Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Preparing for the New School Year

Hi, I hope everyone is enjoying the last couple of weeks they have of summer break before classes start at PLU. I got to go hiking on Mt. Rainier for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was absolutely great! If you're an incoming student, I recommend you try it out once you get here before it starts to cool down.

From my hike on Mt. Rainier!

As classes are starting in a couple of weeks, you might have forgotten to prepare for the new school year. Well no worries! Here is a list of things you might need to do before you start classes on September 8th (yes, this is when classes start if you already didn't know!).

1. Buy textbooks
Make sure you have all your textbooks for the semester. Textbook listings are available on the Garfield Book Company website. What I usually like to do is check the prices of books on the Garfield Bookstore website and compare prices with other companies such as Amazon or Chegg. Sometimes the used books on these websites tend to be a little cheaper, but not always so make sure to check the price before you buy your textbooks.

2. Buy school supplies
Make a trip to Target or Walmart to make sure you have enough school supplies such as pencils, pens, erasers, sticky notes, etc. It's always better to have extra, so that you don't run out when you least expect it.

3. New Student Living On-Campus? Contact your roommate.
If you are a student who is going to be living with a roommate they've never met, it's important you contact them so that you can communicate about things you may need to do before move-in. When I first moved into Ordal Hall, my residence hall my first year, my roommate and I talked about buying a mini-fridge and TV before moving in. It's also nice to get to know your roommate a little before meeting them, because it is very likely that you will be living with them for the whole year!

4. Chart out your classes and schedule on your Google Calendar
Gcal is a wonderful tool to have, especially if you know that you are going to be juggling several things during the school year. Since PLU has already provided you with a campus email address, you can use Gcal very easily through your Google email address provided by the school. I personally use it to schedule classes, work shifts, meetings with supervisors and professors, and sometimes even my time for relaxing! It's also convenient if you have a smartphone, because you can link your calendar to your smartphone so that it gives you notifications 40 minutes before you need to be somewhere.

5. Check your PLU email
Have you been having a little too much fun this summer? Maybe you haven't checked your PLU email for the last three months! It's important that you check your email before classes start, so that you are not missing important information before September 8th. Sometimes professors will contact you through your PLU email before classes start with some important things you may need to do for the class before you walk in for your first day.

6. Make sure you have access to Sakai and Banner
It's important that you confirm before the first day of classes that you have access to Sakai and Banner. Both of these will be necessary during the semester, so it's important to double-check that your accounts for these sites are working before you start class. Furthermore, your professor may also use Sakai to communicate with you. Many professors post important information or the syllabus for the class before classes start, so it's important to double-check and make sure you're prepared before you walk into that class.
 You also want to make sure that you have access to Banner. Make sure you have no holds on your account before the semester starts, and if you do take care of those right away so that you don't have to worry about those when you're busy writing papers or taking exams!
If you are having trouble accessing your account on these sites, make sure you contact the PLU Help Desk. They are located in the library, and are always willing to help you.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in a couple of weeks, and stay safe!