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With back to school season officially in full swing and most classes resuming in-person instruction, it’s important now more than ever to stay on track and motivated. It can be easy to fall behind in assignments, but these tips and tricks are sure to help you become the best student that you can be!

  1. Get an agenda or planner

Whether it’s on your phone or a physical notebook, having an agenda is key to keeping track of upcoming deadlines, important reminders, and on campus activities. The best part about agendas is that they’re so customizable! Adding stickers and color coding assignments is a great way to add some of your own personality while also staying organized. Planning your week in advance is sure to help you stay on track and reduce stress. I’ve used an agenda all throughout my academic career and I couldn’t imagine enduring a school year without one! 

  1. Handwrite your notes

As tempting as it can be to type your notes, studies suggest that the best way to retain information from lectures or textbooks is to hand write them. This forces you to take the extra time to write down all the information that’s provided. This also presents opportunities to go back through your notes and highlight or underline key terms and ideas.

Want to handwrite notes but still experience the convenience of typed notes? Don’t worry – I got you covered. I recommend the Rocketbook Notebook which can be purchased on Amazon! You simply take your notes using the pen and notebook, then scan them using the Rocketbook app to Google Drive, Dropbox, or your iCloud so that they can be accessed from anywhere. After scanning, simply take the provided cloth and erase the pen. I used mine all throughout freshman year and now it’s my favorite school supply! 

  1. Find new study locations and lounges

On campus there’s no shortage of lounges and space (both quiet and communal) to accomplish work. Escaping your room and placing yourself in a new setting subconsciously motivates you to work hard, especially when you are surrounded by other students doing the same. If the weather’s nice, head to a local park and get some reading done! New environments symbolize fresh starts, and that might be exactly what you need for this school year. 

  1. Take mental health breaks

When you feel like you’re drowning in work, it can sometimes be hard to take time to yourself. Mental health breaks, however, will ultimately enhance your overall academic performance. Every now and then, don’t be afraid to venture out on a walk and clear your head. Listen to a podcast or some calming music to put your mind back at ease, or grab a snack or coffee to boost your energy. Once you return, you’ll be sure to find that you are refocused and reenergized to complete any remaining work. Whether it’s for five minutes or for an hour, these breaks are necessary to staying healthy and happy during school. 

  1. Create a study playlist 

Who doesn’t love creating playlists? I find that for studying, classical music is the way to go, but any soundtrack or album that motivates you is encouraged. Lately, the Bridgerton (Covers from the Netflix Original Series)album has been my go-to, along with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. And, no, they won’t put you to sleep – in fact, it’s the opposite. I feel like a total smartypants whenever I’m listening to classical music (even if it is just a string quartet cover of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams”). Creating a playlist can make studying much more enjoyable and motivate you to sit down and grind out some work. 

  1. Watch YouTube videos while studying

I accidentally stumbled upon the “study community” of Youtube and it’s been a total game changer – I particularly love Study to Success, Merve, and Tan Yi. Lots of YouTubers will document their study sessions in real time so you can study right along with them! Sometimes, they’ll recommend tips of their own to stay on track and also set break times as a reminder to let yourself relax. 

These tips may not work for everyone, but hopefully they’ll help you tackle the 2021-2022 school year. At the end of the day, it’s all about what works best for you and your lifestyle! Happy studying! 

Originally from Cape Cod Massachusetts, Arianna is a sophomore at Pace University majoring in Communication Studies. Besides writing, she loves reading, hanging out with friends, and traveling!
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