The Ultimate Back to School Guide for College Students: Part I

The Ultimate Back to School Guide for College Students: Part I was originally published on Vault.

Getting back into the swing of school life can be challenging after a long summer of beach days, pool days, late nights with friends, or even just your summer job. With summer coming to its inevitable end, we thought it would be the right time to share some tips on how to make your transition back to study mode as seamless as possible. Let’s begin.

Study Each Syllabus

Each course you sign up for has its own syllabus, which provides important details about the course itself, as well as the professor’s guidelines for attendance, homework and deadlines. Be sure to take note of the differences from syllabus to syllabus, and create a “cheat sheet” of sorts so you can easily reference each course if you ever find yourself in doubt. Knowing each professor’s preferences will ensure that you’re always operating within their own unique guidelines, and will have a positive impact on your academic success.

Have a Strategy

Now that we’re being mindful of our various course requirements and our professors’ quirks and preferences, we can begin to formulate a plan. Start by creating a calendar, whether it’s a physical calendar or a virtual one, and then add deadlines, social events, breaks, or any other dates that you deem to be important enough to jot down. Keep in mind that dates can change, so always remember to update your calendar if a deadline is extended or an event is rescheduled.

If you want to get really wild with your awesome new calendar, you can use color coded text to differentiate between various types of dates. This is especially helpful since once you memorize your color-coded system, you can easily determine what type of date is coming up next just by taking a quick glance at your calendar. Plus, it’s super cool to take a quick look at your calendar whenever someone asks you what you’re doing on Friday. Very official.

Upgrade Your Study Habits

Everyone studies differently. Be mindful about your past studying habits; where you like to study, when you like to study, and your method of study. Ask yourself what works for you, and what doesn’t. if you’ve had bad experiences studying at the local coffee shop (cliché, I know), maybe try the library this time around. If you’ve found yourself studying late into the night and losing sleep because of it, try altering your schedule to accommodate for earlier studying.

You can also experiment with different methods of study. Of course, the tried and true “read the textbook” works for most, but flash-cards, self-quizzing, or studying with a friend might help you get more out of it. A fun exercise is to get a study friend and create quizzes for each other, that way you can’t as easily anticipate the questions. This will make you think about the information in different ways, increasing your overall understanding of the subject at hand.

Take Care of Your Health

All your hard work and good intentions can be easily undone if you’ve got a poor sleep schedule or a less than healthy diet. Coming off of summer vacation, it can be difficult to get back into good habits if you haven’t been maintaining them. It would be wise to start getting back on track before school starts, that way you’re not battling yourself for sleep or to stay awake every day. Set your alarm each night, and do your best to get to sleep at a reasonable time.

Packing your lunch is a great way to be consistent with a healthy diet, and it will also save you money in the long run. Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water will keep your mind and body in tip-top shape, which will have a positive effect on your studies. If you exercise, find ways to keep your workouts in your schedule when you return to school. If you don’t exercise, now is a great time to start. Regular exercise will boost your mood and give you more energy, which will make your busy schedule far easier to manage.

It’s very important to think ahead and stay organized. The less time you spend scrambling to remember what’s due or how to find time to squeeze in homework or studying, the more time and energy you’ll have to effectively study and put together high-quality assignments. We’ve got a bunch more helpful tips coming your way, so keep your internet machine dialed in for part two!