How to Get a Head Start on Your Semester

The first week of classes, referred to as “Syllabus Week” by students, is typically a pretty slow week. It’s a week used to help ease students back into the classroom setting. It is one straight week of professors reading from the syllabus and a week of constant icebreakers where you state your “name, major, and one fun fact about yourself.” It’s not a bad way to start off the semester, but it definitely can feel a little mundane.

Then, the second week of classes start. What was once a slow and mundane lecture quickly turns into a fast paced, no-nonsense lecture. It’s an abrupt reminder that summer is over and that classes have begun.

However if you’re like me, it can still be pretty difficult to adjust to the semester even after syllabus week. It is still early enough in the semester to get a head start in your classes even if you haven’t been fully motivated to start studying. Luckily, there are a few tips that I believe can help anyone who needs that little push to get a head start in the semester:

1. Attend class!

It can be easy to assume that the first few lectures of a class aren’t as important since the semester just started- that is WRONG! The first few lectures build the foundation for a class, and you’ll still be tested on the materials during the first wave of midterms.

2. Record lectures!

Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with everything your professor says during lecture. Recording your lectures allows you to go back and re-listen to some things you might have missed during class. Certain apps such as Voice Record or Voice Recorder & Audio Editor allow you to listen to your recordings at faster speeds and even transcribe recordings for you to make studying even easier (YAY!!!). (Don't forget to get your professor's permission to record the lecture!)

3. Be organized!

Write all the important due dates in your planner, upload them onto your Google Calendar, write it all over your hands and forehead, etc. Recording the due dates can help you plan your study times, work schedule, and social life accordingly.

4. Develop a study routine!

Consistency is key, and it’s better to start trying to have a consistent study time earlier in the semester rather than later. It also helps you develop discipline and structure your day efficiently. Studying regularly will reduce the amount of material you need to study as midterms creep closer. (I assure you that it will also reduce your amount of stress.)

5. Form a study group!

Group studying allows for varied insights and perspectives to be shared in one place. That sharing creates an open discussion and enhances your thinking skills. Studying with other people can also help boost your motivation to keep studying- just be sure your group stays on track!

6. Find new places to study!

There are a lot of cool places to study on campus, including one of our many libraries, our new hospitality building, or one of the many university coffee shops. If you’re itching to leave campus right after class, there are multiple cafes within a 5 minute walk from UNLV.

I hope you all find these tips to be helpful. Happy studying!