I believe I speak for more than myself when I say last semester was rough, and if I wasn’t organized, I fell behind after one week. With the start of a new semester, you may be asking yourself how you can prepare? Here are some tips that will help you start of this year right and keep you ahead.
Compile your Syllabuses (Syllabi)
Most of your classes should have a syllabus uploaded by now. If they haven’t, keep checking! There are several ways to compile your assignments: Excel, Word doc, calendar, etc. I personally use an Excel spreadsheet, and check off my assignments as soon as they’re done. This gives you a sense of accomplishment, as well as telling you what’s next even when you’re frazzled during Midterms. You just have to glance at your list to see the reading, the paper, or the test you have next.
I cannot stress how important using highlighters is while studying. I categorize certain information by color (eg. yellow=important points, probably on test; green=important dates; pink=people/names, and so on). So when I need to quickly review what I’ve read over the semester, all I have to do is look for that color, and I’ll find my info! This is especially useful for history classes and biblical studies when you’ve read a lot, but don’t remember what chapter or page it was on.
It’s important to study hard, but not for too long. After a while, we lose our focus and aren’t learning anything. Instead, it is better to pace yourself—study for 30 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes. Study for an hour, watch a 20 minute episode on Netflix. Reward yourself for your work—but it is important to actually do the work. Don’t study one subject for too long either. I’m talking to you foreign language students! After 30 minutes, your information absorption plummets, and you’re just burning yourself out. Take your time, and start early (leading into my next point).
Last semester, I admit that I started at the minimum start date on many of my assignments, and I suffered for it. Family situations came up, sickness, work—all these things got in the way of my assignment. If I had started sooner to account for these unexpected happenings, I would have been fine. Lesson learned—start SOONER!
These are just a few tips that will help you get ahead and stay ahead. So go look up your syllabus, buy those textbooks, and get started reading now! You will appreciate it down the road. Happy New Year, and happy studying!