Preparation for Next Semester (A.K.A How to Have a Stress-Free Winter Break)
As finals week comes to an end, it is time for some much-needed rest, right? Well, kind of. Every year, I find myself ditching my books and relaxing the majority (or all) of Winter Break. As the beginning of January creeps up, I find myself lost in the stress of preparing for the new semester. I find myself thinking: I haven't ordered books or bought school supplies or even touched a pencil since the last final in December. What now!? Well, just this year, I have created a fireproof method to have everyone ready for a new semester before it is "too late."
In the stress of finals this past week, I have ALREADY prepared for next semester. Yes, it is true. My binders are loaded with paper, textbooks are ordered, and my backpack is packed. This may seem a bit extreme, and perhaps it is. In the midst of finals, it may seem impossible to be thinking about next semester when your struggling to get through this one. If I have learned one thing in college, it is: being over prepared is ten times better than being under prepared. So, how do you prepare so early?
First-bit advice: find out what classes you are taking. Usually, you are aware of your class schedule at least one semester out. Use this to your advantage. E-mail your future professor(s) and ask what book(s) you need for their course as you would like to order them early. This 1. starts a conversation with your professor. They are usually willing to share what you need for their course. (TIP: Don't email them during finals week, they are just as stressed as you are. You want to make a good impression, not leave a bad one). and 2. ensures that you will order the correct textbook. There is nothing worse than spending a bunch of money on a book you don't even need. (Tip #2: You could also ask your professor to see if anybody in their current class would be interested in selling their copy of the book.)
Secondly: Buy plenty of materials in the Summer! School supplies are almost always cheaper in the summer, and if you overstock then, you will surely be prepared when January rolls around. When taking a break from studying for a final, get one binder ready for your future class. I usually like to do this after I talk to the professor, or even better, if you know someone currently taking the class you can see what materials you will need.
Lastly: Organize all the materials you prepped for your future classes. This way, you can set them up right after finals when your backpack is (thank goodness) empty. Set a reminder on your phone to look over your stuff a couple of days before the next semester starts.
If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to enjoy your Winter Break in its entirety and avoid spending the last couple of days hunched over your laptop trying to order books that are now out of stock. Happy Holidays!