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A new semester, a clean slate

Tips for starting the semester off right

By: Rangadevi Chakraborty

Some people believe that a good start makes for half the work. This belief stems from the idea that if you get your books and notebooks a good two weeks before classes start, you’ll at least be ahead of the rest of your peers and save some money as well. Nevertheless, reality teaches us that continuous effort is required for most classes. Here are valuable pieces of advice compiled into an easy and accessible list of advice in order to survive college.

  • Ratemyprofessors.com: Before registering for classes or even during the first week of classes, be sure to check this website out. Although all GPC professors are not on there, students’ feedback on there is usually accurate and very helpful.
  • Book osmosis: After buying your books in advance, there are some things you can do to instantly to get ahead of the pack. For instance, look over the table of contents and get an idea of how your book is designed. When you see something interesting, don’t be afraid to check it out before moving on to the next item. Jot down some simple notes in a notebook and get comfortable with specific subject-matter lingo. When- ever you do not understand something, google it immediately. These tips will make your understanding of future lectures a lot easier.
  • Snapshot: Take a screenshot of your schedule and make it your lock-screen photo. You will start dreaming about your class schedule!
  • Clean study space: Ever had a house where you just couldn’t wait to fill it up with stuff? Just like that, create a new folder on your laptop titled school, and subfolders titled: notes, homework, projects, etc. Get an inbox on your desk, put your new mail and to-do things in there and empty it every day.
  • Organized backpack: Keep your backpack clean! Organize it with all the essentials needed for a full day in a library. Backpacks tend to get stuffed with receipts, wrappers, crumbled up papers and other trash, which decreases productivity. (It shouldn’t take so long to find your pen.)
  • Planning ahead: Get yourself a planner, and create productive to-do lists. Set your goal for the day, and refuse to stop until you make it happen. Keeping your important dates and to-do lists front and center will help you check them off faster.
  • Payment options: College tuition is expensive, especially when you are paying out-of-pocket. Having a strong idea of how you or your parents are paying for your education is very important. Whatever you do, consider all options, and do not take out a loan without thinking about it! Educate yourself and know your options. Although a loan might seem like easy cash, if the amount is hefty enough, it can haunt you for the rest of your life and sour your graduation.
  • Study groups: Tackling tough subjects as a team not only makes it more fun, but the information will actually stick better when you have tried to win a discussion on it with your colleagues. Having recurring study group meetings can also help build lifelong friendships (simply watch a few episodes of “Community,” and you’ll get the point).
  • Flashcards: Hole punch and key-ring the flash cards together, so you can efficiently carry them with you everywhere, and whip them out at a moment’s notice.
  • News updates: Try to outsmart your teacher by keeping up with new developments within your subject or field. Set a filter on your favorite news app, and make it a habit to check it once a day.
  • Toss it: If something really doesn’t need to be done, get rid of it all together from your checklist.
  • No procrastination: Do the hard stuff right away. (To-do’s can be incredibly annoying and stressful when they linger in your head for longer than a day.)
  • Timed tasks: Try to increase your speed doing certain tasks: walk, talk, read and type faster.
  • Practice: Try googling “site:edu[subject] exam” to find college exams on a subject to practice for exams and tests.

Hopefully we’ll all have a great spring semester. The Collegian wishes you a well-prepared start, and happy spring!

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