Happy New Year Guys! This is my first post of 2020 so I’m wishing you a prosperous year!
Now let’s get into it…
A new year means a new semester is fast approaching! This is the time of the year most college students hate. This post is for my freshman and returning college students. In this blog post, I’m going to be sharing some tips to do before the start of a new semester. This blog post came about because of an experience I had at the beginning of the fall semester of 2019. I know we’re in a new year, but keep reading to see what happened and find ways to avoid what happened to me.
As you guys should know by now, I’m in the final year of my program and will be graduating in May (yay me!). I’m the person who applies for financial aid the same day the application becomes available. I’m the one who checks my school’s portal to make sure everything is good with my financial aid and to make sure I enroll in the classes with the times that best suit me. After my study abroad trip to Uganda last summer, I only checked the portal once. For some reason, I know how I am when it came to stuff like that and trusted that everything was in order. Well, my friends, I thought. About a week before the start of the fall semester, I got an email stating that I had a balance from a previous semester. If I didn’t pay by a particular time, I was going to be dropped from my classes. I started panicking because, as far as I know, I didn’t owe anything. Long story short, I missed the deadline and got dropped from all my classes with my perfect schedule. I was very frustrated. I went to the financial aid office and got the situation sorted but couldn’t get back into the classes at the times I wanted. So had to choose different sections at different times AND ended up not getting to take a particular class I’ve always wanted to take that semester. I definitely learned a lesson. I’m sharing with you some things you should do to prep for the upcoming semester.
Make Sure Your Financial Aid Is Intact
Be sure to do an online check to verify that everything is good to go as it relates to your payments, and account holds. Like I told you above, anything can happen in a short space of time. You don’t want to show up on the first day of classes to find out that you were dropped from your classes. Surprises are great, but this is not the kind of surprise you want!
Check Out Your Schedule And Plan Your Routine
This is important for all students, but it’s especially important if you’re working while going to school. I’ll be the first to say finding a balance between work and school is not easy. Look at your schedule and map out when you’ll be in class and at work. Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew. If you need to work fewer hours, then so be it, also try to factor in time to study. I know it’s easy for us to get so caught up with school, please remember to leave time for personal things like hobbies, cooking, spending time with loved ones, etc. during the week. This might be the key to finding some balance.
Read The Syllabus
Your Syllabus is like the bible of your class, and it is the one thing that will help you achieve good grades throughout the semester. Your Syllabus has in the course objectives, class readings, the due date for assignments, quizzes, and tests; anything you can think of is probably in the Syllabus. There should be no reason for you to be missing assignments, or telling your professor you didn’t know about a quiz or assignment. READ YOUR SYLLABUS!
Get Semester Supplies
Every student should have some organization tools, no matter what your major is. A planner is essential, pens, pencils, highlighters. You at least need to have the basics. Check to see what you have and replenish what you need, save yourself the trouble of having to run around the first day of campus trying to find a writing utensil.
Check Your Email
Most instructors use online learning management systems such as blackboard or at my school icollege to send out announcements to the class. You want to make sure you are receiving these messages.
Another thing you should do is set up your university email account on your phone. This way, it’ll be easy to see all your messages on your phone and especially when you’re on the go. Do a test run and make sure it gets set up correctly. This will keep you from missing out on important emails. Many faculty members won’t even respond to a non-university email account for many different reasons. So do yourself a favor and get your email set up and especially to your various devices.
Be sure to get rest before the start of the new semester. Whatever may come your way this semester and no matter how overwhelming this semester may be. Please be sure to make time to get adequate rest. I know it’s easier said than done, but PLEASE get some rest. This will help to avoid burnout and also avoid getting poor grades.
Taking these steps during the break will help you get off to a smooth start next semester.
All the best this semester, Tanya