As summer comes to a close, it can be hard to transition back to a busy school schedule. The demands of the coming academic year can feel daunting, and your time away from slogging through studies probably feels too short.
While it might seem too soon to make a time management plan or look at your semester schedule, your school year will be better off if you are more prepared. Ready or not, the school year will be starting before you know it. Taking time to think through how to start your semester out strong will lay the foundation for a successful year.
Here are some tips to wrap up your summer well, and to kick off your school year strong.
Leave a good impression at your summer job
If your summer days were occupied by an internship, a full-time job, or volunteer work, it is important to finish your responsibilities with a dedicated work ethic and focused time on the job. It can be easy to let obligations slide as summer comes to a close, but staying committed will put you in the right frame of mind for your school work. This will give you momentum as you head into your classes and start on projects, homework, and other duties at school.
Also remember that every summer job or internship will be an opportunity to build connections for networking in your future career pursuits. Staying committed to the end of your summer upholds great working relationships.
Create goals for your semester
Do you hope to have a higher GPA this semester than you did last semester? Are you anticipating starting a new on-campus job, and you’d like to work at least 10 hours each week? Perhaps you’re taking several biblical Christian courses and you have a book of the Bible you’d love to study with your classmates, or make a time management plan to ensure you have intentional Jesus time. Whatever your goals are for the semester, it can be extremely helpful to think about them ahead of time in order to stick to them.
Here are some helpful guidelines to help you create and stick to your goals for the semester.
Creating goals will help you have an outlook and general vision for your semester. Your goals are not intended to restrict you or lock you into a rigid schedule, instead, they’re meant to motivate you and help keep you accountable for where you’d like to see yourself at the end of the semester.
- Consider telling your roommate about some of the goals you have, so that they can follow up with you throughout your semester and see how you are doing with each hope you have for your semester.
- Write down your goals and keep them somewhere that you can reference throughout the semester.
- Make a plan as to how you will achieve your goals, whether it be a time management plan or other action plan to make time for your goals.
- Review your goals at the end of the semester and see if you achieved them.
- Use cool goal-setting tools online to help create goals and track your progress.
Communicate with your roommate(s)
One of the best ways to kick off your school year well is by having a solid foundation of communication with your roommate(s). Since you will be living with the same few people for your entire school year, starting with similar expectations helps make the dorm room a safe space to relax during the semester. Not to mention, you and your roommates can create amazing memories together throughout your semester.
Even if you and your roommates are close friends, looking for a free roommate agreement to sign can be a helpful way to manage expectations and desires for your living space.
Know your schedule and make sure you’ve purchased the textbooks you need
It’s helpful to get your ducks in a row and map out your fall schedule a week or two before school starts. Since you probably haven’t spent the summer daydreaming about your classes, this will help you remember everything from where they meet on campus to when you can expect to have time for social activities, extracurricular activities, and study time.
Hopefully, you’ve looked at an online college bookstore by the end of the summer to purchase the textbooks you need. Looking for college books for sale ahead of time can ensure that you find the best deals and can make your textbooks more affordable.
Purchase a planner or other scheduling tool
When you’re thinking about how you’ll manage your time throughout the semester, downloading a calendar app or purchasing a planner can be helpful first steps to managing your time.
Check out our blog, 10 ways to grow your time management skills.
From extracurricular activities to daily classes, your semester will likely be very busy. Know each of your key responsibilities for the semester and jot them down somewhere that you can easily refer to if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Everyone functions differently as they plan out their time day to day. Evaluate how you best manage your time and develop a time management plan accordingly.
Make a list of priorities—and stick to them
Prioritizing is an excellent skill to learn, and can easily go alongside your goal setting. When you’ve understood your responsibilities and general schedule for the semester, you can then make a list of the things that will need to be your highest priority on a daily basis.
By prioritizing obligations like homework, student leadership opportunities, social outings, school events, and more, you can successfully manage your time during the semester and prepare yourself for prioritizing important deadlines in your future career.
Make a plan for your devotional time at school
Your Christian courses provide a great foundation for growing your faith while you are at school. Being in Christian community at a Christian college or university also provides you with excellent opportunities to be encouraged in your relationship with God, and to have others to walk alongside you during any circumstances.
However, it’s still incredibly important to have personal devotional time with God. It’s easy for this time to be overlooked through the business of the semester, but by planning ahead, you can easily prioritize devotional time throughout each week.
Using your scheduling tools, goals, and priorities, you can figure out the best times during the week that you can have intentional time with God. Ask people around you to help you stick to these devotional times.
Ask for accountability during the semester
No matter what your goals are, there’s nothing like an accountability partner to help you reach them. Ask your roommates or other close friends for accountability. Check in with them about your fears, your desires, and how you’re doing over all. Whatever you are anticipating for the semester, ask for accountability from people you trust to be at your side before the semester even begins. Take time to talk with others in order to kick off your school year well.
Work hard in your classes—starting day one
You’ve packed up your things, you’ve prepared your time management plan, and you’re headed to school. Our biggest tip for the first day of school? Work hard! By building rapport with your classmates and professors, you’ll set yourself up for a semester of success. Whether your professors give you assignments on the first day of class or you have the entire semester to work on a big project, it’s important to get started as early as possible. Starting day one, anticipate deadlines and due dates so that you can avoid being overwhelmed later on.
Your syllabuses might seem daunting, but using your time management skills, you can plan for all that your semester has to offer.
Our final tip on how to kick off your school year well is to get excited! The opportunities you’ll have during your semester can be life changing, so be ready to learn, grow, and make incredible memories. Having an optimistic, open-minded attitude towards your fall semester can change your daily routine as you work hard in your classes, make new friends, and so much more.