Jumping back into classes after a break can be a long, tough adjustment. Even if you were occupied with a job, internship or other responsibilities during the summer months, few tasks require the sustained and concentrated focus that college classes often demand of us. Switching over into a new frame of mind can be a rocky transition, so I thought I’d share five tips that have helped me escape from a rut at the start of a new semester.
- Listen to yourself
Pay close attention to your habits and inclinations. Are you a morning or a night person? When do you feel most tired, most energetic? Do you fall asleep every time you try to do homework in bed? As tempting as it might be to stick to whatever habits are the most convenient and comfortable, make sure to take advantage of the spaces––and the time of day––that you know will optimize your productivity.
- Don’t cram
If I’m given an assignment that feels incredibly overwhelming, I sometimes write it off until I have absolutely no choice but to begin working on it. This inevitably leads to late nights, dark circles and bad academic habits. One of the easiest ways to combat this is to set self-imposed deadlines over intervals of time, so that you aren’t in over your head the night before the assignment is due. Devote a little bit of time to it each day, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how an assignment that previously seemed insurmountable is actually fairly manageable––as long as you allocate your time properly!
- Talk out your stress
Feeling overwhelmed is awful, but feeling overwhelmed and keeping it to yourself is even worse. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends about any difficulties you may be having while getting back into the swing of academics–– chances are, they’re feeling the same way. Sometimes, simply knowing you aren’t alone can help alleviate the pressure you’re feeling. Human connection can do wonders when it comes to soothing worries!
- Reframe your thinking
We’ve all had nights where we want to quit writing the never-ending essay, slam our laptops closed, and throw in the towel. However, whenever I’m feeling especially discouraged, I stop for a moment and try to redirect my thinking. I compile somewhat of a gratitude list in my head, reminding myself of how lucky I am to have a support system and to be receiving a quality education. If the back-to-school transition is making you feel defeated, try to summon positive thoughts. You’ll quickly realize how much there is to be grateful for, and it’ll put your difficult night into a broader perspective that allows you to move forward.