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Before You Start School: Your Fall 2023 Semester Checklist, By: Courtney Crites

Aug 29, 2023 02:17 PM
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Transitioning back to school from the summer months takes preparation - trust me, I've done it a handful of years running. To help you conquer back to school, I've put together a comprehensive checklist that guides you, step-by-step, to make the transition into the school year, and campus, as easy as possible. You Can Find The Complete Checklist Here [be sure to make a copy]!

Of course, it wouldn't be the start of a new school year without considering the academic, financial, and personal impacts that being a student takes and mentally preparing for what's ahead.

A few considerations that will help you organize your life so that you avoid overwhelm:

Academic Preparation

As the fall semester approaches, it's essential to lay a strong foundation for your academic journey. Begin by thoroughly reviewing the outline for each of your courses (once they become available). Take note of crucial dates, including exams, assignments, and project deadlines. Believe me, creating a clear picture of your academic responsibilities will help you plan your time effectively and manage it alongside all of your other commitments. Consider setting up a digital organization system to keep track of assignments and class materials, which will contribute to a streamlined and successful semester. I highly recommend a spreadsheet or Notion template to keep track of these items (check out our IG @joinoutcomecampusconnect for a mini tutorial!)

Financial Preparation

Effective financial planning is crucial for a successful semester. Confirm your financial aid, scholarships, or loan arrangements, and ensure that tuition and fees are settled before the due date (this happens now, so don’t put it off too much longer). Crafting a detailed budget that encompasses all your expenses – including groceries, transportation, and entertainment – will help you manage your finances effectively. For those seeking part-time employment, secure a job or internship and coordinate your work schedule with your classes to strike a balance between academic and professional commitments. 

Note: OCC always has jobs on our job board! Check it out! 

Academic Resources

Take full advantage of the academic resources available to you. Familiarize yourself with the library's offerings, including online databases and borrowing policies. Research tutoring options, study groups, and academic support centers on campus to ensure you have access to valuable assistance when needed. Additionally, connect with the career services center to explore opportunities for internships, job fairs, and workshops that will contribute to your personal and professional growth. Most schools have a job board curated specifically for their students, so take advantage of this while you’re a student!

Social Engagement and Personal Growth

Your college experience extends beyond the classroom. Explore opportunities for social engagement and personal growth by researching and joining clubs, organizations, and student groups that align with your interests. Attending introductory sessions or annual general meetings will introduce you to like-minded peers and expand your network. Mark important dates for orientation sessions, welcome events, and networking opportunities to ensure you're making the most of your college experience. Take the initiative to connect with fellow students, roommates, and classmates to build lasting relationships that contribute to a rich and fulfilling experience in school.

See also: Extracurricular Experience Makes You a Candidate in a League of Your Own

Self-Care and Well-being

Prioritize your self-care to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Establish a consistent sleep routine that supports your focus and energy levels. Plan nutritious meals and snacks that provide the sustenance you need to excel in your studies. Incorporate regular physical activity into your schedule to reduce stress and promote overall well-being. Practice stress-relief techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, or journaling to ensure you're equipped to manage the challenges of the semester effectively.

See also: Student Self-Care Advice From Psychotherapist Victoria Emanuel

Transportation and Commuting

If you'll be commuting to campus, make necessary transportation arrangements. Plan your route and schedule, and ensure you have all the information you need to navigate your daily commute smoothly (even if you’re walking, knowing where you’re headed before your first day is always a good idea). If you'll be using a vehicle, confirm parking permits or arrangements to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Final Thoughts 

Getting ready for a new semester in college or university is a little bit like putting together pieces of a puzzle. By checking off the different items on this checklist, you’re setting yourself up for an awesome (and successful) school year. 

Get ready to rock your semester - we’re rooting for you!