8 Top Tips to Prepare for the Spring Semester

The holidays are a great time to spend time with family, reflect on the past year, and enjoy some downtime from your studies. But before you know it the new year is approaching, and you’ll soon be back at college. The prospect of a new semester may leave you feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Or you may feel a sense of hope for the year ahead. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s best not to leave tasks for the new semester to the last minute.

Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

With that in mind, we’ve devised our top eight tips to prepare you for the spring semester.

  1. Spring clean your space. Unpack your bags, clean and tidy your living space, paying particular attention to where you study: declutter your desk, organize papers, and do any other outstanding chores like laundry. A clean, organized space will feel more inviting, and it will be easier to concentrate on your studies rather than be distracted by a messy room.
  1. Start planning ahead of time. Invest in a wall planner and a desk planner. Next, review your class schedule and block out classes, study time, social time, and time to relax. You might find this eases your anxiety as you can see how the semester will progress.
  1. Contact your professors before classes begin. Ask for the syllabus and any other course documents. Not only will you impress your professors, you’ll also get a list of supplies you need in advance. Which will help you with our next tip…
  1. Start buying books and supplies before class. Take some time to research which books you can loan from the library instead of buying. If the books you need aren’t available at the library, see what you can find online and compare prices against those at the campus bookstore. Even better, see if you can find a cheaper Kindle or app version. You’ll thank yourself for the monetary and time savings and you won’t show up at class unprepared.
  1. Mentally prepare yourself. Getting yourself in the right frame of mind for the semester is crucial. You’ll be studying for several months, and it may feel like summer is far away. Think about what activities you can do to relax and destress. Consider signing up for a sports team, or school club to ensure you get a good balance of study and play time. Also, be sure to research what kinds of emotional support the school offers so you have that information on hand if you need it.
  1. Get into a routine now. Try going to bed at the same time each night, and gradually wake up a little earlier each morning. Easing into an earlier wakeup time means the alarm clock will be less of a shock as the new semester starts. Once your body gets used to a regular schedule, you’ll get more restful sleep and feel more energized for the day ahead. Better sleep also means that you’ll find it easier to concentrate and focus on your studies. Trying to pay attention when you’re sleep deprived is futile — it will be challenging to retain information and you’ll feel sleepy throughout class.
  2. Start an achievement journal. This may sound silly, but when you’re in the midst of a stressful semester, the practice of listing five things you achieved each day is a great way of boosting self-esteem, confidence, and reminding you of the progress that you’re making. Examples include completed assignments, passing a test, studying, or chores you’ve done that you’d been putting off. If you’re stuck, you could always list some things you’re grateful for.
  1. Prepare to fuel your body efficiently. We know it may sound boring, but by ensuring you eat nutritious food, you’re also setting your brain up for success. You’ll be able to focus on your studies, you won’t be reaching for candy and soda to get you through the day, and you may even experience fewer symptoms of depression. A diet high in protein, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, with few processed foods, is what you’re aiming for. Check out some tips to eat healthy in college while you’re on a budget.

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