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Five Tips To Help You Get Back Into The School Routine

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at New School chapter.

School is back in session, and for many, it can feel like a huge adjustment. Whether you were traveling, working, volunteering, or simply relaxing by the pool all summer, jumping back into the many responsibilities of a school routine can be overwhelming. Here are five tips to help you feel relaxed, prepared and ready to take on your semester. 

#1 Plan out your semester…not your life

Although purchasing a planner or putting reminders on your phone can feel like a waste of time, they work. Unless you have superpowers, it is nearly impossible to remember the 100s of things you need to do before lunchtime, and that is if you actually remember to eat something in the first place. Many students like to buy an official planner, color code it and keep it organized. Others like to write their to-do lists on a new piece of paper or post-it each day and then discard them when everything listed is done. If you prefer things digitally, it can be helpful to download a planner app, such as  “Planner Pro,” which can be used across all devices. It helps you to create assignments, plan ahead and separate them into various categories. It might take a minute or two more out of your day to write down what you need to do, but the weight will be lifted from your shoulders when you can look down at your to-do list and see exactly what things need to get done that day. Besides the organizational advantages of using one of these methods, there is a very satisfying component to checking off all of your tasks when each one is completed. 

#2 Pack your bag so that you can be out the door in 3…2…1 

In 2022, college students use a wide variety of bags for school, and those might differ depending upon the classes taken as well. Backpacks, tote bags, shopping bags, cross-body bags and others encompass the vast array of options. Packing your bag the night before class removes one added stress that each day holds. If you are in a rush to get out the door, or you are one of those people who switch bags right before you leave, there is a possibility that you will forget something, a very high probability. Do not leave that up to chance. If for some reason, you are unable to pack your bag the night before, which is often due to the need to charge a device, or because a painting or piece of artwork is not yet dry, it can be helpful to try to place your necessary belongings in one area of your dorm or apartment. This way, everything is in one place, and you can quickly grab it and be reminded of what you need that day. 

#3 Clean your closet, the freeing experience 

For many, the annual closet clean-out is a must. It can feel overwhelming, staring at pounds of fabric and tons of hangers every day, making it even harder to pick out your clothes. Cleaning out your closet can feel refreshing and relaxed. When you have not reorganized or sorted through your clothing in a while, your old favorite top that you used to wear could have slipped to the back, causing you to forget you even have it. Going through your clothes does not always mean purging, but it can if that is what you need. There are always better options for organizing. You can go through your clothes to find more efficient ways to organize, get rid of things you do not want to wear anymore, find clothes that have been pushed to the back or even make room for new items. Another option is giving your clothes another life after they leave your closet by donating or selling them to places such as Housing Works, Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill. Carving out a few hours in your day for reorganization can lead to immense gratification.

#4 Plan out your meals, your brain needs fuel 

Cooking for yourself, which most college students have to do, can save you a lot of money. Planning a grocery list prior to going food shopping can make it a more efficient grocery shopping experience and help you be prepared for your weekly meals. Barnes and Noble sells a “what to eat” pad that separates weekdays, breakfast, lunch and dinner. This helps you to organize the ingredients and dishes you will make for the week so you know exactly what to buy. You can also create lists on the notes app on your phone and check things off as you put them into your cart while in the store. Planning out what you will eat helps save money, prevents you from wandering around the grocery store trying to figure out what to buy, and keeps your brain and body happy. Remember, grocery shopping when you are starving will ultimately make you buy much more than you need. 

#5 Make time for yourself, your friends and for fun things so this year won’t burn you out

Students hear this at every college orientation session and during many first-year classes. Although your classes and homework are extremely important, making time for yourself outside work is essential. Whether you hang out with your friends, go on a date with your partner, take a relaxing bath or simply lay on your couch and binge-watch your favorite tv shows, these are just a few of the many ways you can spend your time. It can feel overwhelming juggling college, a job and all of your other responsibilities, but carving out a few hours at least once a week will help you feel calmer and help to prevent the inevitable burnout that most experience. Other things you can do include exercising, reading that book you keep looking at on your shelf, taking a walk, going out for dinner, or anything else that might just be what makes you smile. It can be extremely challenging to put your assignments aside or pause those things on your to-do list, but freeing your mind for a few hours allows you to really enjoy that time to the fullest. 

Follow these five tips in whatever way makes sense for you to feel more organized, less stressed and avoid burnout. Good luck this year. 

Alexandra Nava-Baltimore is a Dual Degree BA/BFA student at The New School. She is receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography at Parsons School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. Alexandra currently works for Mélange Magazines as a Journalist and Photographer for their three international magazines. Check out her freelance photography business @byalnb on Instagram. She is an avid traveler and uses her travel to incorporate her passion for volunteering and service. Some of her volunteer trips have been in Costa Rica, The Navajo Nation, Zimbabwe, Africa and most recently, Ecuador.