There's endless amounts of back to school advice and usually the people giving it make it appear that they have everything figured out, but I've been going to school for 16 years and I still don't know it all! I mean, by now you think I would be an expert at studying and managing my time perfectly, but that is not always the case. This long journey is a learning process and even though I don't have it all figured out, I do have some advice! So here I am going to share with you my stories from past school years of what attributed to my successes and also the things that turned out to be absolute failures. Hopefully you can take some of my tips and apply it to your own life so you have an amazing school year full of A's and as little stress possible! We can hope, right?
1. Start Assignments Sooner than Later
This is a tip that is given over and over and isn't very original, but it is very important. I can't tell you how many times I've been like oh, I can finish it tomorrow, no big deal. And oh, has it backfired. Nothing is worse than finding out an assignment will take way longer than you originally thought, and it's due tomorrow. Doing your homework or essays in advanced will allow you to not feel rushed and be able to go back and make sure it's A quality. Plus, you don't want to say no to hanging out with friends because you waited until the last minute to do your homework! It sounds easy, but takes some practice. I'm still working on this myself and I can say the changes I made last semester had definitely reduced my stress.
2. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
If I don't get enough sleep, I am totally useless. I might as well skip entire day when I get 6 hours of sleep because I'm not able to concentrate as well or be productive. I also just feel negative and stressed when I do not get enough sleep, and that's no way to live my life! Sometimes going to bed at a reasonable time can be difficult when I want to text, go on the internet, read, ect. but all I have to think about it how awful I will feel in the morning if I don't go to bed now and that usually does the trick. Honestly, getting enough sleep can change your entire semester for the better, so what do you have to lose!
3. Study More than the Night Before
I'm going to be honest, this is something I struggle with A LOT. There were countless times last semester I would be up until 3 to 6 in the morning study for Physiological Psychology tests because I did not manage my time to study the days before. This is something I am going to really focus on this semester because tests are a huge part of final grades and I should really put more effort into them. And I need to actually get some sleep the night before so I have my best thinking cap on!
4. Secret Study Weapon: Textbook Notes+Flashcards=A
I have found the best way to learn the material for my classes is to read the textbook and take quality notes. I know what you're thinking, textbooks are so boring and I would rather just skim through it, be done with it, and just use class notes. Well here's the thing, it's scientifically proven that writing down what you are learning makes it more likely for you to remember it later. Yeah, you write down notes in class but it's more of just copying them whereas with a textbook you really think about the material and write the information down in a way that makes sense to you. Flashcards have also never steered me wrong. Writing them alone helps me learn the terms and going through them multiple times helps me remember any vocab. One thing I do suggest is if you can study with a partner, that is best. I learn so much better when doing flashcards with a friend because they help me make up quirky ways to remember the terms. I would study for Physio with my boyfriend and he would make up phrases to help me remember the meaning and when I got to the test I would remember those phrases and it was a life saver!
5. Make Some Time for Yourself
Believe me, I know how hard it is to have some "you" time when school is in session. Last semester I felt like all I did was go to class, go to work, and do homework, which is not healthy. You are not going to do your best in school if you don't have any down time, so make sure to have some fun too! Go shopping with your friends for a couple hours, grab coffee with your boyfriend or girlfriend, go dancing, whatever makes you happy! And no, I'm not saying to put off work because you don't want to deal with it and avoid it. Manage your time to have to best of both worlds! Something that I am doing this semester is making sure I get my work done by 8PM so I can relax for a few hours before bed whether that includes watching TV, reading a book, or surfing the internet. You work hard, you deserve a break at night!
6. Be Healthy
This is something that is so tough at college. It seems like there's never enough time so grabbing pizza or chips is easier than getting a healthier option, but in reality junk food is not going to fuel you to help you, it's going to hurt you. Crashing from sugar, feeling bloated, and weighed down is not going to make you your best self for school. I'm not saying cut out all junk food, lord knows I can't do that, but making some healthier food options can help you feel great and ready to take on your challenges for the day. That also means eating breakfast is important, even if it's just a smoothie. Also, I know I feel way better about myself if I am active. This doesn't mean you have to go lift weights everyday. For example, you could take a walk around campus as the sun sets, practice some yoga, or play some tennis; whatever works for you, those are just my favorite options. Being healthy will help you be your best self for school and do your best!
7. Be Positive
I can't tell you how many times last semester I would be sobbing the night before a test to my boyfriend saying I'm going to fail a test and basically fail college. I know it's dramatic, but when you've been up since the crack of dawn and have a test early the next day, everything is the end of the world. In those times, he helped me be positive and lift my spirits so even though he's away at college this semester I am going to focus on being positive and having confidence in myself. It's proven that believing you will do well on a test is correlated with a higher grade, so believe in yourself! You have nothing to lose! Something that helps me stay positive in general is keeping a journal and writing down everything in the day that made me happy and things I am grateful for. It doesn't take long and it allows me to go to bed with piece of mind.
8. Makes Connections with your Professors or Teachers
Getting to know your teachers will definitely help you in the long run. In the future when you need recommendation letters for college, grad school, or scholarships, you'll have someone to go to who will help you in any way they can. All it takes it stopping by their office a couple times, asking a question so they can separate you from the countless students they teach. They also have been through schooling before and know tons about your major so they are great for advice about career paths and grad school!
9. Get Cute School Supplies
This may sound silly, but having school supplies that I like make school better! Even if it's as simple as getting your notebook in a color that you like, buying a pencil case with your favorite cartoon character, or making sure you are stocked up on your favorite pens, it can make a bad day a little bit better. I personally love my purple BIC Atlantis pens! They make writing boring notes more fun; it's the little things sometimes.
10. Take Chances
I am not one to really take chances, I do not like the risk and prefer to know exactly what will happen in my life, but this will get me no where. Last semester I debated whether I wanted to apply to be a tutor, many times I said to myself no, you will never get the job. But one day I left that negativity at the door and said what the heck, what do I have to lose? I do well in my classes, enjoy school, and would love to help other students so I decided to apply. Guess what? I got the job! I was shocked at first, but realized I need to have more confidence in myself and go for my dreams whatever they may be. Even though rejection sucks, the chance of a positive outcome outweighs the risk. So whatever you might be afraid of: switching your major to something you really want to do but you're nervous about, trying out for a musical, applying for a new job, or going for a scholarship, push out the negativity and have confidence in yourself! Take chances, because they can truly pay off.
Hopefully this has helped you get some ideas for this semester! Have some tips of your own? Leave them in a comment below! And I hope you have an amazing school year!