Starting your semester off right is more important than you think.

How to Start Your Semester Off Right

As a first generation college student, I had no idea what to expect going into my first semester at college. Looking back on it, I was far more stressed as a freshman than I am now as a junior.

As a freshman, I didn’t know anything about how to start my semester in the right way. I’ve learned a lot these past years and it was easier than I thought.

How to start your semester off right all has to do with what works for you.

Using these tips can make a huge difference in starting your semester and can help you get into the groove of things.


Tip #1 All About Time Management

If you’ve ever used time management strategies, you know how effective they can be. When you start a new semester, map it out. Try to have a calendar in your backpack at all times. This calendar can be on your phone, in a journal, an agenda, or even an actual calendar. Then, write down all of the important events for the next upcoming months. These events can be when assignments are due, when a big exam is coming up, or even just things you want to get done.

By doing this, you’ll feel prepared and confident knowing you won’t miss anything. After you create this super calendar, try flipping or scrolling through it every Sunday night. This calendar will help with time management because you’ll know exactly how you’re going to tackle the upcoming week.


Tip #2 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Asking for help is one of the most important tips for starting your semester right. Starting a new semester can be a scary and stressful time for college students.

Mental health: Help is available.

College isn’t easy for anyone, and this goes beyond school. Opening up about what’s going on in your life and what’s hard for you is important for your mental health. You can just talk about anything you’re struggling with. Try talking to people that are involved in your everyday life. This could include your residential advisor (RA), one of your professors, a coach, or even a close friend. Your mental health in college is just as important as your grades and it should be treated so. Make sure you also set time aside during the week to be alone and enjoy your hobbies. It can help you and keep your mind at ease.

Academic help is available, too.

First of all, communicate with your professor first if you need academic help. They’ll offer you some suggestions, and most likely, they’ll connect you to something called the Academic Resource Center. Get to know your Academic Resource Center (ARC)!¬†Concordia’s ARC provides free services, programs, and supports for all CUAA students. The sooner you reach out to them, the better.


Tip #3 Don’t sleep on the syllabus

One of the most important tools for starting the semester right is the syllabus. The syllabus doesn’t seem that important, but it is literally a guide on how to pass each class. I’m not going to lie though, I’ve thrown away a dozen syllabi in the past. (That was before I knew how helpful they were.)

Every single important date for each class is written on the syllabus. Not only that, but contact information for each professor is there as well. A great thing to do would be to get a separate folder and put each syllabus from each class in that folder. This way, you know exactly where it’s at whenever you need it. Once you have all your syllabi in the same place, grab a highlighter and mark off anything you think you should. This also helps when you are filling out your calendar to help with your time management.


Tip #4 Get involved on Campus

Another way you can start your semester right is to get involved with groups on your campus. Getting involved with your campus is a fairly easy thing to do, but you just need the courage to try new things. University clubs will help you know your area better and the people that are also involved with it. Not only do you get to meet people, you get to find new interests in your life. These interests can help you make friends on campus and keep your mind off of schoolwork for once. Depending on what type of university you’re at, the clubs will vary. But it’s still a great thing for a new student or returning student to be involved in because there are so many positive factors that come with them.


Tip #5 Reach out to classmates early

When it comes to being new to a class, especially during the start of a new semester, it can be hard to be outgoing. You don’t know anyone or your professor yet, so it’s hard to feel completely comfortable. The best thing to do is to talk to the people sitting around you. They are in a similar situation as you: new to the class and probably thinking the same thing. Creating relationships with the peers around you will help you greatly throughout the semester. Making friends in class will also make you excited for that class during your day. It helps getting through the class when you have someone to brighten up your day.


Find what works for you

When it comes to starting your semester off right, consistency is key. However, if you’ve given a strategy some time and it’s not working out for you, don’t be afraid to try something new. Reach out for help if you need it, and lean in to your community. If you want to learn more about what this looks like at Concordia University Ann Arbor, visit us here.

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