I have a ritual of small tasks that I complete before starting a new session at university. I thought it would be interesting to share what I do to prepare myself! Most of you enjoyed my video on my YouTube channel about my nightly routine before the first day of school, so that’s what inspired me to write this blog post!
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Read the tips on how to get ready for a new semester
1. Clean your computer desktop
I always clean my desktop and my downloads folder before a new semester starts. I must say that these two folders fill up very quickly (and it stresses me out)! As you can see in the screenshot above, it was a mess! If I don’t use the last few days of vacation for doing this boring task, then I know homework will catch up and it won’t be a good time then.
2. Create folders for your upcoming classes on Drive
All my documents related to my software engineering studies are in a folder on my Google Drive account. Having all my files on the cloud is very useful because I can have access to everything wherever I am whenever I need it.
To prepare for the upcoming session, I create a folder called “Session 8 – Winter 2018” and inside, I create 3 folders for the 3 courses that I will take.
3. Read the Syllabus of your classes
At my university, syllabi are often available before the session. If it’s not published when I’m getting ready, I look at the one from the previous session. The dates of exams and assignments won’t be the right ones, but I can still get an idea of what the workload will be like. If the correct course plan is available, I look at the dates of examinations and due dates for assignments, possible teamwork, and mandatory books.
If there is teamwork in the course, I plan to arrive early in the first class and try to sit with people strategically to make my team. Oftentimes, we end up teaming up with the people who are sitting around us… We must choose wisely from the first class!
4. Buy second-hand textbooks
If there are mandatory textbooks in the syllabus, I try to find them second hand. To do so, I post a status on my Facebook because there is a good chance that my friends have done this course and are looking to sell their books. I also look at Facebook groups from my university.
It is almost always possible to buy used books in good condition at a low price compared to the new book. I have almost never bought new books since I went to university. By doing so, I save a lot of money! I resell my books after the end of the session, and very often I sell it at the same price, so I don’t lose any dollar!
Doing it before the session begins helps me avoid looking for books at the same time as all other students. You must be careful though to buy the right book since the teacher will often talk about it during the first class.
5. Import the class schedule into my digital Calendar
Here is my calendar from January 2017. The red time slots are actually my old class periods. I add my schedule to my iCal calendar, so I can easily schedule my workdays. This is a feature that is available on my university’s website. If this is not the case for you, you can create the events yourself and make them recurrent!
Also, while I read the lesson plan, exam dates and assignments dates are sometimes present. If so, I immediately add them to my calendar to be ready and not forget any important dates.
6. Do all the tasks you procrastinated in the past months
I use Todoist to keep track of all the small tasks that I have to do. When I’m in the middle of a session, I tend to add tasks but end up not doing them due to lack of time. Often procrastinate them for 1 or 2 months! When I’m on vacation for a few weeks between two sessions, I make sure to get these tasks done. Here are a few examples of tasks I do before a new session:
- Clean my stove
- Change lightbulbs
- Change passwords
- Ask for reimbursement from my insurance
- Make appointments
- Make calls
You see, these are tasks that are sometimes fast but we just do not want to do! By making sure to do them before the start of my session, I can start with a clear head!
7. Clean your desk
I take everything off on it and rub it to remove all those pencil marks that were made while I was studying for my final exams from the previous session! It’s always a good thing, I feel like I have a brand new office. My desk is from Anthrodesk (United States website & Canadian website) and the tabletop is from Amazon. It’s called the “AnthroDesk Electric Starter Desk with Easy Up/Down Controls”.
8. Clean your backpack
I also clean up my school bag. I empty everything, then I put back the important objects. I always try to have as few things as possible in my bag so that it is as light as possible. It also allows me to wash it with a little water to clean up what got dirty during the previous session! The Amazon ad above is exactly my school bag!
9. Clean your pencil case
Same thing as with the backpack. I take everything out of my pencil box, wash it as best as I can, then put back my essential pencils! Often, pencils have crept in too much: the last time I cleaned my trunk, I realized that I carried 3 red pens with me! It’s useless, I need only one, so I remove all the extras to keep only the essentials!
10. Prepare school materials like binders
We all have our own organization system for classes. I used to have a binder with the name of the class on the side. I would prepare these binders before going to class and would include in it some loose pages. I also prepare my hilroy notebooks by writing the name of the class on each one.
11. Start to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier!
I always get up early on vacation, but sometimes I let myself go a little bit. I try to get back to my routine 5 days before the start of classes in order to be ready on time!
Now that I’ve shared everything I’m doing to prepare for a new session, it’s your turn! What do you do to prepare yourself?