Petzold: Start the semester on the right foot


Photo: David Derong/Iowa State Daily

Alex Skeen, freshman in engineering, gets help from Sue Benson, a temporary employee for the University Book Store, on Aug. 18 to determine which books he needed for his American Indian studies course this fall. Benson helped students find their books based on course and section numbers.

Megan Petzold

New students, welcome to the most intense and most exhausting four years of your lives. Trust me, it is actually a great experience. Don’t get me wrong, you will definitely have all-night study sessions, bond with those in your hardest class, get a professor who might not teach in a style you enjoy and drop the ball a few times. But after all the exhaustion and hard work, you will look back and remember how great it all was. 

As you probably learned during orientation, ordering your books before classes begin is always a good choice. It shows a lot to your professors to already be prepared for the textbook homework they might assign that first week. Whether you go through the bookstore, through amazon or wherever, ordering textbooks required for classes is a smart way to get ahead for the semester. For returning students as well, getting your books before the rush of frantic students who might have forgotten to get theirs helps with the stress of beginning a new semester. 

If you can, moving into your dorm or apartment with enough time to get used to the space, the people and the fact that you are no longer living with your parents can also help lower the stress of a new semester. Adjusting to a new space, a new campus and a new set of classes is a lot to take on. Getting to campus even a week early can help get some homesickness feelings settled and can help you become familiar with your new space and those who you might need to share the space with. Knowing your roommates and the way to get to campus will make the first week of classes go by more seamlessly. 

One other thing I personally like to do is go onto Accessplus and looking at my professors and where my classes are being held. I like to know where I need to get to on a daily basis, or if I need to run from class to class. Along with that, I like to go onto and see how hard the class is expected to be and how difficult the professor is to other students. Knowing who is teaching and where they are helps me figure out how to make my semester easier. I can either change professors or prepare myself for the mile haul in 10 minutes. I also like to make sure I am keeping myself at a good amount of credits. If I give myself four problem solving classes, I might find a way to put one of those off until another semester. 

No matter what you do to prepare for the new semester, you can make it through! As long as you make an effort to succeed and try your best, you can make it from syllabus week to finals. If you seem to have a rough semester, try some of these tips to get you started on the right foot!