Since COVID-19 has made its way into the United States, the fall semester of college is up in the air. This means most students are likely just now finding out whether they will be going back to campus or working remotely for the fall semester. With everything going on, getting a head start on preparation for the fall semester is imperative. Here are 5 ways to get a head start on the fall semester.
1. Buy your books
If you already know what classes you are taking, buying your books is a great way to take care of something that will likely cause a headache if you wait for the fall. As your classes are starting, trying to coordinate where to buy the books and making sure they’ll ship on time, on top of having to pay for them all at once, can be a nightmare. This is why taking the summer to buy your books can be a huge help. You have three months to make sure everything arrives if you are having them shipped. You can also use this time to hunt for specific books at used book stores at your university for an often cheaper price. The other huge plus for using the summer to buy your books is the ability to spread out the cost. If you have a job, you can buy some books each month so you’re not spending a ton of money all at once. Overall, buying your books over the summer will save time, money, and a headache.
2. Get a job
Holding down a summer job is a must for college students. Incoming freshman: you have no idea how expensive college can be. You may think being on a meal plan or staying in campus housing will save you money – and yes, those are huge money savers – but having spending money for lifestyle activities with friends is a must. Preferably, this summer job would extend into the fall semester, but if it can’t, a summer job is a great way to save pocket money for your fall semester. By having some extra money to spend (wisely), you will have the freedom to eat out with friends, buy new clothes as you need them, and take care of any other surprise expenses that may come up. If you have nothing going on during summer, getting a job is a no-brainer, especially with all the money you can earn.
3. Set a routine
Getting up at noon is something we are all guilty of, especially during the summer. There is nothing wrong with sleeping in every once in awhile, but if this becomes a habit, it may come back to hurt you in the fall. If you spend three months with no schedule or routine, it will take you longer in the fall to adjust to college life. Even if you only have later classes, sleeping in means you are wasting valuable study time that you will have to make up for in the late hours of the night, perpetuating a cycle. Take the summer to set a routine that will work for you and your future class schedule. This can include exercising, morning prayer/meditation, and a productive hobby. During summer, you likely don’t have any real classwork, so you can use your free time to work on your resume, creative writing, or practicing your public speaking skills. Of course, don’t be afraid to schedule time for pure leisure, like watching YouTube. If you can create a routine that enables you to be productive in your actions and time management, you will be ahead of most when it finally comes to the fall semester.
4. Connect with classmates/roommates on social media
Using social media to connect with future classmates on social media is a great way to get a head start on the fall semester. Even if you aren’t an incoming freshman, there is likely still plenty of people you haven’t connected with. Connecting on social media allows you to gauge who you share common interests with and who will make good friends for the fall semester. You reach out and find people in your classes as well. Connecting on social media also allows you to put faces to names before you even set foot on campus, which again, makes it easier to make new friends. If you already know who your roommates are, try to find them on social media and reach out to them. By contacting them early, you can get a head start on accumulating materials to make your dorm/apartment move-in as seamless as possible. This way, you can take the guesswork out of what you need to buy and likely save money. This will come in handy for the next tip. Overall, connecting with future classmates and roommates will make socializing easy in the future, and will give you a head start in finding a friend group.
5. Gather dorm/apartment decor
Waiting until the week you move into your dorm or apartment is stressful and expensive. Using your free time in the summer to narrow down exactly the vibe you are looking for and hunting down the best prices is a great use of the three months of summer. Waiting until the last week will likely mean you will have to get all your furniture from Target, which is not only expensive, but limiting. Online furniture shopping greatly expands your horizons and is often easier on your wallet. Using the summer months to shop takes the pressure off worrying if everything will ship on time. Also, every time you are at the store, check out small decor pieces, and every once in awhile, purchase what you like. Doing this every once in a while throughout the summer will lead to an accumulation of small pieces that can fill up space in your dorm or apartment. Collecting over three months allows you to spread out the cost and forgo purchasing everything all at once. As mentioned in the previous tip, make sure you are communicating with roommates so you don’t spend any more money than you have to.