Unpopular opinion: I LOVE SYLLABUS WEEK!! Everyone always looks at me crazy when I say this, but I cannot tell a lie! Syllabus week can be so relaxing if you know how to handle it!
First of all, what do you do with all of those syllabi that your professors always reference with every sentence they speak?
- Print them out!
- Highlight important dates and assignments.
- Either hang them up by your desk or put them in your class folder/binder so you can reference them easily.
Helpful Tip: Don’t tackle all of your syllabi at once. Take it one step at a time. You will only stress yourself out if you try to look at all of them at once. Take one at a time and flip through the pages and get an idea the workload for ONE class, then the next, and so on. This way you can gauge each class independently and see how much work you need to put into each class.
Plan it Out
You can take your syllabi and organize your planner with all of the stuff you highlighted if you use a planner, which I HIGHLY suggest you do! They will be your best friend throughout college and if you want to shop small and support a small college based business you can shop for a planner at Paper Trail Planners which is what I use for my planners! (psst, you can get 20% off your order if you sign up for PTP’s Creative Community newsletter! Find the link on the website or through the Newsletter tab at the top of this page!)
Helpful Tip: I like to fill out the monthly view of the big stuff like quizzes, midterms, and finals and put the small stuff like homework and assignments in the weekly view.
Helpful Tip: Color code your planner with pens to correspond with your classes so you can easily see what is due for what class and save room in your planner by not having to write the class the assignment is for! (Or you can use this Paper Trail Planner which is perfect for a class schedule which has a grid style layout with room to plan 6 different classes!)
Other Important Information to look for on your syllabi:
- Attendance Policy: you want to make sure you know how many days you can miss without harming your grade or see if attendance will be taken in lectures vs. recitation so near the end of the semester when you get lazy and tired you can look back and see what the policy is.
- Office Hours: highlight their office hours and office so when you need to go you know where to go and when.
- Contact Information: I like to enter my professors into my email contacts with the class name so when I start getting emails I know who they’re from and what class they’re for.
Helpful Tip: You can also add in their office hours etc. into their contact info in your email so you have everything in one place.
During syllabus week you should be looking at your syllabus to see what kinds of things you’re going to be doing this semester and/or asking your professor what kinds of things you’ll need for class. This includes textbooks!
Ask your professor if the textbook is required, where you could get it, is there a copy on reserve at the library? You could also make a friend in the class and see if yall could share the book to make it cheaper!
Helpful Tip: I rent my textbooks on Amazon for WAY cheaper or get the e-text version for a Kindle! So look into different options before going to your school’s bookstore because they will definitely be more expensive there.
During this first week you should be hitting up the CVS on campus and getting any school supplies you need last minute such as a composition notebook, an accordion folder, more pens, a calculator, ruler, etc.
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Making Good Impressions
First impressions are everything! So please try and make good ones during your first week of classes. Sit up front in class, say hi to your neighbor, be super helpful to people around you, introduce yourself to your professor, answer questions in class, and be sure to do your homework during this first week! You don’t want to start the semester off on the wrong foot with your professor. Try and get on their good side in the beginning so they can help you out a little later when you’re slipping and struggling with class.
Get Into a Routine
This first week of classes is the perfect time for you to start a routine and stick to it. Start it now while classes are running smoothly and you aren’t too busy yet because once you get busy it will be too late and much harder to start a routine. Once you’ve started a routine it is much easier to stick to it when things get rough.
For example: I have 8ams MWF and 11ams TR. That schedule is crazy because it will totally mess up my sleep schedule. So this week I have been waking up at 7am everyday and on MWF getting up and getting ready for class, and TR getting up & getting some work done (until it gets warmer and I can take my pup on a walk) then D and I go to the gym from 8am-9am and we get to come home and make a big breakfast and I can take a shower and get ready for class. Doing this keeps my sleep schedule on track and I can actually get a lot done in the mornings and waking up to a workout is a great way to start the day!
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So decide on something you want to do and start doing it NOW while it’s easy to do!
Good luck with your first week of classes! I hope your professors actually stick to the whole ‘Syllabus Week’ thing and not actually assign any homework or do too much in class, because all of mine have, ugh.