Preparing for Your Upcoming Semester

Realizing it's already August and you haven't packed a single box for move in? Are you still in summer mode, sitting on the beach working on your tan? Here are some tips on how to get motivated and prepare for the upcoming semester. (You'll thank me later.)

1. Organize, color code, and label your bins and boxes for move in.

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This is especially important if you are a first-year student. While you are moving in, it will be chaotic, with hundreds of other students moving in at the same time. Organize your items by group: clothes, toiletries, dorm decor, etc. Unpacking will be super easy! Then, stick a piece of colored duct tape on each bin and box you plan on bringing. Label them with a Sharpie by writing your name and room assignment. Trust me, this will make the process go much smoother, and you won't have to worry about misplacing anything.

2. Buy a planner.

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You know those cute, floral planners that you see in the store? Pick one up! Start by writing in your class times for the semester. If you know that you have any weekends where you will be going home, write those in, too. Throughout the year, you can use your planner to keep track of deadlines, projects, meetings, or even parties and social events. Remember, organization is key!

3. Coordinate with your roommates.

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If you are living on campus, or with a roommate, you should reach out to discuss who is bringing a fridge, microwave, tapestry, rug, etc. It's best to situate this before you arrive. (Otherwise, you'll show up and realize you have two of everything.) Keep it simple, and communicate during the summer.

4. Save some money for textbooks, laundry, and spending.

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This tip will keep your stress levels low. During the summer, get a job and set aside some money that you can use when you're back at school. Textbooks are usually quite expensive. If you have to pay for laundry, you should prepare for that as well. You should also have some money saved for everyday spending, which can be used for groceries, clothes shopping, or Uber.

5. Clean out your email inbox.

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Once the school year begins, it is likely that your email inbox will be flooded with notifications, event reminders, and messages from your professors. You don't want to miss the email about your cancelled lecture because of the 20 H&M emails sitting in your inbox. The week or two before classes begin, make it your mission to clean up a little. Delete any messages that you don't need, unsubscribe from any promotional emails you get, and clear spam and trash folders.

6. Reach out to your professors.

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Now, this is not something everyone is interested in doing. But, if you want to introduce yourself to your professors and start out on the right foot, shoot them an email or message. You can tell them your name, major, and perhaps a reason why you chose their course. This will immediately leave a positive impression on your professor, and tells them you are friendly and driven. (Plus, it might help you later on if you need your grade bumped up a point or two.)

7. Make a list of groups, clubs, or organizations you are interested in.

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At the school's involvement fair, all organizations will be present to recruit interested members. It can be hectic and overwhelming, especially for freshmen who are new to the school. Make a list of any clubs you want to join. You can find a list on your college's website and research them to see what's best for you. There are so many options, including community service opportunities, academic groups, social clubs, and Greek Life. And, if you have an interest or idea for a club that doesn't exist, start one! Most universities have a very simple, fun process to start a student organization. Getting involved is the best way to make the most of your college experience.

8. Research job opportunities and apply.

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There are so many opportunities for work while at college. Through work study and non-work study programs, you can get a job on campus to make some extra cash. Explore the school's website or job search to find jobs that interest you. It's best to apply for the semester begins, so buff up your resume and send in an application!

9. Update your resume/LinkedIn.

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Alright, so this one might not sound too fun. But, you should review and revise both your resume and your LinkedIn profile. This will make life easier when you are requesting recommendations, or applying to programs and internships during the semester. Make sure your contact information is updated, as well, if any potential employers want to get in touch with you!

10. Relax, and get ready to have fun.

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At the end of the day, you should be enjoying yourself at college. If you have followed this plan and given yourself time to prepare for the upcoming semester, relax! You are ready to get those As, get involved with your school and community, and work towards your degree. Remain positive throughout these next few weeks, and remember: you got this!

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