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A new semester is right around the corner. I always preferred the spring semester to the fall semester. It’s so much nicer when the days start getting longer and warmer instead of colder and shorter.

If you want to make this semester your best semester ever, keep reading!

1. Get organized early.

Coming into the semester unprepared is only setting yourself up for failure. Go through your syllabi and write in important dates on your calendar. These include exams, papers, drafts, group project deadlines, research project due dates, etc. Having this type of organization will allow you to stay on top of your assignments. Don’t let key deadlines and dates pass you by! If you do, you’ll likely find that it’s too late to make it up and you may have to retake the class.

I find it extremely helpful to color coordinate my notebooks for each class or subject. For example, math is red; psychology is green; literature is blue. Use the same method for your calendar. If you’re using a physical planner, use different colored pens for your classes in the same scheme as mentioned above. If you’re using a Google calendar, color code your calendars and due dates in the same way.

2. Spend less on textbooks.

A college education is an expensive endeavor that has many hidden costs and fees. One of the biggest expenses for college students beyond tuition is textbooks. I can’t tell you how much I spent at my university’s book store (it’s in the thousands) before I realized there were other options.

With the Amazon Textbooks Store, you can get up to 80 percent off the list price for rentals between 30 to 360 days (and Amazon pays for return shipping). Plus, if you need to buy a book or want to keep it (I still have and reference some of my textbooks years after graduating), you can save up to 60 percent on those as well. The Amazon Texbooks Store also has the option to trade-in textbooks that you own. For current deals and promotions, follow Amazon Prime Student on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (add ‘amazonstudent’).

Exploring other options for purchasing textbooks will save you hundreds of dollars each semester. You can use that money you save to open an investment or savings account or attending conferences and networking events.

3. Stay up to date with your major’s industry.

If you want to stand out in a sea of students, it is a game-changer to listen to podcasts, additional lectures, TED Talks, and read articles, books written, and the current research in your field. Nothing says “invested” like spending your free time going above and beyond. With Amazon Prime Student, you get access to unlimited listening to original audio series with Audible. Additionally, you can access thousands of books, magazines, and more with Prime Reading.

How can you stay up to date on your industry’s happenings on top of all your school work? Listen on your way to class — bonus points if you bring up something you learned during a lecture or discussion section.

All of this is available with Amazon Prime Student — sign up here for a free six months. After that, a membership is only $59 annually (students save 50 percent off of a regular Amazon Prime Membership).For every friend you refer who signs up for a sponsored trial of Amazon Prime Student, you’ll both get a $10 Amazon store credit. I started my Amazon Prime Student membership during my junior year of college, and I’m still a member five years later.

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4. Schedule time for yourself (but not too much time).

Your college years are a lot of fun, but they can also be extremely stressful if you fail to stay organized and allow little stressors to pile up. My best semesters were the ones where I was busy but not so busy that I couldn’t take care of myself.

If you’re anything like me, knowing you have lots of time to do something only means that you are going to procrastinate on it. If my schedule was full to the point of where I only had X hours or X time period to work on projects or to study, I was able to consistently get them done. Of course, I still had nights where I watched movies, hung out with friends, played games (I’ve always loved The Sims), and generally took care of myself.

The key to the best semester ever is balancing out your schedule. It’s not healthy to be go-go-go all the time, and it’s also not beneficial to leave yourself with so much time you’re twiddling your thumbs, accomplishing nothing. Have your study time, have your friends time, and have your “you” time.

5. Make a new contact every week (and keep in touch with them).

This one is a challenge. It requires you to go outside of your comfort zone regularly and introduce yourself to new people. Consistently expanding your network is something almost all college students wish they had done while in school. Meet up with someone in class to study, go to office hours for a professor or TA (this is where staying up-to-date in your industry will come in handy!), have coffee with someone you admire from your internship. All of these efforts and interactions will add up as you expand your network.

Keep in touch with them on LinkedIn, create a spreadsheet to keep track of when and where you met, plus what you discussed during your meeting. This will make it much easier to follow up in the future. Trust me — you will need this network after you graduate!

College is a great time, but don’t forget that you’re there to learn and invest in yourself. It’s understandable if you had a sharp learning curve during your freshman and sophomore years, but as you get closer to graduating and the “real world” is only a few short years away, it’s more important than ever to turn your college years into a strategy for success.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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