Top Ten Ways to Start a New Semester

Shot of a young female student standing with her books on campus

It is a new year and a new decade, as well as the new spring semester, is upon us.  So now is the time to organize and plan on making this new semester, new year, and new decade start off on the right track. What are some of the best ways to start a new semester? Well, this blog and a few Coastline College experts are here to help give you some beneficial and effective suggestions of how to start this Spring semester off in the right way and build good habits for a lifetime.    

Let’s first begin with some bullet note recommendations to start a new semester from two of our Coastline College experts:

Paolo Varquez of Career Services Center at Coastline suggests:

  • See a counselor develop an education plan as soon as possible
  • Contact an academic success coach and ask about Coastline resources
  • Visit the career center as early to start planning for experiences to supplement your education
  • Be proactive, utilizes resources, attend events, and make friends

Want more tips? Visit the Career Center’s Youtube Channel

Timmothy Cao of Admissions & Records at Coastline suggests:

  • Make sure you have all your materials such as books, pens, e-readers, laptops, etc. and read the syllabus.
  • Create an effective schedule to manage your time as well all have busy lives
  • Make friends and form study groups, more than likely your classmates have the same questions as you.
  • Make time to visit your professor’s office hours and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. They want you to.
  • Take advantage of all your resources such as free tutoring, scholarships, financial aid, counseling, etc.

Below are more detailed Best Ways to Start a New Semester:

Get Organized & Time Management

Organization and time management are crucial to both in life in general and when attending college.  Good organizational skills and proper time management will help you to prioritize and schedule your daily life.  It also helps your mental state of mind when you are focused and prepared.  Get file folders or organize different file folders on your computer for each class.  Buy a daily planner or calendar.  Color code your planner and use sticky notes.   Organize your assignments and due dates on your calendar or planner so you can coordinate and plan your schedule.  Setting a schedule also adds structure and routine to your days and lets you manage your time wisely.  Staying organized along with good time management will make your life a lot less stressful later in the semester.

Go to Class and Be Prepared

Male hands making a to-do list in a notebook over a blue office desk.

Go to class and pay attention.   Make sure you have all your necessary supplies to start the semester along with the required textbooks for each class.  Not having your textbooks, the first week of classes can put you behind from the very beginning. Complete your assignments.  One of the easiest ways to pass a class is to be prepared and make sure you do every assignment according to the syllabus.  Always being prepared will help you succeed not only in class but again in life as well.

Take Good Quality Notes

A multi-ethnic group of college aged students sitting at desks in a classroom, studying or taking a test. Student in the foreground is using a tablet PC.

It is so important to take quality notes. Taking notes is essential and will help you to prepare for exams and retain information. It will also help you will study more effectively. Notes may seem tedious and mundane, but organizing your notes is important and you will rely on them to help you remember. Notes can be as easy as jotting down a few main outline points from a class lecture or more detailed but write down what the professor says and then put it into your own words.  Determine the best way for you to take notes either, with a good old-fashion pen and paper or on a laptop or tablet.   

Get To Know Your Professors

Pretty curly haired high school or college girl in classroom

Establishing a good relationship with your professor is the best avenue to obtain professional contacts, internship opportunities, and recommendations. Approach your professor after class, stop by during their office hours, or schedule an appointment. Speak with them about their professional background, the course you are taking, or about your career goals. Establishing this relationship will be beneficial if you need to go back to them for any help or recommendations. Professors also tend to notice and remember those students that go out of their way to ensure they are doing all they can to be successful in and outside of class.

Take Advantage of Your School Resources

Young attractive woman engineer working on robotics project using laptop

Coastline College provides you with more resources than you are probably aware of.  To get information on where to go for help,  go to our website and do some research.  There are student resource centers, veterans resource centers, resources for counseling, tutoring, library, financial aid, etc.  Do not be afraid of utilizing these resources.  Familiarize yourself with the resources available and taking advantage of these existing resources will help you to succeed.

Join a Study Group

Join a study group. If you are an online student, it is hard to take advantage of in-person studying groups.   But there are ways for online students to join study groups and have a strong support system.  Studying can also be very isolating and meeting others studying similar courses can be helpful as well as motivating.   Being a part of a study group can help you practice for major exams and provide a group of people with whom to share your academic endeavors and struggles.

Get involved.  Join a school club, group or program

Multicultural business group meeting. Teamwork concept. They are sitting at a conference table drawing cogs and gears on a sheet of paper. They are also using mobile phones, laptop computers and digital tablets. Multiple ethnic groups represented including Asian, African American and Caucasian.

Do not forget to socialize. Join clubs or programs related to your major during the first few weeks of the semester, clubs and organizations are always active to recruit new members. Being in college can sometimes be overwhelming and it is helpful to network and establish new relationships with other students who are pursuing similar goals.  Networking during your college years can be very useful for future connections in the workforce. But being social is also healthy for the soul.

And finally,  

Take Care of Yourself

Smiling Indian female employee relaxing leaning back in chair with hands over head at workplace, looking at laptop screen, received good news, results, business achievement, feeling satisfied

Socialization and friendship are valuable ways of taking care of yourself, as well as a meaningful part of the whole college experience. But don’t forget to really take care of yourself.  When you get busy with school and life, it’s easy to forget to watch your health properly.   Taking care of yourself includes a range of things like getting enough sleep, eating right, drinking water, and getting enough exercise. It is important to take the time to do some physical activity each week because you are sitting on that bum of yours for quite a lot of hours when you are studying. Take time to stretch and move about a bit when you are studying for long periods of time. 

Go forth.  Be awesome. And have an amazing semester!

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