Friday, August 15, 2014

6 Tips to Help You Prepare for a New Semester

The fall semester is fast approaching and you can feel the stress and anxiety piling up on you already. Stop for just a minute, take a slow deep breath and exhale slowly. The key here is not to panic. We have provided you with a few tips to ease the pain and agony of starting a semester. 

1.    Take care of all you can before the semester starts.

If you need to do a deep cleaning of your apartment/house, do it. If you need to take your kids or yourself to the doctor or dentist, make an appointment to see him/her. Don’t forget that Fluffy and Fido might need to get their yearly check too. The point is to get as many things as possible complete before the semester starts, so you will not have to handle it later while you are writing papers and studying for quizzes. Sure things will pop-up during the semester, but you will not have the extra stress looming over your head. 

2.    Get ahead of the game.

The first two weeks of the semester can be overwhelming because you see all of the assignments, readings, papers, projects, tests, quizzes and finals that have to be completed in all of your classes. Just thinking about it makes your head hurt and you think, “Where am I going to find the time to accomplish all of this?” That is easy, get a head of the game. Review each syllabus a week or two weeks prior to the semester starting and become familiar with the requirements of the course. If you do not have a syllabus or a textbook list available online, email the professor. It does not hurt to ask. They probably will be more than happy to get you started.
 Next, purchase your books and supplies early. Have them before the first day of classes even. That might mean going to the office supply area of your local store and buying your favorite gel pens and day glow colored folders. This will eliminate even more stress of falling behind on your required readings for the course and scrounging around for the perfect writing implement.

 3. Mentally prepare yourself.
Mentally preparing for the semester is not meant to cause more pain and suffering; but rather make you feel prepared to tackle the semester successfully. Take a few minutes to plan out your new schedule for the semester by recording due dates on a calendar and set up reminders. During those few minutes, review the assignments that will be due during the semester and figure out a plan of action. As you develop a time management strategy, do not forget to include the other things in life that you need to accomplish such as the dishes, making meals, exercising and taking time for yourself for a mental break. Do not forget to include sleep into your schedule. Your body and mind require it more than you think and sadly caffeine eventually wears off. If you need more tips on time management, click here

4.    Set goals and stick with them.
Setting goals actually gives you something to strive for and achieve. If you write down you goals, you are more likely to accomplish them. For the semester write down two or three goals that encourages you to press on toward the end of the semester. Another idea is to put the list of goals where you can see them daily. You can even draw little boxes beside each goal and once you completed them put a smiley face or gold star sticker as a celebratory act. Here are some examples of goals:

•    I will read for thirty minutes each day for each class.
•    I will make a 3.0 this semester.
•    For every hour I study, I will take a 15 minute walk as a mental break.
•    I will complete the final project for my class two weeks prior to when it is due. 


The last example might be a little ambitious, but it is something to strive for. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishing your goals because you have to have some fun for yourself during the semester. If you do finish your final project two week ahead of the due date, you will deserve a reward for all of that hard work. For more information about making personal goals click here

5.    Identify resources that are available to you.
There are also resources available to you through TWU. The Student Life department has several services for students all types of students from international, local, commuter and virtual students. If you know you that one of your classes you are going to need to some help during the semester, contact the department about a tutor. Also the Pioneer Center for Student Excellence offers many valuable resources.

6.    Identify your cheerleader squad.
There are people in your life that are proud that you are continuing your education. They get are excited about the work you are doing so much that they cannot help but smile. They tell you, “Great work!” Of course that gives you the boost you need. Find those people and actually let them cheer you on during the race. Get the motivation you need to survive. They might even be fellow classmates. Remember strength in numbers helps more than you think.  You can have your own encouragement group and pat each other on the back as you run for the finish line. They can also help you up when you trip and fall on your face.

Now rather than dragging your feet into the fall semester, pick up your feet and march forward toward the new semester. You are prepared. You can do it. Also, if you ever need a pep talk, swing by, email us, or check out our Facebook page. We have words of empowerment and encouragement to help keep you motivated to complete the fall semester successfully. 

For other tips about starting off the semester click here. We'd love to hear what your tips and tricks are for preparing for a new semester!


Harvard Extension Hub. (2014). 9 tips to start the semester off right. Retrieved from

Manage your work, don't let it manage you: Tips for managing your time and getting ahead. (2000). Retrieved from

Mind Tools. (2014). Personal goal setting: Planning to live your life your way. Retrieved from

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