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How to prepare for spring semester like a freshman

My first semester at FGCU has taught me several things — in-between class naps are dangerous, some professors will never learn your name and balancing everything from doing homework, having a job and managing a social life really is a struggle. However, I managed to make it out alive. My wide-eyed, in-awe-of-everything stage is over, and come spring semester, I’ll have my battle armor ready.

Having to head back to school after a long and luxurious break is going to be rough, no doubt. I’ve finally gotten used to sleeping in my own bed and having my best friends only a few minutes away, and now, I have to go back to 8 a.m.’s and essays? No, thank you.

I didn’t just spend my time at home lounging around, however. I began thinking about the next semester almost immediately, planning my future studying strategies and how I would juggle everything better than I had in the fall. Here’s how to prepare for the upcoming spring semester like a freshman — focused on better grades and better parties.

Check Canvas over break. Some professors have already set up their pages for your new classes, so scan the syllabus for information on which textbooks to buy in advance so you’re not stuck going to the overpriced bookstore during the first week. Utilize syllabuses in order to create a schedule of when quizzes and exams are going to be held and when assignments are due. That way, when the semester starts rolling, you’ll already know when to start studying for what. Sure, this seems like a nerdy thing to do, but I dove right into my classes without glancing at my syllabus until weeks into the semester, and it hit me hard.

Think of it as a fresh start. My grades ended up fine this semester, especially fine for someone who handled four classes and an off-campus job in addition to contributing to the campus newspaper. However, there is always room for improvement, so treat spring semester like a redemption period. Attaining better grades than you had during the fall semester will not only help your GPA but also help your chances of getting into a graduate program or internship.

Think ahead before going out. Before heading to that frat party, make sure that a designated driver is chosen or an Uber is readily available. I saw several car accidents occur in South Village during the fall semester, and I would hate to see more students thinking irresponsibly next semester. Also, talk to your usual party connects early on in the week about what’s going on that coming weekend, so you have the address ready and enough time to complete any assignments that are due over the weekend before heading out. That way, you won’t have time to worry about finishing an online quiz while dancing to “Hotline Bling.”

My fall semester was a trial run of sorts. I tested the waters of FGCU and managed to find my way in a sea of over 14,000 students. However, I now know what I can and can’t do and how I should do things differently. I’m ready for you, spring semester.

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