Survival Guide: Start the Quarter Right



Just as the school year begins, every student comes in with the same attitude: “I’m totally going to ace this quarter. I swear I’ll do so well, I’ll even have the perfect sleep schedule.”

But in reality, that truly never happens.

“It’s only the second week and I’m dying,” said Vivian Mac, a Materials Engineering sophomore. “We just came back and midterms are literally next week.”

College is a stressful environment. Everyone knows that. However, the quarter system makes everything even more stressful. The quarter system is this hell bent system that pushes students to learn an entire course of information in only ten weeks. Yes, this grueling system is so fast it puts the Flash to shame. Altogether, this fast paced system gives professors back pains and leaves students tear stained.

But the solution to a successful quarter all comes down to these few questions: How can we beat the system? How can we barely survive this disastrous fate of coffee-induced papers written at 4 a.m. and tear stained cheat sheets crammed with every formula, equation, and rule?

It’s simple. It all begins in the syllabus week.

“Staying organized has to be a number 1 priority in the very beginning, especially because the quarter moves so fast. It’s easy to fall behind but it makes life easier if you make a plan and stick to it. Even planning a day at a time makes a huge difference,” said Clarisse Wangeline, English Sophomore.

Here are 3 tips and tricks to starting your quarter right.

  1. When you get the syllabus, always read the entire syllabus.
    • It gives you the need to know information on percentage of grades, dates of assignments and exams, office hours and etc.
    • It allows you to analyze what is important and what isn’t, what counts towards your grade and what you can skip over.
    • It aids professor in answering almost every repetitive question every student has in their mind. Office hours? Syllabus. Contact information? Syllabus. What days they’ll be absent? Syllabus.


Planner// photo by author

2. Keep a planner.

  • Keeping a planner keeps you organized. The minute you get your syllabus from all your classes, fill it with all your scheduled exams, projects, and papers. The planner keeps you on top of all your assignments and lets you see your exams from a mile away. Investing in a good planner or even making your own can make all the difference in the world. (i.e. this planner or DIY planner)
  • Keeping a planner not only helps with your school work, a planner can help with your social life. Keeping a planner means balancing your time between school work and your social life wisely

3. Socialize.

  • A simple “Hello!” in the beginning of class to the person beside you can make a difference in both your social life and your grade. By gaining a friend in class, you have access to their notes and a study buddy.


late night studying// photo by author


Being organized and prepared makes a huge difference in your experience as a college student. It determines what you get to do and what you have to spend your time on. By balancing your time and starting things right, it’s more likely you’ll have a great college experience.

I hope this helps you to a start of a great quarter. Good luck on the first few weeks of college!


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