What should I do the weekend before classes start?
Your family has dropped you off at college or you arrived at campus by yourself, and you have a few days before classes start – that first weekend. Is there anything you should do before classes start to pave the way for a good semester? At Miami the excitement of the new semester has started, and the streets are alive with youthful vigor.
Get the basics done
For those of you who are in your first-year or new arrivals to campus, your first weekend is about discovering where things are, how to do the most basic activities, and figuring out who might be your new friends and acquaintances. In other words, expect to be disoriented for the next few days, but make sure you ask questions to everyone so that you do everything you should to just have the basics down.
Your priorities are:
- If you don’t have your University ID card, then where and how do you get it. This thing will do a lot around campus for you.
- You need to figure out where and when your classes are. I would find the rooms ahead of time so you’re not late on class one.
- How do you get your daily food and pay for it?
- Where are the people who can help you if you need information or things?
All these basics are also needed for more senior students, but I would expect that those of you in that category almost know all of these.
Connecting with friends new and old
Take some time to socialize and meet old and new friends. The reality is that this is probably the quietest time in the upcoming semester, so you should spend time with friends to reconnect. However, don’t overdo the socializing with friends and party too much. There’s no reason to start off the semester already tired and disorganized. You can easily balance your reconnect to friends with solid preparation.
Get a jump on course organization
If your upcoming courses have an online accompaniment, then there is no reason you shouldn’t take a peak at what material is already posted (including the syllabus), needed books, and creating a semester calendar (I would suggest google calendars) with your actual next few months (you can tie this into your goals too).
Do you have your notebooks prepared for each of your courses? If there are slides for the course, then do you have them printed? What other materials will you need for these courses?
Most important – Set your semester goals
The big thing you need to do the last weekend before the semester is to nail down your goals for the semester (whatever they might be). This doesn’t mean a general goal statement such as, “do well in my classes this semester”. Instead, to achieve a goal you need to break it into smaller goals that will help you achieve your bigger picture.
You need to make specific goals both semester long and short term. So, if I want to “get in shape this semester”, I need to include short term weekly/monthly goals that I can measure to get me to the big goal. Smaller goals such as: “work out three times a week at the rec center” and “follow a progression workout for the next month” are steps to my bi goal, and if I truly want to achieve the bigger goal I can check in and see if I’m meeting my smaller steps.
Be prepared and have some fun to get you in the right mode for the fall semester.