After a (hopefully) relaxing winter break, USM’s campus is finally full of people again as everyone prepares for the new semester. Compared to an almost desolate campus over break, the chatter and simple buzz of others has been a refreshing, needed familiarity. Although I’m only a sophomore (and definitely not an expert), it seemed fitting to offer some tricks and tips to minimize stress moving into new classes.
First things first: every student needs textbooks – for just about every class. As students know, these textbooks can be excessively expensive and cause the majority of pre-semester anxiety. Although sometimes there is no avoiding the struggle, remember to minimize cost where possible by: a.) using the internet to see if you can buy these books used or from the source, such as Cengage, b.) asking around friends and joining groups of other students seeking and selling books, perhaps with a platform such as Facebook, and c.) using secondary sources such as surrounding textbook sellers, such as Textbook Brokers. Of course, it can still be a heavy hit to one’s bank account even when using all of these tricks, but considering all of these options can definitely save a good amount of money in the long run!
Next, do not be afraid to approach your professors. Surely, this is a piece of advice that is repeated countlessly, but it is a rightfully respected cliché. Clichés are clichés for a reason. If you have any questions or concerns, it is better to voice them (over covid-friendly email or Zoom, of course). Doing this both shows that you care about the course in general and allows your professor to recognize you for future reference.
Last but not least, follow COVID protocol! Although it is exciting that people are moving back on campus, we must be mindful as a student body to ensure that we stay safe and healthy. More people equate to more risk, and that is something we need to consider in our daily actions. When possible, make sure you wear a mask, keep social gatherings small, maintain distance from others, and wash your hands frequently. As described in the syllabi from last semester, it is important to self-screen by taking your temperature and paying attention to any abnormal symptoms, as well as refraining from in-person classes if you are experiencing symptoms or were exposed. Although this, too, is repeated often, it is important to ensure that we are all able to stay on campus for the semester and get the most out of our education.
Finally, good luck! One more semester means that we are closer than ever before to our overall goal, and that is always a good thing.