Getting Back to College

So, it’s your first week back in college. You had gotten so comfortable over break that you almost forgot the year wasn’t over. Maybe you were so busy that you were dreading coming back to a just as exhausting semester. Perhaps you were bored out of your mind the entire break and couldn’t wait to come back. Or maybe this is your first semester! Whatever it is, you’re here now with nowhere to go. How are you going to get back into the college life state of mind?

The first thing you have to figure out are your classes. When I first got to college, I was a little unprepared to have all of my classes seemingly scattered randomly throughout the day. You need to realize how much time you have between your classes and what you can accomplish in that time. For some classes, you have time to grab lunch. For others, you won’t even have time to go back to your room. Be careful about managing your time, and think about if you will have time for lunch between classes or if you should bring something with you.

The next thing to consider is a college student’s worst enemy: sleep. After getting back from break, you’ll have either a very messed up sleep schedule (or possibly none at all). It will be very easy to establish one that will work for you and your classes as you start the semester. Try to aim for getting up around the same time everyday, as that will make it easier to keep a schedule.

The start of a semester is also a great time to try a new organizational system. Maybe try using a calendar or a planner. Try using a whiteboard to write down your homework or important deadlines so you can see them everyday. Something that I developed last semester which worked for me was Post-It Notes. For each assignment I had, I wrote it down on a color-coded Post-It Note and stuck it to the wall next to my bed. Each time I finished something, I tore down the sticky note and felt accomplished.

Another thing you might be dealing with at the start of the semester is homesickness. There are a few things you can do for this. One is to bring some pictures. Maybe you just want to print a picture off your phone and tape it up to the wall. Maybe you want to get a real photograph and put it in a frame or photo album. Another idea is to bring what I call a feel-good movie (or a few) with you from home. Watch it on your own or with a friend, when you’re feeling lonely, homesick or just sad. One more thing that I did this semester was bring some books from home. A few of them are from my childhood, books I read in elementary and middle school, and the rest are books I have yet to read. Even just seeing them sitting on the shelf brings me a strange sense of calm.

There are lots of things that go into being prepared for a semester at college. Even if this isn’t your first semester, even if you think you have everything figured out, you may realize that there are some things that can make your life easier. Chat with your friends and see how they get themselves ready for the semester. Maybe you can find some more tips or new ideas that work for you too.