Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fall Semester Checklist


We're about two weeks away from the start of my fall semester, which means that I should definitely be starting to get my stuff together so I don't just dive in head first. I like plans, I like lists, I like a little bit of structure when it comes to an investment like school.

School Supplies 

I know for a fact that I personally have all of my school supplies, sans my textbooks that I've yet to even look at because their prices and uselessness make me sad. Here's a small list of things that you'll need at least within the first couple of weeks. Some syllabi might list something you need, or if you're in something like a math or science course, you might require things like calculators, lab coats, protective goggles, etc. etc.
  • Notebooks - One subject notebooks should be fine. If you use up the entire thing, then get a new one in a coordinating color or just make sure you have it correctly labeled. 
  • Pens and pencils - This is self explanatory, but then again, you'd be surprised by the amount of people who still ask around (though, this is most likely because of running late in the morning because I have admittedly left all of my writing utensils at my dorm once on the day of an exam and had to write a Spanish exam with a massive essay at the end with a mechanical pencil that only had the tiniest bit of lead left that I couldn't even push up). 
  • Highlighters - Don't even ry to tell me that highlighters aren't vital to a college student. I am a highlighter enthusiast. At least have a single yellow or orange highlighter, just incase (even though we all know green, pink, purple, and blue are far superior). 
  • Agenda - If I'm a highlighter enthusiast, I don't even know what I am to agendas. I attribute all of my "success" in college thus far to my agenda. Forget my brain, it's all thanks to Lilly Pulitzer (and this year, to Kate Spade and Ban.do).
  • Textbooks - Ah yes, the dreaded textbooks. Some of them are necessary and some of them are not. Don't be fooled. There are plenty of websites you can check out to find discounted books (Amazon and Slugbooks are the two that I cipher through to find textbooks before I realize it's too late and that I need to rent them from the school's bookstore for outrageous prices because I waited way too long. Don't do that) so you can avoid the dreaded bookstores. 
Get your schedule down pat

I couldn't tell you what classes I'm taking right now, where I'm taking them, who my professors are, what the courses entail. I mean, I still have two weeks, but it'd be ideal if I had my schedule down by now. I know I have classes Monday through Thursday and weird gaps on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that I have four in person lectures and one online class (Women's Studies, let's go!!!) but that's about it. Try to at least figure out the names of the course you're taking and not just the letters and numbers, like COM101. Figure out what your gaps are and if you're not new to the campus, where you think you could go in between to pass time in case you have a large gap.

If you're new to the campus, whether you're a freshman or a transfer student, check out the campus maps or just spend some time during your first week wandering around a bit to get used to everything. Figure out exactly where your classes are and go from there on your first day so you don't have to keep referring to a physical copy of your schedule or relying too heavily on a piece of paper. If all else fails, never be afraid to ask for questions (and if you're nervous about being in the wrong room, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking somebody in the room if you're in the right class because I can guarantee they were thinking about asking you the same exact question).

Clothes

Ah yes, clothes. Campus style is something that either you care about, or you don't. Nobody else cares what you look like (though I will always cringe if I see a bucket hat or cargo shorts based solely on personal preference). If you want to go to class in your pajamas, you do you. Some pretty basic college pieces that you probably already have are:
  • Plain white tee - Try to have on in a v-neck and scoop neck, just for a little variety and so you don't have to keep constantly washing the same white shirt. 
  • Patterned scarf - This can completely transform an outfit the same way shoes and jewelry can and for a fraction of the price. 
  • Some sort of combat or riding boot - I had a friend during my first year who didn't own a pair of boots at all and we go to school on the lake. I can't count the amount of times I had to lend her my old pair of UGGs because she was walking around in snow piles downtown in converse and moccasins. Riding boots and combat boots are two boots that aren't specific for places where they snow and they're just all around good shoes to have around if the weather starts getting chillier. 
  • Rain jacket or rain boots - At the very least, get a rain jacket, because even if you have some sort of tunnel system on campus, you're going to have to walk outside at some point and are going to be irritated if you get soaked in those few minutes you feel Mother Nature's wrath. If you're going to go the rain boot route, try to either get a lightweight pair or a shorter pair. I have a pair of below the knee rain boots that are so clunky and heavy that I usually avoid them at all costs, even on days when I definitely need them.

Mental Preparation

And last but not least on the fall semester checklist: mental preparation. No amount of mental prep is going to make you feel okay about a new semester. They're nerve-wracking, even for those who love school and are good at what they do. Even if it has nothing to do with the academic aspect of college, the nerves can set in for the socializing, the potential for group projects, what happens after fall semester. It can be a never ending cycle of worry so just try to take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you've either done this before or you're going to do this again. You'll feel like you're in the same position, completely in over your head and unprepared, but you're not.

The secret to college is that you don't have to go in prepared. I can make these checklists and "what you need in college" posts all I want, but the reality of the situation is that I'm probably just going to dive in to my fall semester head first on the 24th and maybe I'll screw it all up within the first week, but then I'll adapt and come out alive on the other end. I can't expect everything to go well just because I gave myself a little pep talk, bought some cutesy little school supplies, and have a pair of stupid rainboots.

When does your fall semester begin?

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