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Now’s the time: Tips for starting spring semester strong

January 30, 2018 By Sara Griswold

Don’t be afraid to say hello to the person next to you in your new classes.

It may be hard to get back in the routine of going to classes and doing assignments we have created a few tips to help ensure you will start off your semester strong!

Know where your classes are

Don’t be that person that walks in to class on the first day 20 minutes late. Even if you’re a senior, be sure to know where all of your classes are ahead of time. Keep in mind how long it will take you to walk there between classes so you know if you need to get a little ‘pep in your step’ or if you have time to grab coffee on the way. To find where your classes are use the campus map.

Get a syllabus

No matter what classes you are enrolled for, they will have a syllabus with all of the information you need to know for the semester. Some post it on Canvas/D2L while others will print and hand it out in class. Make sure to get one and be sure to write all of the calendar dates in your planner – especially when assignments are due and when exams are.

Explore online

It can be a bit confusing to go from Learn@UW to Canvas to Desire2Learn. However, most professors are putting all of their information on these platforms. Be sure to check out your course page and get familiar with what information is out there.

Make new friends

Sit by someone new in your big lecture hall and don’t be afraid to say hello. They are likely just as nervous as you are starting off a new semester and maybe scared for how challenging the class may be. For all you know maybe that person sitting next to you will be a great study buddy later in the semester! Remember there are new freshman and transfers who are starting their first semester at UW–Madison this week.  This article could encourage continuing students to be open and welcoming to new students.

Set goals

What better way to kick off the semester than setting goals for yourself? Don’t forget to make them realistic for you to complete within the semester. It could be to join a new student organization or get an ‘A’ in one of your classes. Be sure to write them down in your planner or create a new sticky note on your computer so you are seeing them daily to remind yourself.

See your advisor

Make an appointment to see your advisor before things get busy. Early in the semester is a great time to talk with advisors about big picture planning. Also, make an appointment with the Career Exploration Center to help focus career interests.

Get your textbooks

Through student center you are able to see what textbooks you will need for each of your classes. Check that out and get your textbooks sooner rather than later. There might be a reading assignment on the first day of class – you would hate for the textbooks to already be sold out.

Get organized

Make sure that you have the appropriate notebooks and binders to start off the semester. Put away any materials that you are keeping from the fall semester and sell any old textbooks. Make sure you have a clean desk to ensure a productive semester.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting a full night of sleep is important all semester, not just during exams. You don’t want to fall asleep in class during the first week.