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Spring semester: things to do your first week back

Thought a little chaotic, the start of spring semester is an exciting time for many McDaniel students. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things right in the middle of winter after a six-week vacation, but with plenty of friends and professors to be reunited with and a cool new course load, everything awesome about the new semester tends to outweigh everything stressful.

Here’s some things you can do to make your first week back smooth, successful, and enjoyable:

1. Check your mailbox! You don’t have to prioritize this, but I always enjoy checking my mailbox at the beginning of each semester to see what flyers and other mail await me. Yesterday, a flyer, a dean’s list certificate, a postcard to myself, and a late Christmas card were all waiting for me. And by the end of this week, I’ll probably have enough different colored flyers to create a rainbow.

2. Take time to reconnect with friends. After several weeks of not having seen your friends, you probably won’t need to be reminded this, but if transitioning into a new semester is hectic for you, it’s nice to be able to let yourself socialize with the people you care about. After all, friendship is a huge component of your college experience and your well-being. Reconnect with professors too. You may have professors from last semester who you liked and would like to keep in your lives. Feel free to find out when their office hours are and go chat with them–your professors care about you and your well-being and genuinely love to hear about you. Having a good rapport with a professor or two can help you make any letters of recommendation you’ll eventually need really shine, and more importantly, your own life will be enhanced by having a mentor figure in your life.

3. But don’t blow off your homework. With all that socialization going on, it can be all too easy to blow off homework–After all, it’s only the beginning of the semester and you’ll have time to work on it later, right? Don’t get into this mindset. The beginning of the semester may be the time of the semester when you have the most energy, so channel some of that energy into your studies so you don’t fall behind.

4. Get your textbooks–fast! Hopefully, by now, you’ve ordered your textbooks, either through the school bookstore or elsewhere. But if you forgot to do that over break, do it fast. Most professors are pretty forgiving to students who don’t have their course books for the first few class meetings, but after that, they might not be happy (and your classmates whose books you’re borrowing won’t be happy after a few weeks either). If your goal is to find good deals on books on Amazon or Half.com, don’t wait until the last minute; the books will be more expensive and you might have to wait several days or weeks for them to ship–never a good way to start off the semester.

It’s crazy to think about, but generally, you only have eight semesters of college with only four of those being spring semesters. With only three semesters to go before I graduate, I can tell you that college goes by crazy fast, so make the most of each semester you have by starting off on the right foot!

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