How to Prepare for Your Best Semester Yet

Hi, friends! The new semester is right around the corner, and I thought it would be fun to share a post on how to make this spring’s semester successful and productive.

With new schedules, new classes, new routines, and of course, a whole new level of work and studying, adjusting to a new semester can be challenging. However, it’s so exciting to have an opportunity to start fresh. Getting yourself organized and in the right frame of mind is key to having an amazing semester.

How to Prepare for Your Best Semester Yet

1. Restock supplies.

From essentials, like face wash and shampoo, to dorm snacks, to school supplies, restock anything you may need for spring semester now. I had to purchase more notebooks since I used up a ton of them during fall semester.

Take this time to think about what was useful and what didn’t work for you before. For example, did having one giant notebook make you more or less organized? Personally, I need a different notebook for each class. I also realized that I need to stock up on a few more folders for miscellaneous papers and things.

2. Lay out your schedule.

I create a document with time blocks showing when I’m in class. Including the location (room number, building, etc), section, and teacher are all helpful, especially in the beginning! If you’re like me, you like to know what your daily life will look like. I have a basic idea of what my week will look like before the semester even begins-when I’ll study, eat, hang out with friends, and more.

3. Set goals.

Your semester will go much smoother and be more successful and productive if you have clear, established goals. Setting meaningful goals that are attainable and realistic allows your actions to all have direction. Additionally, goals encourage you to persevere even when things get tough. If that biology class seems impossible and you want to give up, you can have a clear reminder of why you’re working so hard.

Want to learn how to set meaningful goals + get a glimpse into my 2018 goals? Click here to see the blog post I published last week that has some amazing tips for goal-setting!

4. Clean your room.

I did a massive cleaning of my dorm room before I came home for break, but re-organizing before the semester starts will save you a headache later. Once the full swing of things comes back, your workload will be higher than before and you need a comfortable, organized space. Coming home each day to a cluttered space will only make you more stressed.

5. Create a master list of assignments.

Once you get your syllabi for the classes you’ll be taking, break them down and create a document that has all of your assignments for all of your classes due dates. This way, you’ll know in advance when those weeks come along that feel like hell will be: the ones where you have a test in every class, nine 15-page papers due, and 4 group presentations to complete, all at the same time.

Also, get ahead on reviewing the policies and grading categories for each class. Pro tip: Do as well as you can on what you can control. What do I mean by this? If 40% of your final grade is based on exams, you may not be able to control the exact grade that you get on each exam. But if 15% is daily participation, make sure to put your hand up each day and contribute to the discussion. That 15% can easily be an A+ if you read through your syllabus!

6. Make sure you have what you need.

I’m not talking about school supplies here. Have you been eyeing that expensive reusable water bottle for months? I would get it. Splurging on something that you will love and use throughout the semester can boost your mood and make you excited about the upcoming semester.

A new pair of running shoes, high quality workout leggings, or a new pair of headphones can transform your motivation to workout. Cute mugs may motivate you to brew your own coffee in the morning rather than spending money at Starbucks every day.

I’m definitely a believer in saving money, but equally important is the “treat-yourself” mindset. Make yourself happy!

7. Get ahead.

If you’re a blogger, try and schedule a few weeks worth of posts so you can focus on adjusting to your new schedule. If you already have readings in advance that you can do, try getting ahead so you’re not overwhelmed later.

Perhaps the biggest tip here is to utilize your planner. Kayla from Kayla Blogs does an amazing round up of planners every year so you can find the one that works best for you. Start recording assignments and scheduling your time now. Make sure to schedule time for yourself!

8. Establish a nightly bedtime routine.

In college, it’s easy to become swept up in a life of going to bed at ungodly hours of the night and stumbling to your 8 a.m. with only a few hours of sleep to go on. The happiest and most stress-free I’ve ever been at college? A time after establishing a solid night routine.

I remove my makeup and then spend some time doing something I enjoy-reading, journaling, Netflixing, or talking to my family. This way, I can avoid going straight from hardcore studying to trying to sleep.

9. Brainstorm self-care ideas.

No matter which stage of life you are in-high school, college, adulthood-self care is so important. Self care doesn’t have to be getting a massage or going to a fancy restaurant (but hey, those are good too!). Thinking of ways to relax and be calm can help you later when things get rocky.

Lighting a candle, taking a bubble bath, eating ice cream, reading, writing-whatever brings you joy and calm is self care. Tori from Chase the Write Dream has a really lovely post on how to practice self care as a college student.

10. Learn that it’s okay to say yes (or no).

As a new semester starts, opportunities will no doubt come along with it. Maybe you’re afraid to take on the managing editor position at your job. Don’t be afraid to say yes to opportunities, even if they’re unfamiliar or bold. Sometimes we find joy and success in the things we were most afraid to do.

On the flip side, don’t be afraid to say no. If your friends all want to go out and you just don’t feel like it, it’s alright to say no. Maybe your body and mind are exhausted-it’s alright to say no to your to-do list and take a night to just relax and Netflix.

Become in tune with what your body and soul needs and wants. I need to learn to take my own advice on this! I’m so nervous before starting a new opportunity, big or small, that it makes me afraid to say yes even when I know I want it. Hopefully this year I can kick that habit and start embracing everything that comes my way.

Thanks for reading!

Kaitlin's Signature at thecuriouslemon blog

How do you prepare for a new semester? 




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  • Mallory

    I never realized how important it was to clean your room before the beginning of a semester! I made a priority to do this this semester, and it seriously set me up for success! These are amazing tips!

    -Mallory |

    • Kaitlin

      I think there’s so many underrated benefits to even just doing a little bit of tidying before bed. A massive overhaul before a new semester really sets you up to keep the room clean! I haven’t had any issues with my room getting too out of hand since I did this. Plus, it makes it easier to know where everything is! Glad you liked the post. Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂

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