Starting Your College or University Term Off Right

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All colleges and universities have something in common; life at the beginning of term can feel pretty crazy - you need to get settled into a new routine, and even a new home if you've moved away to school. There may be roommates or housemates to get to know, and of course all the beginning of term socializing. With everything else going on, though you are at university for your education, classes, coursework and essays may be the furthest thing from your mind.

Even during first week of classes, when the end of the term seems so far away, it is important to set the tone and start your academic year off right. There are some things you can do to make your term successful, and they all start with being proactive from the very start.

Be prepared for your first classes. Have the materials you need - a notebook or binder with loose-leaf paper, a couple of pens and you calendar in your bag, and keep it always ready to go. It doesn't hurt to keep a notepad in your bag with some spare pens at all times, so that even if you're in a rush and forget your notebook on your desk, you'll be prepared.

Be sure to get to each and every one of your classes that first week. Some classes are overly full, and attendance is a factor - and yes, most professors do take attendance. If you are on a wait-list for a class it is absolutely imperative that you show up for every class until the final list is announced, or you may find that while a spot opened up, it was given to the next person on the list.

Make sure the class is one you do want to take, and then commit to it. Buy the textbooks, new or used, and get any materials you need. Take notes right from the first class - you never know what will be included on your exams. Write down all due dates and any other information on your calendar right away, including time needed for studying, research or group work if you can. Expect that you will be given homework, at the very least in the form of readings, right from the start, and don't overfill your calendar with social activities before you fill in your academic dates.

With some simple planning, and a commitment to start off strongly, it is possible to have a very successful term, and still allow time for getting settled, meeting new people and having a social life.
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