If you’re not already back at school at this point, you’re at least in the mindset of heading that way again. We’ve all enjoyed our wonderful winter breaks, spending time with friends and family and taking a long, well-deserved hiatus from classes. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end as we are unceremoniously thrown back into the collegiate chaos.

The beginning of the spring semester is always interesting. It’s an odd mix of old and new. You’re already moved in and organized in your dorm or apartment. The same people are still there for the most part. But then you’ve got an entire new semester dynamic with new classes, new faces, and new professors. It may be a little less overwhelming than the beginning of the fall semester since you don’t have to get used to your new rooming situation, but it’s still a whole new ball game.

Once this semester gets moving in the next coming weeks, you’ll eventually start to fall into a semester pattern as you inevitably do during every semester. But in order to get your semester off to the best start possible and to make your semester even better as the year goes on, you can start doing things now, right now at the very, very beginning of the semester. Before you fall into semester habits that are hard to break, start good habits now so they can be incorporated into your pattern throughout the semester.

Start Your Classes off Right

There are several things you can do do make sure you get a good start to your classes. I start off every semester the same way. After the first day of each class when I’ve gotten the syllabus, I sit down at my computer, open my calendar, and write in every assignment, test, project, paper, etc. that I have due for that semester. That way I have everything for every class written down in one place. I can visually see when things are do and then strategically plan in those upcoming weeks when I need to do work ahead of time to avoid working on two major assignments at one time. It also will help you remember everything you need to do so you don’t forget to complete an assignment or prepare for a quiz.

I also like to organize my classes with their own spirals and folders. Of course, those folders are both physical (color coordinated, of course, that I use for handouts, assignment instructions, etc) and electronic. I make new folders on my Gmail account every semester as well as new folders in my computer to keep all of my papers and written assignments. Starting organization early in the semester is absolutely necessary to keep on top of things throughout the year. Once you get into unorganized habits, they’re hard to break and even if you do want to put in the effort to change those habits, you’ll have to sort through all of the stuff you’ve collected thus far and then filter it.

Start Your Body off Right

Something that I often find myself doing at the beginning of every semester is putting off exercising until later in the semester. I always say, “Oh, let me get settled into the semester and figure out when I can find time to exercise.” When I put it off, I always find excuses to not exercise that week. I’ll be busy studying, or I’ll be working on a project. Exercising is important to keeping your body healthy. Even if you’re happy with how your body is, you should be exercising during the school week to keep active and to give you more energy.

Instead of waiting to settle into your schedule to figure out when you’ll have time to exercise, just take a look at your schedule, find a chunk of time, and just decide right then and there that that’s when you will be working out. And then, do it. I came back to school on Monday and exercised Tuesday and Wednesday. Now I feel like I’m already in an exercising rhythm and so I feel like I’ll be much more likely to continue it during the rest of the semester.

You should also start your semester off by eating right too. I’m not saying diet. And I’m certainly not saying stay away from sugary or sweet foods. I cannot survive without chocolate. And if I see something I want to eat, be it brownies, cookies, pasta, chicken fried steak, etc, then dammit, I’m going to eat it. But that doesn’t mean I gorge myself on any one of those items. Don’t eat fifteen cookies in one night. Just be reasonable.

That also means that you should be eating fruits and vegetables. I don’t know about y’all but I am not a huge fan of green things. I like a few green things here and there, but on the whole, not a veggie lover. But I have made an effort to try to eat at least one vegetable and one fruit each day. I fail some days, but when I do eat vegetables, I feel better about myself and just feel healthier altogether. So start the semester by trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. Your mother might die of shock.

Start Your Room off Right

Yes, you probably still have the same room last semester. But if you’re a rather messy person, like myself, then help keep your room organized and clean by starting it off that way. Before classes start or when you have some down time, just tidy up for 20 minutes or half an hour. You’ll be amazed how such a little amount of time can contribute to the cleanliness of your room. Hopefully starting out with your room organized and clean and with the thought that you are trying to keep your room organized and clean, it will actually stay that way.

In fact, if you decide from the beginning that each week you will devote that short time of 20 minutes or half an hour to keeping your room tidy, that will definitely help keep your room the way it should be. If you need any tips on how to keep your room clean and organized, check out some previous posts.

Do you have any tips to help college students to start their semesters off right? Let us know in the comments!