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The beginning of September is here! With it comes cooler temps, delicious fall produce, and the start of another semester of college classes. I love this time of year but looking at my calendar gives me some serious heart palpitations. Being an adult student makes life so busy! Ah!
What are some of the ways you get ready for a new semester of online classes? Do you just close your eyes and dive in or do you prepare yourself in some way? Here are a handful of things I like to do before the first day of class:
1) Plug dates into the calendar.
Mark the first day and last day of class in your calendar to get a feel for the length of the semester. My online classes start on weird days in the middle of the week so it's important for me to put them on the calendar so I don't forget.
2) Buy textbooks.
My College and Career's Sarah Ward offers some sage back-to-school advice when she urges students to buy books before the semester starts. You can get some super low prices if you buy before everyone rushes the book store. Try Amazon. Also check to see if you can rent your books or buy them for your eReader. Almost all online classes will have the book list available before classes start.
3) Double check registration and financial aid
Of course you're already registered, you've filed a FAFSA and signed for your student loans, but it doesn't hurt to double check. Make sure all the classes you registered for show up on your schedule. Check with financial aid or the cashier's office to confirm your classes are paid up.
4) Spruce up the home office or study area
Hopefully you've already learned the importance of having a special area in your home that is just for working and studying. Before you're caught up in a whirlwind of discussion board posts, spruce up your work area. Declutter by putting everything in its place and shredding unimportant paper mess. Clean off your desk. Refill your mug of pencils and pens. Pull out a fresh notepad to jot down thoughts and notes. Make sure you have a comfortable, supportive chair.
5) Eliminate distractions by tackling home projects now
We've all been there. You've got a paper due tomorrow, somehow you need to figure out how to use quotes in a research paper and all you can think about is how the leaky kitchen faucet needs to be fixed, the exterminator needs to come out and the air filter for your A/C needs to be replaced before your whole family gets black lung. Budget permitting, take care of these home projects now while you have the time. Call up the bug guy. Change your filter. Whatever you can now to keep yourself from being distracted during the semester, tackle immediately!
I hope your semester gets off to a great start. Check back here for more tips, advice and articles about the experience of being an online student.