Things may be a little confusing when the semester first begins. I know that when I was a first-year student, it was quite difficult to know what to do. When should I buy my textbooks? Am I taking too many notes?
Here are three things I learned throughout my years of college:
1. Syllabus Week is Not a Week of Doing Nothing.
Syllabus week is sometimes seen as a week where there are no assignments due and, therefore, nothing to be done. That was not necessarily true in my case. During syllabus week, I usually buy a planner and organize my semester deadlines such as exams, quizzes, papers, and all that lovely stuff. I do this to be able to track my schedule and plan whether I’ll have time to socialize during the weekend. If I see that I have two exams on a Monday, then your best guess is that I’ll be dedicating more time to my studies. This also helps me with maintaining my work schedule. If I see that I have deadlines approaching, I make sure I can ask for certain days off in order to be able to have some time to study or review my lecture notes.
2. Textbooks, Textbooks, Textbooks.
The golden question: Do I buy my textbooks before classes start? Sometimes, I wait until my professor tells me that we are going to need the book for the class. So, I occasionally purchase them during the first week of the semester. One great thing about the bookstore is that they have an option to order your books online. If you need to purchase something last minute, you can order it and just pick it up at the store. It's super convenient and saves me a lot of time. Also, if you are worried about missing an assignment because you do not have a textbook, usually professors will give a copy of the textbook to the library that you can check out for a few hours at a time.
3. Am I Taking Too Many Notes?
I am a prime example that there is never a problem with taking too many notes. Just make sure you are not missing any of the main points that are being taught in your lecture session. The way I see it, having more notes will be advantageous if you are particularly detailed about what you went over in each lecture you attend. As long as you are following along with the lecture, there shouldn’t be an issue with an abundance of notes.
Other than those 3 key points, make sure to keep track of your deadlines, so this semester will be more manageable!