Pre-Study Prep: 5 action steps to get you semester ready

Student lying down with pile of books

A new semester. A new beginning. A chance to wipe the slate clean from the tribulations and stress that came before and to make a fresh start.

There’s no denying 2020 has thrown a few unprecedented curveballs, rattling even the most fastidious organisers and time-jugglers among us. Perhaps you didn’t achieve the grades you were hoping for last semester or were unable to stay on top of your study load. Maybe you just managed to scrape through by the skin of your teeth or the chaos enabled you to thrive.

While the present remains changeable and the future uncertain, there are a few basic steps you can take to ensure you begin the new semester prepared.

1. Get a haircut

When I said basic steps, I meant it, and nothing says “new beginning” like a new haircut. Now by “haircut” I actually mean all of those personal bits and pieces such as dental check-ups, tests, screenings, eyelash extensions – whatever is important to you, that will get in the way of your study schedule (and your headspace) later.

2. Read the Subject Outline for each subject

You need to know what is ahead of you this semester. Get out your phone and enter all of the assessment due dates in your calendar. From here, you will be able to see which weeks you are likely to be extra busy and plan accordingly. Let friends, family, work and your housemates know when you will have reduced or increased availability. Additionally, read through each assessment in detail, some take more preparation than others so you don’t have any last minute hiccups.

3. Organise your textbooks

You will get this information from your Subject Outline. First check if the text you require is available as an eBook using the Primo Search tool via the Charles Sturt Library. If not, shop around online for the best price. You can also buy cheap second hand textbooks from StudentVIP – and sell the ones you no longer need to other students. Be sure to order in advance so you have everything you need when the semester begins.

4. Prep your tech

I will typically do a laptop space “clear out” by moving all of last semester’s files onto an external hard drive and performing a system backup. Otherwise, you could simply organise everything into folders and ensure you have space ready for your upcoming work. Once again, reference your Subject Outline and see what programs, subscriptions or system requirements you may require. If you need to purchase new tech or a program, test and familiarise yourself with it before the semester begins.

5. Be ready for change

This step is simply about being prepared mentally; while you would like the upcoming semester to go a certain way, you are aware that this might change and that’s ok. What makes this less daunting is the fact that you have likely already withstood sudden, unexpected change this year – an experience which sets you in better stead for potential future modifications. Believe in your own capacity to adapt, it’s what us humans are good at.