Summer is unfortunately coming to an end, and it is back to waking up early and hitting the books. That back-to-school feeling is something most of us dread. We’ll go back to studying for tests, cramming assignments, not sleeping, always feeling stressed, wishing for winter break to start. During the year we may feel extremely overwhelmed with school and other aspects of our lives. However, there are a few tips that can make this upcoming school year a little less dreadful. If you plan everything out right, school might be a little bit less exhausting.
Here are the top 10 tips to survive the upcoming school year.
1. Start on assignments early
Starting assignments early is one of the best things you can do. Not only will it relieve you from a lot of stress, but it also gives you more time for other responsibilities you have. Depending on the assignment’s due date, always make sure to plan out how you are going to do it and read it over the day of. Then, every day until the due date, plan out what part of the assignment you are going to do. Or if you just want to get it over with, do it in one day. But do not wait until the last minute. Waiting until the last minute makes you feel so rushed and you will rush through the assignment, making the quality of your work poor. By starting early, you can put your full and best effort into your assignment.
“My biggest pieces of advice to succeed in college would be to be effectively organize the workload and be mindful of time and deadlines. This may seem like a surface level thing, but it can be difficult. It’s very tempting to leave assignments until last minute but this not only creates an unnecessary amount of stress, but it hinders the quality of the assignment and possibly grade on the assignment itself,” Hunter College sophomore Chloe Russo said.
When you finish an assignment early, you will feel relieved and have one less thing to worry about. I know you would rather be doing something else, leading to procrastination, but if you just get that assignment done you will feel so much more relaxed. Leaving assignments for the last minute just gives you more stress and less time to perfect them. Also, if anything goes wrong, like your Wi-Fi is down, your computer dies or you have a last-minute emergency, you will feel relieved because you got those assignments done. As much as we procrastinate, getting those assignments done will give us a lot less stress. Also, make sure you plan out exactly how much time an assignment is going to take. Time management is extremely important.
2. Get some sunshine
When it is a beautiful day outside on your campus, or when you are home spend some time outside. Whether it be listening to music, doing some work or talking to friends, stay outside and enjoy the fresh air. Doing work outside or just being outside for sure will boost your mood. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and the nature. Being outside can also increase your productivity. I would rather do my homework outside rather than inside my room with plenty of distractions. Find an outdoor table on your campus or a bench and take advantage of the beauty of nature and sunshine.
3. Find a “you” spot on campus
A “you” spot is basically a spot on campus where you can relax, catch up on some work and just stay motivated and focused. Finding a designated you-spot can give you time to yourself or studying without any distractions. The question is: what spot is the perfect spot? Well firstly, find a spot where students are not usually around, where it is not to crowded and noisy. It could be by a tree, a room in a building, a bench outside or even that one table in the library.
“One piece of advice that helped me during school was to find a comfort place to be, whether it was for mental health or schoolwork itself,” SUNY Delhi sophomore Zander Mercado said. “My comfort place was sitting at the bottom of a tree with a nice view of the campus from a far distance. It helped me because it got me away from all distractions and gave me time to focus on myself.”
After you find your you-spot, go back to it every day when you just need time for yourself or when you have that big assignment or test that needs studying. Put on your earbuds, play some relaxing music, put your phone on do not disturb and just get that assignment done. When you are done, put on your favorite show or open a really good book and give time to yourself. Finding a certain spot on campus can lead you to stay motivated and limit any distractions. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed go to that spot and make it your very own comfort spot. Claim it.
4. Planners are your best friend
Before you go back to school, make sure you buy a planner. Your planner will be your best friend. Having a planner, or a notebook where you can jot notes will be a lifesaver during school. Or you can also use planner apps for your laptop or phone. In your planner, write down your class schedule as well as any extracurricular meets you have. Schedule assignment due dates, important meetings and important events. Prioritize assignments and set reminders.
If you are one of the college students that use their laptops for everything and if you have a MacBook, download the app “Stickies” on the Apple app store. It is basically a virtual customizable sticky note on your home screen where you can write down any important dates, due dates, important notes and reminders. Every time you open your computer you will be able to see it. Keeping track of everything all in one place will be helpful for you when it comes to school and your memory.
5. Have a well packed bag
Having a well packed back is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Make sure you have all your school essentials like notebooks, folders, planners and laptop. Also, it is extremely important to pack water and a few snacks in case you get hungry. You should as well pack things such as band aids, extra hair clips, a small makeup bag and any emergency go-to items. Also, make sure to pack a book for reading in your free time.
6. Limit distractions
Distractions are the number one things that keep us from getting our assignments completed fast. All of us struggle with distractions. They are all around us. When in school, the best place to limit distractions is to go to your school’s library and put your phone on do not disturb. However, when we are at home, some of us find doing assignments or studying distracting when we are in our rooms.
When I need to get an assignment done or study, I make sure that my phone is on do not disturb and I have some type of music or white noise playing in the background. Rain sounds or lo-fi beats usually help me stay focused. I also set a timer for 20 minutes. When that timer goes off, I’m able to have a 2-minute phone break. I make that break time increase every 20 minutes. This way I’m able to stay focused yet still have a break on my phone. This is one way that best helped me stay focused. Try it out, maybe it will help you too.
7. Make sure to take care of yourself
School can be extremely overwhelming at certain times. Our mental health should become a priority because it is extremely important to make sure we are okay. Always make sure to take care of yourself and limit any stressful factors. As college students, we undergo intense pressure by managing social life, personal life and academics. Mental health can also impact your performance in school. We may not be able to control everything that happens in our lives. What we can do is make sure we put ourselves at the top priority.
“Enjoying yourself and making sure you are mentally healthy creates a solid and necessary foundation to being a good student,” Russo said.
You can take care of yourself by staying hydrated, knowing when you need a break, getting your assignments done early, eating and having a self-care day. Take some time to do something you love as well like watching your favorite show or participating in your favorite hobby. The most important thing as well is to make sure you are getting a healthy amount of sleep at night. Having a good night’s rest makes us feel energized and more focused. Always make sure you are taking care of yourself.
8. Reflect on last school year
Reflecting on the last school year and seeing what worked and what didn’t work can be beneficial because you will know how to handle certain scenarios or situations this year. For example, maybe you reflect on the way you studied for a certain test. If studying for a test a certain way led you to have an okay grade, then you may realize studying a different way may be better. Or if you thought you can get an essay done in one day and it didn’t really work out, now you know you need more time.
The reflecting part comes in when you can realize how can you make this school year better. What worked and didn’t work for you last year? What do you think will work this year? Reflecting is important and identifies the effectiveness of our actions and skills in certain scenarios.
9. Make new friends
Making new friends will be extremely helpful throughout the school year. You should make a friend in every class. Having at least one friend in every class will be helpful when there is a time where you don’t understand an assignment or if you miss a class and need the notes. You can also form a study group. Having friends help you study makes studying more fun. Your friends can also quiz you. Not only will making new friends help you academically, but maybe you might have a long-lasting friendship. Being helpful, giving someone compliments and starting conversations about class are just some tips on how you can form some type of friendships.
10. Keep a balance
As college students, we have many responsibilities in our lives. Whether these responsibilities are school, social life, family life, work life, self-care, we need to keep a balance to alleviate stress in our everyday lives. The best way to keep a healthy balance is by scheduling, planning and keeping a routine. Plan out which days you will do assignments for each specific class. Leave time for prioritizing specific assignments. Focus on one subject at a time. Focusing on multiple may be harder to retain information, that’s why it is important to schedule out which classes you will work on that time of day.
You should also identify the time of day you are most productive. For example, I get the most work done in the mornings rather than at night. Consider that as it may be helpful to complete big assignments. Be sure to consider any gaps if you may have work on the days you go to school. Plan out which specific days you have work and schedule time to get any schoolwork done around it.
“I think it’s important to keep a balance because focusing on one aspect will cause stress and anxiety,” College of Staten Island junior Nicholas Tartaglione said. “If you can manage your time and not worry too much on one thing, then you won’t be stressed. For example, plan out which days you will go to your extracurriculars. Plan to study from a certain time in your day for a certain number of hours. Make your off days your time to work. Time management and sitting down and going over your schedule is very important.”
Focusing on one aspect may be stressful, as is balancing everything at once. This is why it is important to focus on classes and assignments during the weekdays and make time for free time on the weekends. If you complete all your assignments by the end of the week, you will have a lot of free time when it comes to the weekend. You will be able to focus on self-care, see your friends and do anything else you want. If you have work on the weekends, leave some time before or after work for yourself or your friends or family. Also, during the week leave a specific day or a specific time to also push in some time with your friends and self-care. Prioritize but not neglect. Still focus on those other things, plan and schedule everything else out. No balance may lead to stress and an overwhelming feeling.