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Start the New Semester Strong with These Helpful Tips

Start the New Semester Strong with These Helpful Tips

With a new semester just beginning, it’s time to stash away your pool floaties and start thinking about schoolwork. Here are a few things you can do now to make life easier as the assignments roll in.

Get organized

Invest in a planner. Writing things down is a great way to stay on task. This is also a good time to print out your syllabi and become familiar with your upcoming assignments. Highlight and make notes if you don’t understand something so you’ll be ready to ask questions when classes begin.

Buy your books

Don’t wait until you get your first assignment to find your textbooks. The University of Oklahoma Bookstore is good place to start, but you may be able to buy or rent them cheaper at online sites like Amazon or Chegg. Many students sell (or even give away) their books via the OU-PACS Virtual Student Union Facebook group, so check there, too.

“If you revisit your goals often, you’ll find yourself reaching them.”

“If you’ve already enrolled, go check out prices for your books and get a plan on where to rent or buy early,” suggests OU student Stephanie Odparlik. “Chegg and Amazon are great for renting a lot of books. Some are OU only, but some are not.”

Keep in mind that prices start increasing the closer it gets to the semester. Ordering later also comes with the risk of not getting your books on time.

Create a schedule

Juggling family, work, school and other responsibilities can be overwhelming. Creating a schedule and blocking out time for the important things will help you create a routine you can stick to throughout the semester.

“Discipline and scheduling are key,” said OU student Kimmy Potter. “I don’t work, but I couldn’t tell you how often I wanted to watch TV rather than do homework. So, I made it to where mornings are strictly for homework. I do my essays throughout the week instead of just all at once.”

Investigate your resources

First, make sure your computer is up-to-date and working. Then, explore all the online resources available to help you while you’re getting your degree. You’ll want to explore the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, OU and outside websites to become familiar with what’s out there. Test apps and websites you might use, and download any software you’ll need to make school more manageable.

Also browse through Canvas to see what you’ll be working on when classes start.

“Always read through all of the class assignments as soon as they post on Canvas so you can know what’s expected of you early,” said Odparlik.

Students also suggest bookmarking Canvas and other sites you visit frequently so you can get to them quickly.

Set goals

Don’t go into the semester without a plan. Set short-term and long-term goals to keep you focused. Consider keeping a journal to track your progress. If you revisit your goals often, you’ll find yourself reaching them.

“Always keep your mind on your goal,” said Roman Gray. “Remember why you’re taking these classes, and you’ll be fine.”

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.