generic opinion

There’s nothing better than a week to get back into the swing of things. School might have technically started Monday. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t really start until next week.

It’s been awhile since you’ve seen friends or hung out at your favorite bar, and it has probably been even longer since you’ve had a quiet night to yourself if you spent the holidays with family. With all of these options; how should you actually be spending syllabus week? The answer is simple: preparing.

All it takes is a nighttime stroll past Midtown to see most of the university doing the opposite. Let me be the first to tell you: The bars are not going anywhere. There will be plenty of other nights out and, don’t worry, J.J’s and The Swamp will still be lurking around the corner to take your money.

Rather, your free time is one of the most precious resources the first week of a semester. I don’t want to scare you, but when you’re done reading this, you should probably start reading over the quiz and exam schedule for your classes. I’ll bet you didn’t realize your professor scheduled a quiz due at midnight, or he also scheduled your midterm two days before Spring Break.

There’s a perception that the next couple weeks will be exactly like syllabus week: carefree, fun and a lot like high school. I’m going to serve as your friendly reminder that, more than likely, your first exam is not too far off, meaning I’d get a head start on studying.

So, how does your extra free time this week relate to the rest of the semester? Spending it wisely now will give you the upper hand on most of your class for weeks to come.

Let’s start with some basics on how to ensure a successful syllabus week. A surefire way to make a bad impression on your classmates the first week is asking for a piece of paper or a pencil (or sometimes even both). Instead of taking a shopping trip with friends, take a shopping trip to Target for school supplies. The dollar bin there is more fun anyway. This way you’ll be ready for next week and the weeks to come when you have to start hunkering down with notes.

You know those textbooks you needed to order off of Amazon? If you place that order this week, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll arrive early next week, and if you have Amazon Prime, well then, you just might be ahead of the game. You’ll be ready for any quizzes or discussions that are looming in the not-so-far-distant future.

Are you not sure about a class or professor? There’s a reason they call syllabus week drop/add period. There’s no excuse to be in a class you’re not happy with. The long lines and packed offices are daunting this week, I know. But take advantage of alternative resources like email or appointments to avoid the wait if you need to.

Most importantly, spend this week working on yourself. Self-care isn’t a joke, and it’s whatever you want it to be. Maybe it’s reading a book or wearing a face mask while your favorite movie plays in the background. Spend this week in a way that will ensure your own success. The same way a house with a strong foundation is built to last, your semester will be built to last if you make your syllabus week productive.

There are so many ways to spend syllabus week. Spend it doing something that is going to allow you to lay down a solid foundation for the rest of the semester.

Elijah Rawls is a UF journalism senior. His column appears on Fridays.