How to have a good start of term
I’m guessing you’d rather start a new term feeling calm and relaxed about everything, rather than stressed because you are totally unprepared, right? Starting a new term effectively should keep you motivated and organised throughout the year, which can only be a good thing. In this blog post, I will discuss a few simple things you can do before the start of term and during the first week or so to make sure you get off to a good start.
Have everything you need
It sounds obvious but before you start term you need to make sure you have everything you need. This includes anything you might need in your pencil case and any other stationery you might need. I personally like to make sure that I have these things a week or so before I go back so that I’m not worrying about getting them at the last minute when the shops have inevitably sold out! You should also make sure you have any subject specific things, such as particular textbooks or specialist sports equipment. If you are given a list at the start of term of things that you will need, if possible get them straight away. This means that you will have them when you need them later on in the year and won’t have to waste time (and get stressed) getting them then.
Check your timetable makes sense
Before you get too far into the term you need to make sure that there aren’t any problems with your timetable. For example, make sure that none of your lessons clash with each other. Also check that you know where all your lessons are and how long it takes to travel between them so that you don’t arrive late because you got lost. Asking any questions as soon as they crop up will save any problems later on. The chances are, if it is a problem for you, it also is for other people so don’t be afraid to ask. In addition, if your timetable means you might be late to a lesson, it would be polite let your teacher know in advance – (my sixth form was split between schools so sometimes you would be a few minutes late but if the teachers knew you were travelling from a different site they were very understanding). If you have free time in your timetable then make sure you know about any rules regarding where you are meant to be during this time. For example, my school liked us to be in school mostly, although there were a few times that we were allowed off site.
Collect any emails and contact details you need
Collecting the email addresses of your teachers and lecturers at the start of term will mean that when you suddenly need to contact them half way through the term with an urgent question you will be able to do this easily, which will save you a lot of stress. Check what the preferred way to contact them is – some of my University tutors prefer to be contacted by text – and collect this information as well. Even if they do preferred to be texted, for example, having an email address is useful as it means you can send them attachments of assignments etc. easily. I like to make sure that any email addresses are saved into my email account and any numbers are in my phone. This means that I don’t have to hunt around for a specific piece of paper that I think I wrote them on half way through the term when I have an urgent question.
Develop a good homework system
It is worth investing a bit of time at the start of term to developing a good homework system so that when you have more homework later in the year it is well established and everything will feel more under control. During my A Levels I had a system of having a piece of card on my noticeboard with a column for each subject I was taking. As soon as I got home each day I would write any homework on a small post-it note and put it in the appropriate column. When it was done I would then remove it, which made it really easy to see how much homework I had left to do. At the top of each column I had a smiley face sticker so when I had done all my homework for a subject I got to see it, which was always nice!
Another part of developing a good homework system is to have a rough idea of when you might do your homework. Don’t worry – I don’t mean a minute-by-minute plan of what you are going to be doing for the next year! I just mean to have a think about which days/ times might be best. For example, I was generally busy most of Wednesday evening during sixth form so I made sure that on Thursday, either during free lessons or after school I caught up on homework from Wednesday. In addition, if homework is due the next day or in a couple of days time, you will obviously need to do it straight away, however, sometimes you will have larger projects which have a week or two to be completed in. For this type of thing it might be worth thinking about whether you would like to have an evening per subject and just focus on one subject for the whole evening, or if you would like to do a little bit of each subject each day. There isn’t a right or wrong answer for this as long as everything gets handed in on time. It is just worth thinking about so you have a bit of a routine later on in the year, which is likely to make you more productive.
Know the rough structure of your year
At the start of each year I like to know roughly what is coming up. This means knowing if, and when there will be exams and how many there will be and also what the weighting of each one is. I also like to find out if there will be coursework type assignments, and if so, roughly when they will be due. It isn’t essential to know this type of information, but it can be useful so you have a vague idea of what you are aiming for. I find it helpful to put important dates (exams, coursework deadline etc.) in my diary straight away so I won’t miss anything. I also put them in the back of my diary where I have a yearly overview thing which helps me see how spread out they are. And, being someone who likes things to look pretty, I use a different colour per subject/ OU module so I can see how they all fit together.
Leave a comment to let me know what you like to do at the start of term to get prepared 🙂