How to Start a Semester Off Right

Although I have already started my semester, I know many colleges go back on Monday morning and a lot of high schools are starting quarter three in a few weeks. I think it's important to decompress after midterms and finals and then start your new semester on the best foot possible. There's something to be said about starting off with a fresh, clean slate. That's one of the things I love so much about college -- the fact that I can start the new year on a new foot is awesome.

This semester I am really diving into my major and minor classes. At this point, almost all of my general education classes are complete, minus a science lab 😑. I am taking introduction to public relations, intercultural communications, American history, introduction to writing and technical rhetoric, and writing theory and critique. I'm pumped to get going in classes that I find interesting but also classes that are smaller. I have three lecture classes and two smaller classes of about 17 people. That's one thing that I love about JMU is the variation in class size. I can get to know my peers, especially those I will most likely come across in future classes, a little bit better in those smaller writing classes.

No matter if you're in high school or college though, it's important to walk into the second half of your year feeling confident and ready to take on your workload. There are a few great tips that I have been practicing over the years to ensure a clean slate and a fresh start. Follow these tips to boost your confidence this semester and prepare yourself for the workload ahead.

Organize Your Life -- The weekend before classes resume, organize your life. This can be a big task so maybe by spreading it out over the weekend is a smarter idea. Clean out your first semester notes and your desk from all previous classes. Clean out your folders, reorganize your closet, and clean your bathroom. Wash your backpack and organize your agenda. This past weekend, before the JMU semester started I cleaned my bedroom and bathroom in my apartment. I changed my sheets, refolded everything in my drawers, completely reorganized my desk, and cleaned my bathroom. It makes you feel so fresh and new.

Get an Agenda & Organize It -- One of the things that makes me feel the most organized and on top of my life is my agenda. I'm very orderly when it comes to my agenda, and I'm not saying it has to be as detailed as mine but by getting an agenda and color coding it or just writing down everything already assigned helps you see exactly what's coming down the pipe in the next few weeks of school.

Print Out Reminders -- Last year, I felt like I was drowning in all of this new information that comes with college so I printed out everything I could think of. I printed out my professors office hours, each syllabus for my class, the bus time that pertain to my schedule. Literally, everything I could think of, I printed out the necessary items to stay organized on the more finite details of my schedule.

Clean Out Your Email -- Nothing feels better than cleaning out your inbox. I did this the other day on the plane back from Texas and it was so nice to scroll through my email accounts and only see the necessary messages. What's ever better is unsubscribing to unwanted senders. I think I unsubscribed to about 25 different email accounts this past weekend and now seeing how few promo emails I get a day, is incredible.

Buy New Supplies -- A new clean notebook is great for starting the semester off right. Go to Staples or Target or Walmart and get some new supplies. It's worth the extra money getting a few new notebooks and a couple of new pencils and pens. New supplies that keep you organized is a small file holder and file folders. I have a desk organizer and a few file folders one for personal information, one for my apartment and lease necessities and copies, one for special printer paper, and another for blog information and contacts. I think having these for your classes maybe to hold tests and quizzes, will help you in the long run when it's time for Spring finals.

Plan Everything -- I'm a planner, it's really tough for me to do something on a whim. I have recently gotten better about it because of my white board calendar. I just recently purchased this back in December and I have already found it extremely useful. With colored markers I can keep work, blogging, school, sorority, and personal events all on one calendar. I can easily glance at the calendar and see what I have to do, and if I can add anything else to my day. This calendar is great -- it's the same one I have and you can buy matching accessories.

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