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Early Semester Tips

By Ethan Shea

"September Calendar"

You’ve survived the first week of classes! It may have been your first week as a college student, or it may feel like your thousandth, but regardless of the amount of time you’ve spent on campus, it’s important to get a head start on the semester.

With that in mind, here are a few things every college student should do to make this semester their best!


Make use of the Affordable Materials Project

The Affordable Materials Project (AMP) is here to help you get your course materials at a reasonable price or even for free. AMP works to notify students about Open Educational Resources (OER), which consist of free textbooks at the University, and also encourages searching the Library for available books you may need for class. If Falvey does not have a book immediately available, E-Z Borrow and ILLiad are both interlibrary loans that can get you a book sent from another library for free. Click here to learn more about AMP!


Attend office hours

I know every professor has already told you this, but it’s really that important. Even if you don’t feel like you need to meet with your professor right now, establishing a relationship early in the semester will pay dividends when research becomes more difficult later on.


Meet your subject librarians

Subject librarians are experts on all your favorite subjects, and they’re here to help you. Getting to know your subject librarian early in the semester can help you get on track for more difficult research projects down the road. Check out this blog for a brief introduction to Falvey’s subject librarians.


Use a calendar

Everyone has their own unique method of organization that works for them, but if you don’t already use a calendar or planner of some sort, I recommend you start now. In fact, getting hold of a physical calendar, whether it’s a white board you hang in your room or a paper planner you keep in your backpack, can make your tasks seem much less overwhelming. I personally didn’t begin using a calendar regularly until my second year of undergrad, and I’ve never gone back.


Try something new on campus

This could mean many different things. You could study at a new location on campus or eat somewhere you’ve never been before. Trying something new will keep the campus experience fresh and exciting even if you’ve already been a Wildcat for some time.


Make time to enjoy yourself

Leaving free time to do what you love becomes more difficult as the semester goes on, so it’s best to get a head start. Maybe you’ll devote a couple hours every week to playing a recreational sport with friends or going off campus to do something fun. Sometimes it’s more efficient to give yourself a break and work on a task later than to stare at your textbook with a fried brain and accomplish nothing. Start thinking of time spent having fun as essential to your work!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: August 26, 2022