Starting off the new semester right is important socially, emotionally, and for your health and well-being, but it is also pretty important academically. It can be a bummer to start thinking about classes, homework, and projects, but going back to school doesn’t have to be stressful or too challenging as long as you’re prepared and starting it off on the right foot.
Here are a few tips for you to start off the new semester in the most positive way possible:
1. Take advising and registration seriously
Whether it’s your first semester or you’re a returning degree-seeker, it’s important to take your class registration seriously. You may be tempted to pick all “easy” courses, or put off that one class you just don’t want to deal with yet, but be smart about what you choose. Don’t be afraid to take your time, meet with your academic advisor, and do some research about what classes will be offered. Take your schedule and course-load into consideration: take a full course load if you can handle it, but don’t overload yourself.
2. Buy your books
It’s important to be prepared for your classes and get your books and any extra materials required for each course. If you are certain about some of your classes, you can even pick up the books beforehand at one of the English language bookstores in Rome. Most of your books can be found either at the Anglo-American Bookstore near Piazza di Spagna or at the Almost Corner Bookshop in Trastevere. If you would rather cut some costs, you don’t have to buy your books new. Check JCU Facebook groups or ask around campus and the residences for students selling their old books. They’ll want to get rid of their old books as much as you want to find the right ones for your classes, so chances are you will find what you’re looking for at a lower price! You can also check out the STAND club’s bi-annual book sale, which raises money for community service projects. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can order online from Amazon.
3. Go over the syllabi
Make sure to go over the syllabi handed out by your professors. You’ll be able to get the lowdown on the course and see what to expect throughout the semester. Get ahead by checking out what’s coming up in your schedule and you won’t have any unpleasant surprises pop up, such as unexpected tests or projects. If you really want to start ahead, check out your syllabi online once you get you get your schedule, even before classes start.
4. Note the drop/add period
If you find yourself in a class that just isn’t right for you, don’t worry: you aren’t stuck. During the first six days of the semester, you may freely change your schedule and drop or add any courses that have space. It’s important, however, to pay attention so that you don’t miss the drop/add period. If you would like to drop a class after the first six days, withdrawal penalties will apply. For more info you can check out these video tutorials.
5. Plan ahead
Bring a planner or agenda to classes with you to start off the semester with good habits. Make sure to write down your homework assignments, essays, tests, projects, or any other upcoming assignments or important dates to remember. You can go over your planner whenever you sit down to study or work on your assignments. This will definitely keep you from procrastinating, or cramming at the last minute.
6. Get to know professors
Introduce yourself to your professors at the beginning of the semester. Establishing a relationship with your professors will not only make classes more fun and interesting, but you will be more dedicated to really do your best and give it your all. Professors may become great advisers both academically and personally, and they also can become great connections to have post-graduation.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria