5 tips for the fall semester

5 Steps to Prep for Fall Semester

By Zephyr L.

The new semester is right around the corner and if you are anything like me, you want to be prepared. With so many things to think about before going back to college, I thought I’d make you a quick list of actionable items to make yourself feel ready for the next couple of months.

1. Create a Capsule Wardrobe (of sorts)

Okay, so I’m not saying that you should pare down your entire wardrobe to 5 items of clothing, using them to magically create 20+ outfits. What I’m suggesting is to go through your closet (whether that be a full KonMari purge or just a little look) and identify the items you feel the best in. You are looking for the pieces you wish you could wear every day, items that make you feel comfortable and confident. See if there is a pattern. Are your choices a certain style? Maybe they’re a certain type of clothing. Identify that common thread (or threads) and start pulling other pieces that follow the pattern. The goal is to put together  a collection of outfits so that when you wake up in the morning you don’t have to think about what to wear to class. I put this as the first step because so many people go back to school shopping without actually going through their closets to see what they already have. Now if you do the first step and are thinking “Okay Zephyr, I found my pattern but I don’t have enough of it to create this “collection of outfits”. What do I do?” I would say that you should then do the opposite. Pick out the clothing that doesn’t make you feel good. The ones that don’t fit, that aren’t comfortable, or that you never wear. Dump this dead weight and replace it with new (or used) clothing that you are excited about. Take yourself shopping, treat yourself, and feel no guilt! You won’t be adding to your clutter as long as the amount of stuff you buy is less than or equal to what you got rid of.

Capsule Wardrobe

2. Organize Your Supplies

We all have that box or drawer of random school supplies left over from years of education. For me, it’s a basket within a drawer that is under my bed. Just like with your closet, I want you to go through this pile and separate out the stuff you will actually use and donate the rest of it. Then take the time to clean up your work area, college is hard enough without a cluttered desk.

Once that boring part is done, go get yourself some fun new school supplies! Nothing gets me more excited for the school year than fresh stationary. Again, only buy things you will actually use. I, personally, LOVE planners but I know that my bullet journal works best for me so I do not need to buy another planner. I can, however, get some nice pens and highlighters.

Quick Note: I recommend only buying a couple of school supplies ahead of time. It’s better to wait and see what the professors require so that you don’t end up wasting money. Some professors are very specific about what they want you to have while others couldn’t care less.

3. Review Your Schedule

I chose all of my classes myself but I sure don’t remember what time they are. Much less what room they will be in. Take the time to list out all of your classes, their times, and what room they are in. I like to stick mine into an excel spreadsheet so that I can visualize the kind of time I will have between classes. This way I can figure out when to fit in my meals and workouts.

Bonus points if you check if the syllabus is up ahead of time and write down the due dates of major assignments.

Here’s an example of a class spreadsheet:

School Schedule Organization

4. Define and Refine Your Routines

Routines will save your life. Morning routines, evening routines, fitness routines. Most things are easier if you have a routine. You want to reduce decision fatigue and make it easy for your brain to fall into a flow. If you make your bed every morning after breakfast eventually you will do it without thinking. If you exercise at 2 pm, 3 days a week it will be much easier to get yourself to go to the gym. It’s all about tricking your brain into thinking things are easier than they are. For me, when I wake up, I feel like I’m dying. My head is foggy, my eyes are sore, and I would do anything to not have to get up. All I want to do is morph into my true slug self and hide in the blankets for all eternity. That feeling hasn’t vanished due to a morning routine, but I now have much more willpower over Slug-Zephyr and am able to squash her whining in an

Take some time and write out your routines. What would the ideal morning routine look like? Take your schedule from the previous step and figure out how early you need to wake up to make that routine a reality. Do this for your other routines, but make sure what you are asking of yourself is reasonable. There’s no point in drawing out an elaborate schedule that you know in your heart you will never do. Once you have this routine, try it out. You will most likely discover flaws in your routine, keep changing it up until you find something that works for you. It definitely helps if you build in simple rewards into your routines. Something to look forward to when you don’t want to complete your routine. Maybe you make yourself the perfect cup of coffee in the morning or buy yourself a little bouquet of flowers with your weekly groceries. Whatever brings light to your life.

5. Learn an Easy Recipe

Eating out is expensive and the options for healthy foods are limited. Cooking your own meals allows you to control what you put in your body while saving you money. Before the semester starts, I challenge you to learn how to make something that is healthy, quick, and delicious. Something you can whip together when you are hungry and strapped for time. Recently I have been obsessed with avocados, so learning a simple guacamole recipe has made my life infinitely better.

Meal Planning Ideas

I hope this was helpful and that these steps make you feel at least a little more prepared for fall semester. Let me know if you have any questions or would like more suggestions!

Lots of love,



About the Author

Hi! My name is Zephyr (pronounced ze-fer) and I’m a college junior studying Neuroscience. I am passionate about self-improvement, healthy living, and sustainability. Currently I am working on owning only items that I love and avoiding fast fashion at all costs. My goal here is to help you achieve a happy, balanced life despite your busy schedule. Juggling school, health, and relationships is difficult, but definitely not impossible!

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