The words 'fresh start' drawn in a notebook

6 Things to Do That Will Make Your Semester Easier Before It Even Begins

While I truly get the desire to spend every day of your winter break sleeping in past noon and exiting your bed only to use the restroom or grab some food, I think you should at least consider using some of this time to be proactive and get ahead of the new semester. It will only help you out in the long run.

Here are six easy tips for an easier spring semester:

1. Buy a Planner

If you didn’t use a planner last semester and struggled to keep up with your schoolwork (or your final grades were nothing to text home about) buy one now. Planners help you manage your time and are in-your-face reminders of your schoolwork, tests, projects, and appointments. There are a few different types of planners – daily, weekly, bullet journals – so do a little research while you have some free time over the break to figure out which one you’d prefer.

If you did use a physical planner faithfully last semester…for one week only, try going digital. You might enjoy using it more, especially if you’re already a tablet lover.

For my digital planner, I used:

  • My iPad Pro (but any tablet will do)
  • The Goodnotes app
  • Apple Pencil
  • Etsy to pick out my digital planner file

A digital planner is a little more involved, as opposed to just purchasing a physical planner, but it’s kind of cool to create and gives you something to do over your break.

2. Download Study Apps

For improved grades next semester and better writing and study results, take this time to load your phone up with some of our favorite study apps.

3. Buy Organizational Supplies

If your desk looked a little chaotic last semester and all pens, pencils and important notes frequently went missing for medium (but frustrating) periods of time, pick up a couple of items that will prevent disarray next semester.

Here are a few of my favorite organizational supplies for keeping a desk in order:

4. Make a Schedule

A consistent schedule helps you feel more in control of your life and helps you remain on task. Just make sure you build a schedule that works for YOU. Use the fall semester as a guide. Did you feel your most productive after everyone in your household went to sleep? Then schedule some late-evening study sessions into your planner. Want to schedule a workout routine around your classes, but one that you’ll stick to? If you struggled to get out of bed last semester, stop trying to hit the gym at sunrise. Schedule your workouts during lunch or in the evenings.

As your new classes unfold, you can add to your schedule. Just remember to stick to the same weekly or monthly routine for the entirety of the semester. Doing so will help you build good habits.

5. Learn to Budget

Not sure where all your money went last semester? It’s time to take your first step towards managing your finances and use some time over the break to learn to budget. And by learn I mean download an app and let the app budget for you. A budget helps you understand where exactly your money is disappearing to each month. It also helps you set financial goals, helps you avoid eating ramen every day because you overspent on Destiny expansions, and (hopefully) helps you save money in the future. Again, the easiest way to do this is to use a budgeting app on your phone. Mint is my favorite, but if you’re looking for a more manual way to budget, College Info Geek has a great article on it.

6. Buy Your Textbooks (on TextbookRush)

I know you hate using your hard-earned money to buy textbooks, but you’re only doing your bank account a disservice if you wait until the very last minute (like after classes start) to buy them. If you want cheap textbooks, skip the campus bookstore and shop online early. Shopping early gives you a chance to scoop up the lower priced textbooks before someone else does. Wait too long and only the brand-spanking-new, full-priced copies might be left. Shopping early online also ensures your shipped books will arrive on time.

Don’t forget to come back to TextbookRush during the times of peak demand (beginning of the spring and fall semesters) to sell your textbooks and get the most money back for them. We’ll even provide you with the shipping label, free of cost, to send your books back to us.

About the author

Phil Smyres
CEO and Founder of
I graduated from Ohio State University, and I’ve been in Columbus, OH ever since. In 1994, I started buying and selling books on campus with two brick and mortar stores. Those stores have since closed but has remained a premier online retailer for all your textbook needs. During this time, we’ve also added two additional online retailers, and

My interests include spending time with my family, traveling everywhere and watching Ohio State football.