As summer comes to an end and the new semester approaches it is time to start preparing for the fall term. Although it may look a little different this year, there is still a lot you can do to make sure you set yourself up for success. These tips do not take much time or effort but you will thank yourself later when you are in midterm season. We have put together a few tips to help you be the most prepared for Fall 2020’s Cyber Semester.
1. Clear up your desk and clear out your laptop
Although it is always nice to have a tidy workspace for studying, this year more than ever it is essential to have a clean and inviting desk. Any clutter on your desk should be moved to a different location. This includes organizing drawers to make sure you have easy access to everything you need. In addition, it is always a good idea to take some time and remove old folders and documents in order to free up space on your hard drive.
2. Read your syllabus
By now, syllabuses are beginning to be released. Make sure you go find the ones for your class as soon as possible to make sure you know not only assignment deadlines and how your grade is divided, but how the class will be run. Some profs may be doing live lectures every class, others will have pre recorded videos, or a mix of the two. It is important you double check your courses format as well as other sections formats to decide which is the best one for you. All course outlines can be found at the following link: https://sprott.carleton.ca/students/undergraduate/undergraduate-course-outlines/ , note these are only BUSI courses.
3. Figure out what school supplies you REALLY need
Since everything is online this semester you will probably need less basic school supplies. Good chance you have enough pens and pencils to get you through, although you may need a new notebook depending on how you choose to make notes. However, this is a great time to invest in getting supplies for your desk. I highly recommend getting a stand to hold open your textbook so it takes up less room on your desk and is easier to read from. You can find them for a reasonable price on amazon. Having a comfortable chair will be important as well since you will be spending a lot of time sitting in it.
4. Make your calendar
As for any semester it is important to write down any class times, due dates, or tests. This year especially, you will have to be accountable for making sure things are submitted on time as you will have less time with professors to remind you. Additionally, some classes may not have scheduled live zoom classes, so use your calendar to set aside time in your day to do the work for that class to make sure you do not fall behind. This can easily be done when you are looking through your syllabuses.
5. Create your organization system
There are so many different ways to organize your work, the problem is finding the best one that suits your learning style. Use this time before the semester starts to figure out that system. If you are using google drive, take some time to make folders for each class. If you want to go old school and write it all out by pen and paper, make sure you have enough notebooks or binders to differentiate each class. Another website that is useful is “Notion”; this website is an online workspace that lets you organize your notes, slides, and documents. Whatever the system may be that best suits you, get it ready so it is one less thing to worry about.
6. Start waking up earlier (based on your schedule)
Yes, I know this one is hard, given that summer is the only time you can sleep-in, but it will be a lot easier to be awake and attentive in lectures when your body knows it is the right time to be awake. Since we are all used to sleeping in until the afternoon, having to switch to waking up for your 8:30 on Mondays is going to hurt. By slowly acclimating to earlier times over the next two weeks, you give your body time to adjust so it won’t feel like you got hit by a rock that first 8:30 class.
Hopefully one or more of these tips will help you start your new semester successfully. Remember throughout the term to focus on your mental health as well. We are all in the same boat and know how difficult this will be, but if we support one another when needed, we will find a way to succeed.
Stay Safe, Good Luck, and Sprott Love!