Welcome to a new semester, fellow college students! The start of a new year or semester can be a whirlwind of emotion, excitement, and (possibly) nervousness! Whether you are a freshman or are returning to campus this semester, it is absolutely essential that you start the new semester on the right foot, so to speak. Not sure how to do this? I’ve come up with a list of some of my personal tips on how to get in the right college mindset and make syllabus week easy as pie! 🙂

Go to class

The number one way to excel in your classes is to actually show up for lecture every week. This one may seem obvious to annoying overachievers (such as myself), but I know all too well how tempting it can be to skip lectures or spend time away from class when it seems like you aren’t learning anything or the professor is a bore. Seriously though, it cannot be said enough: go to your classes – all of them. You will be thanking yourself come finals week when you have gone to every class and have all of the necessary materials to succeed.

Read through your syllabuses carefully

Syllabus week is an annoying reality, but an important one. On the first day of class when you receive the syllabus, instead of just shoving it in an undisclosed section of your backpack, take the time to actually read through it and make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you in the class. Professors put all kinds of useful information in their syllabus – the grade ranges, instructions on formatting papers, due dates for big assignments and tests, office hour times – it is absolutely crucial you actually read through it all and know what is going on, right from the start of class to the very last day.

Get plenty of sleep

No one can function with less than seven hours of sleep. Trust me, I’ve tried. Plan ahead and make sure you go to bed at a decent hour during the week so you can wake up refreshed and ready to start the day happily. Resist the urge to catch up on your dreams while sitting in calculus!

Reach out for help as soon as you need it

Too many students struggle because they are too afraid to ask for help or don’t think they really need it. Professors are your best friends in college – for better or for worse – and they are crucial resources there for YOUR needs. Do not be scared to take advantage of them! As soon as you start to have a problem or don’t understand what is going on in lecture, you need to take the steps to get help and figure out what is going on ASAP.

Stay on top of things – no procrastination!

I know too easily the temptations of procrastinating – in order to overcome the struggle, you need to start the semester off by staying on top of all your assignments and activities, creating a work/study schedule that works for you, and keeping yourself focused and motivated. It isn’t always easy, but these are the crucial skills that you need to learn in college in order to survive and succeed!

Pencil in some relaxation time

You are officially in college! Take the time to explore and enjoy your campus, because sadly, these four years will go by way too fast. Relieve the stress in your life by spending time with friends, family, and yourself. College is first and foremost about academics, that is true, but there are many other important opportunities and experiences you should have while here. It’s up to you to go after them!

Remember everything will be okay

The semester brings out the stress and insanity in all of us. When you are at your worst, when you feel like you aren’t smart enough to handle your classes or are going to fail, remember that everything will be okay in the end. If you keep working hard and studying smart, you will pass your classes and graduate in time! It will all work out in the end, one way or another. Be confident in yourself and your abilities to succeed. You have made it this far, just keep going!

I hope that this advice has been helpful. I know that the start of a new semester can be kind of crazy, but life will be a little bit easier if you follow these tips. Stay strong and study hard, you got this! 🙂

Share your college survival tips in the comments or with me on Twitter @CaseyDonart

xoxo Casey


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