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Back-to-School To-Do List

Summer always seems to be one of the fastest seasons. I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was August. There are weddings to attend, friends to catch up with, internships to finish, moves to make, back-to-school shopping to do, and a million other things to accomplish before classes start on August 25. Here’s a list of all the things you should remember to do before school resumes.

Two Weeks Out:

1.  Make any final appointments.

If you need to go to the doctor’s, visit the dentist for a teeth cleaning, get any prescriptions refilled you should work on that sooner than later. Sometimes it can take a little while to get an appointment so I like to get all my eye exams and trips to the dentist done before I head back to the Bend. A new haircut always gets me ready to see all my favorite people at Notre Dame.

2.  Make a list of things you need to buy and things you need to pack.

You don’t need to start packing quite yet, but it’s good to start thinking about it. Any time I move anywhere I purge my wardrobe of anything that is too small, worn out, stained, ripped, or that I genuinely don’t wear. I jot down a few new wardrobe essentials, and a couple of gotta-haves before I go to the mall. I also always make a huge list for Target, ranging from new sheets and shoe racks, to cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, and Kleenex.

3.  Start researching and ordering course materials.

At some point I inevitably have an “Oh no, I still haven’t ordered my books” moment. This is your friendly reminder to start checking book lists. More than half my classes already have the books listed, so I started comparison shopping book prices on Amazon and at the bookstore. Three of my books were cheaper at the bookstore, so I ordered them for free store pickup. Remember that used books can take longer to arrive since you can’t always buy them all through Prime. If you don’t have Prime, sign up for a free trial here. I decided to pay for it last year, best investment ever!

4.  Make plans with your hometown besties.

The end of summer will get away from you if you let it. Be sure to make plans to see all of your high school friends, your neighbors, grandparents, and even schedule some time for family stuff. Your parents are helping make Notre Dame possible, be sure to show them some love.

One Week Out:

5.  Shop and pack.

It’s crunch time. Time to get new shoes, some staple wardrobe pieces and maybe even that Target run. The Super Target in South Bend is amazing, but since I drive back to school, I like to try to get the best deals. I keep an eye on weekly ads, sales and coupons and only save big items for South Bend. I try to get all my clothing shopping done at home, since I like the mall better. Try not to leave packing for the night before you go back to school. Save yourself the stress and avoid accidentally forgetting anything.

6.  Finalize travel plans for the fall.

You should figure out roughly when you’re leaving to go back to school. It’s also a good time to check what, if any, games your parents are coming to in the fall, how you’re getting home for fall break and/or Thanksgiving and any other travel that may involve flights. Thinking ahead can save you time and money!

7.  Re-watch Rudy.

So you don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s one of my favorite back-to-school rituals. I usually watch it 2-3 days before I leave. I bounce when I see campus and I can’t help but feel excited and grateful that I go to my dream school. To anyone who is still holding out on watching Rudy, you’re missing out!

8.  Say goodbye to everyone. 

No matter how meticulously I plan, I always feel like everyone wants to see me right before I leave. I try to space out my friends as well as I can, while leaving time to do family dinners and see my grandma. I also like to convince at least one of my friends to come for a football weekend. My bestie has left for grad school already, but I always like to spend my last night at home with her, just marveling at how far we’ve come since we first met freshman year of high school.

Zero Weeks Out:

9.  Actually pack and load the car.

You probably will procrastinate packing until the last minute, despite your best intentions. I’m guilty of it, too. Just make sure you’re all set to pack the car the night before you leave as much as possible. It will make your departure much smoother.

10.  Arrive at your home under the dome.

Whether you come by car, air, bus, train, or some assortment of transportation methods, travel safely and get ready for the rush of joy that will accompany your first glimpse of your home under the dome. Mary’s sparkling head is just visible as you come around the curve getting off the Toll Road. I like to play the Rudy Soundtrack as I arrive. And if I happen to take a detour down Notre Dame Avenue to admire campus before I head to my apartment, I have no regrets.

We’ll be back sooner than you think! Enjoy the end of summer. Notre Dame is waiting to welcome you home. 

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Maria Fahs

Notre Dame

Maria is finishing her Masters in English at Notre Dame. She has read many good books and several bad books, but she usually tries not to finish those. Her current favorites are: 1984, The Book Thief, The Tragedy Paper, Code Name Verity, Dr. Copernicus, I Am the Messenger, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and of course, Harry Potter. She is writing her second thesis on Harry Potter, exploring notions of authorship and reader agency in the digital age. She even managed to write her Capstone on British Children's Literature and designed her own Directed Readings Course on Notre Dame history during undergrad. Her favorite way to read is with a mug of tea and scented candles. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she can be found binging on the BBC (Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin [RIP]). Her favorite color is purple, she studied abroad in London, and she enjoys being an amateur painter. She harbors a not-so-secret dream of one day writing a children's book, but until then, she is likely to be found reading them and writing letters whenever she gets a chance. She hopes to teach English or work in a university sharing her love of education.
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