How to Start the Semester Off Right (And Keep It Going!)

Students cross campus in front of Broyhill Fountain with the Raikes School and the College of Business in the background

The beginning of any semester — let alone the school year — can be hectic! Seeing friends (and meeting new ones), going to campus events, signing up for student organizations, buying supplies, getting textbooks, decorating your room, remembering where everything is on campus…there’s a lot to do, right?

Whether you’re a first-year student coming to campus for the first time or an upperclassman eagerly returning, we all could stand to be better prepared as we enter the semester. Here are some easy steps to make sure you’re starting the semester off right and setting yourself up for success in the coming 16 weeks.

1. Check Your Degree Audit

What’s a degree audit, you ask? According to the Registrar, your degree audit is “a computer-generated document outlining your undergraduate academic progress.” Simply put, the degree audit keeps track of your academic progress (so you don’t have to). It shows you what you’ve done and what you still need to do to earn your degree.

Using your audit to see what classes, credits and other requirements you still need to earn your degree is a great habit to get into to ensure you’re on the right track! Opening your audit for the first time can be overwhelming, but these helpful pages on the registrar’s site detail how to access, navigate and read your audit.

2. Meet With Your Advisor

Guess what? When you schedule a meeting with your academic advisor, they will walk you through everything you need to know about your academic progress at Nebraska — including your degree audit. In addition to working with you to build a plan for future classes, your advisors will have insight into managing your workload (we don’t want anyone getting burnt out), internship opportunities, community involvement and so much more!

Meeting with your academic advisor at least once a semester is always a good idea! You can find your advisor’s email listed under the Academics tab on your MyRed. You can also schedule an appointment with them through MyPlan in MyUNL.

Undeclared? No sweat. The Explore Center has a whole team of advisors ready to meet with you, chat about your interests and get you set up with a schedule that makes sense! Set a meeting with them here or by calling their front desk at 402–472–3605. They also have drop-in advising available.

3. Invest in a Planner — and USE IT!

Planners may seem like just another thing to remember, but they can help keep you organized and really make a difference in your success. Planners can serve as a calendar/to-do list combo, letting you see what assignments, events and due dates are coming up. You can find a planner in the University Bookstore or most office supply stores.

Pro-tip: a planner doesn’t have to be an “official planner”! You can write on a calendar that you keep on your desk, make detailed to-do lists in a notebook, or write on a whiteboard that hangs on your wall. A planner is any system of organizing your life that works for YOU! If you’re not sure which method you prefer, try a few out and see what feels right.

4. Create a Routine

Figuring out how to manage your time is one of the biggest challenges students face when coming to campus! Establishing a daily, weekly, or whatever-ly routine can help bring some order to the chaos and get you settled into your semester. All of us are different and work better under a variety of circumstances; be honest with yourself and figure out what works best for you!

Here are some questions you can use to get started:

  • What time of day am I most energetic? When am I least energetic?
  • Where do I like to study? Do I like going to the same spots, or mixing it up?
  • What time of day am I most focused? Where do I focus well?
  • When am I going to find time to have fun and relax?
  • When am I going to see friends? Exercise?

5. Prioritize Your Friends!

One thing that will definitely ease the beginning-of-semester jitters is quality time with your friends and classmates. And if you’re new to campus, the beginning of the semester is the perfect time to go out on a limb and ask someone to hang out!

There are tons of events and activities happening around campus in the first few weeks for you to check out, not to mention a host of athletics teams to go support. Or get away from campus for a bit! Grab a bite to eat in Lincoln. Explore local trails, or cross things off your summer checklist. The possibilities are endless and it’s all up to you — just make sure you’re reaching out to fellow Huskers and starting the semester off right, together.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A top tier research & Big Ten university. Home of the Huskers.