Semester

Ask, ask, ask.

10 Practical Tips For Freshmen During Their First Semester
Tim Gouw

We’ve all been there. Starting a new semester, trying to get in the groove again and feeling comfortable with new schedules, classes, teachers, expectations. I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve found practical and helpful when contemplating and preparing for a new semester.

1. Figure out your outfit the night before.

It is SO less stressful. Make sure those pair of jeans aren't in the hamper, or that your shirt isn’t sitting sopping wet in the washer. If you’re making a brand new outfit, be sure to try it on before you have to before the morning.

2. Have your backpack packed.

If you have notebooks—put them INTO your backpack before you go to bed. Not just the first week, but every night before class. Make sure you have enough pencils. If you have a paper to bring to class, print it before you wake up. Even if you’re tired, it will take 1 minute to hit the print button. It’s better than your computer dying in the middle of the night which CAN happen (and has).

3. Make your lunch the night before.

I once got in the habit of waking up and making a sandwich in less than 5 minutes. I would have the rest of the morning to finish getting ready. Sometimes I would have a baked sweet potato ready to pack from the night before. Whatever it is, even if it’s some snacks, have a mental image of what you want to pack before you walk into the kitchen. Also, be sure you have enough money, at least 5 dollars, for snacks/water later on. If you’re at school all day, you’ll probably need a little more.

4. Study smartly.

Start out the school year with a simple study schedule—study for your classes in the order of your classes. If Spanish is first, then when you go to study, study that first. I’m still testing this one out, but I’ve found I get more done because I know exactly what order to work on things. This doesn’t mean you spend the same time on each class because you’ll obviously have different work loads in different classes, but it does give you some structure to your study routine. But always be flexible and proactive in your studying. Get creative!

5. Know where your classes are.

Write your classes, days, professors’ names, classrooms, all in one place (preferably your calendar or planner). I like to write it all down or type it up and slip the paper into the front plastic cover of my big binder that I carry around, this way I can easily look down and know exactly when and where my classes are.

Even visit your campus before school starts and walk to your classrooms in the order you will go there. It makes it so much easier the first day back and that way you won’t be wandering around wondering where to go.

6. Ask, ask, ask.

Ask for help, ask for clarification, ask when the due date for Project XYZ is. A professor once told me that one of the most important things to learn in college is knowing when to ask for help and that it’s always okay to do so. The perfect time is anytime. You’re not bothering your professors when asking for help—it’s kinda what they are there for. Don’t bug them with questions that are answered on the syllabus. Ask about specifics like the content of your paper, advice, even asking them about their favorite thing they get to teach about.

7. Build relationships.

Yes, even with professors, and no not in a weird illegal way guys, sheesh. I try to visit my professors during office hours each semester at least once. I go in with a legitimate question, but I try to make it into a time to get to know who my professor is. They’ve all turned out to be pretty cool people, so give it a try.

Also, try to make some buds in your class. In every class where I’ve made an effort to reach out to my fellow classmates, I’ve made better grades and the class doesn’t seem as stressful. You’ll have a support group that way and you’ll enjoy the class a lot more.

8. Have a personal passion project.

If you like to bake, make sure you have some time to bake. If you like to write, write something other than that essay, even if it’s just a short poem. It will help you let off some steam, relax, and you’ll be doing something other than school, homework, or going to your job. It can be something 'small' but if it's something you like, that's all that matters.

9. Work out.

If this looks like putting on some tunes and dancing in between studying, then you’re doing it right. If you hit the gym right after class, you’re doing it right. If it’s a walk around your neighborhood, you’re doing it right. Any type of exercise releases stress and makes you feel great and gives you more energy. Especially around finals time.

10. Spend time with God.

If you proclaim to follow Jesus, follow Jesus through your classes, across campus, on your daily commute. On your commute, put on some worship music and worship your creator before you go to class. If a class gets cancelled, maybe God wants to spend that extra time with you. Flip open your Bible in Starbucks and write some prayers to God.

What do you guys do to have a better semester? Comment below! I'd love to know your ideas!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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