Back to School: Stay on Top of It

We all dread the day that our break is over and we have to return to school to endure the challenges of new classes, not to mention the frigid temperatures and snowy weather. While we may be excited to see friends and make new memories, it can be very hard to get back into the swing of things after our extended leave. However, here are some tips to make sure the transition from vacation back to college life is as smooth as possible.


Establish a Routine/Consistency in Your Days


Having a routine, especially in college, is so important for establishing consistency in your days and making sure you are the most productive version of yourself. In trying to balance classes, clubs, jobs, and sports, college kids can tend to spread themselves too thin. However, by starting the new semester with a set routine, your once hectic schedule will become just that more stress-free, even if you just plan a time to go to the gym each day or find a productive place to study to return to whenever you go to the library. Study schedules that work in intervals and focus on repetition of notes in particular have proven beneficial to the average college student considering that repetition is the best way to strengthen your brain’s ability to recall information stored in your memory. A good routine does not require that your entire day is planned down to the second, but requires that you stop and think about how you can make your time worthwhile so that none of your obligations get left out.


Keep a planner


This kind of goes along with a good routine, but can be a separate way to have a more organized life. Keeping things organized is key to being a successful student, worker, or even friend, so academic planners are a must. Academic planners have become a quite popular way of keeping track of school events, exams, and assignments, but I think having something to keep track of yourself is just as important. Over the break and for the new year, I started a bullet journal and it changed my life and the way I go about my day. It is a place to keep track of my moods, habits, goals, accomplishments, and memories. At the end of each day, in both my academic planner and bullet journal, I reflect on the hours past and begin to plan my next day based on the accomplishments of the one prior.


Eat Every Meal


Yes, breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Without sufficient nutrients, we lack the ability to devote our full concentration to our activities. Even just a banana or protein bar before your morning class will help you to avoid the morning slumps. As for the rest of the day, there is no way to make it all day without eating and still have enough energy to have a productive day. I always recommend that if you’re on a time crunch, oatmeal, yogurt, or fruit in your dorm is always a go to. BUT, you should always make time to nourish your body and give it what it needs to thrive. This will leave you with enough energy to deal with (almost) everything your professors throw at you in the new year.


Wake Up Early For Class


I know that no one wants to here this, but waking up more than 30 minutes before class opens the doors to a stress-free morning and more productive class time. The brain works best when you’re fully awake. I wake up about an hour and a half before class begins and this may be way too early for some people, but I find that by the time I get to class, I have broken out of that groggy state of mind and I am 100% ready for class. Waking up early gives you time to complete a morning routine that will have you feeling fresh and eat a breakfast that will leave you satisfied. If your class is in the late morning, you can even get up to go to the gym before class. Going to the gym in particular can refresh your mind in the best possible way by releasing endorphins and making you feel ready for the day. However, I know this is not for everyone, but from my personal experience, waking up early enough to take time to myself before classes has proved so beneficial to my mood, work ethic, and productivity.


Take Time for Yourself


Here is the section everyone looks for. Yes, it is absolutely okay to take time for yourself to destress from your everyday schedule. Do a facemask, watch a movie, or have a game night with friends! Taking care of yourself is something that is necessary to maintain and positive and productive mindset, especially in college, a place where we are surrounded with people just as stressed as we are. It is said that students who take time to experience college while also balancing academics report overall greater happiness than those who spend all of their time studying. So, it is okay to leave some time for your friends and get off the “reserve” as my friends call campus.