It might be hard to believe this, but we’re already halfway through summer. We know, we know – you don’t want to think about moving back into your dorm and doing homework again while you’re enjoying the summer sunshine and a break from exams and essays. But while there’s still a lot of time left before you head back to school, you can make the transition back-to-school a little bit easier by doing these five things to prepare now.
Download your syllabi ahead of time
Some professors will make the syllabus for their class available ahead of the start of the semester on the class website or academic platform (like Blackboard). This is a great opportunity to do a little more research into the course you’re taking, because, let’s be honest, you might know little more than course title and a vague description. Check out what books are required for the course, and if possible, you could even skim your textbooks or do one of the initial readings for class. It might give you a sense of how time-consuming the reading might be so you can determine how to plan for other commitments, such as other class assignments, participating in clubs or on-campus organizations, an internship, and even just having a social life.
Get planning and map out your due dates
If you’re able to review your syllabi ahead of time, you will also want to consider getting a planner (sometimes called an agenda or calendar) and adding the dates of future assignments, tests, and other due dates during your semester. Whether you choose to use a digital calendar or put pen to paper, you’ll be able to prepare for how busy (or maybe un-busy) your semester will be. Having due dates in your planner will let you see if you have any overlapping due dates and, for example, come up with a game plan for how to complete an essay assignment for the same day you have a big exam.
Organize your essentials
We all have a tendency to procrastinate sometimes, but you don’t want to leave packing for the day before you leave home and head to school. Start by making a list. What do you need for the upcoming semester that you can’t buy once you’re already at school, or that would be too expensive or logistically difficult to purchase upon arriving at school? For example, you’ll want to bring the clothes you need for the semester (or maybe even the whole year) but you can purchase snacks and beverages upon arriving at school. As you create your list, you’ll be able to start packing up your things so that you have plenty of time to get the things you need ahead of time or notice if you’ve forgotten something.
Get your US phone number
If you’re traveling to university in the US for the first time, you should definitely get your US phone number before you leave your home country. By signing up for Mint Mobile through campusSIMS, you can pick out your phone plan and get that US phone number ahead of time. You’ll be able to give your phone number to your parents so that they have a way of easily contacting you once you get to the US. Also, with campusSIMS and Mint Mobile, you don’t need to activate your plan until you get to the US – so you aren’t paying for mobile phone service until you’re ready to use it. You’ll be able to activate when land and get off of the plane, but before then, you have peace of mind knowing that you’re already all set up with phone service.
Do some research on your new neighborhood
Whether you’re returning to school for another semester or you’re moving to the US for the first time, it’s definitely worth doing research on the city or new neighborhood where you’re living. This, of course, is important from a safety perspective – you should familiarize yourself with your surroundings so you feel comfortable navigating outside of campus if/when you need to. You can use Google Maps (or other maps services) to bookmark important places like local hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, and post offices or shipping companies (like FedEx, UPS, DHL). Additionally, you can figure out the places for more fun activities like local restaurants, bars, museums, parks, and more.