Whether you’re a freshman blinking into the sun that is your first year at university or you’re Super Senior-ing it up like me, we all need a little help getting back into the swing of student life. I personally have been struggling a tad through the beginning of this semester to really make the shift, and after awhile that really starts to stress you out. I decided that maybe writing a post about my tips for starting strong and setting yourself up for a good semester would remind me that I totally know how to do this, and would inspire me to get my shit together. So, from a super senior to you, here are some strategies I’ve put together over the last 4 years to help survive the semester with your sanity in tact!
Remember that Class is Just a Part of Your Life
I think a lot of students, myself included, tend to let school completely take over our lives during the semester. And frankly it is kind of hard not to; it is a pretty major time sucker. But this semester I am going to do the very best that I can to remember that school is just part of my life. Classes are just part of what I spend every day doing. It doesn’t mean I have to give up everything else I enjoy doing for 4 months (which, honestly, has been my usual strategy; yikes!) Going to class is part of every day, but it isn’t your whole day.
Schedule Time for Not School
Speaking of those other things you enjoy doing, you should make a point to schedule time to spend doing some of those things. I know homework is a thing and will probably take up a lot of time- believe me, I know- but you should still make it a priority to find time to do the things you love. Read for a half-hour before bed, play a game or two of Splatoon before you head to that 10am, watch the new Markiplier videos while you eat dinner, whatever it is that makes you happy and helps you relax, make it fit somewhere. You might not be able to do everything every day, but a little here and there is better than nothing, and will really help your mental health in the long run.
Buy Some Super Cute School Supplies
There is something about buying new school supplies at the beginning of the semester that feels so good. Someone on Tumblr described it as the illusion of productivity, which is probably fairly accurate. But let’s be real, if you have a super adorable planner aren’t you more likely to be happy about having something to write in it? Personally I am slowly but surely acquiring the entire Ban.do collection. All of their stuff just really speaks to me. AND THE PLANNER CAME WITH STICKERS, HELLO.
Read for Class in the Bath
This probably won’t appeal to everyone, but it is something I 1000% intend on trying out this semester. Buy some Epsom salts, light a fun candle, put some music on in the background, and charge through that 30 page article on the shift in courtship customs in twentieth century America (n0? just me?) This way I can read for class and relax a bit all at the same time. Whether or not this becomes a permanent weekend plan depends on whether or not I fall asleep the first time, which might very well happen.
Location, Location, Location
It is unavoidable that you will have to spend at least some time doing school work outside of class. That is an uncontrollable factor. What you can control, however, is where you spend all that homework time. If you spend 3-4 hours lying on your couch every day doing homework you will go mad. This is a super senior speaking from experience: don’t do it. Don’t mix productive and relaxing spaces. It makes you less productive and the spaces less relaxing. Instead, try to find a few places that inspire your productivity. I am fortunate to have a gorgeous library on my campus, but there are other options if your library happens to resemble a state prison like my campus’ old one did. Find a coffee shop downtown with wifi. Decorate the corner of your room that your desk is in so it is a place you want to work. Go to a local Barnes and Noble and work in their cafe. Try to find a few places so you can alternate if you’re not feeling one one day. It will make all the difference, I promise.
I hope some of my hard learned tips will be of use to you. If it is your first year in college I sincerely wish you the best of luck. You can totally do this; it is not as scary as you think! And to all my returners, here’s hoping that the students inside us come out of hibernation soon! If you have any tips for going back to school and/or surviving the semester please leave them in the comments!