I have now officially been in school for 17 (never-ending) years, and over the years I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to stay positive and organized for a successful school year. These are some things that have worked for me, so I thought I would share them.
1. Keep A Planner
Whether it is a physical notebook or on a program like Google calendars, plan out your schedule! This includes your classes, meetings, assignments, office hours and anything else you might remind yourself to do. This tip is so simple, yet incredibly useful to staying on top of things.
2. Find Your Best Way to Take Notes
Your optimal form of note-taking may be on your computer, hand-written, jotting down everything or short-handed bullet points of the major topics.
3. Write Down Your Goals (And How To Achieve Them)
At the beginning of the semester it is crucial to make realistic goals for yourself, along with a plan of action. Once you have some attainable goals, go ahead and actually write them down somewhere (I recommend the notes section of your phone) so that you can check up on your progress and reward yourself!
4. Change Up How You Study
There are so many ways to study, including making flash cards, looking back at notes, watching videos and listening to lectures. Do not be afraid to try something new and find what works best for your preferred learning style.
5. Find Your Ideal Study Spot
It is important to not only spread out your studying over an extended period of time, but also to study in a location where you know you can focus.
6. Get A Study Buddy
For each class you have, try to find a study buddy or form a study group that can meet before every exam. Personally, I think that learning from other students can be immensely valuable.
7. Know Your Limits
This can be taken in a lot of different ways. But what I mean is know when you cannot do anymore, whether it’s mentally, physically or emotionally — know your limits. It’s good to push yourself to achieve your goals, but your health should always be your priority.
8. Get Involved
The beginning of the school year is a great time to get involved in new clubs and organizations and meet new people. Plus, this will make it so that not all of your focus is on academics 24/7.
9. Do Things That Make You Feel Productive
Some days will be off, and that’s okay. But I find it really helpful to remain “productive” even on the days I don’t have it in me. For me this means getting things done that I’ll probably have to do eventually, such as going to work, exercising or doing laundry.
10. Get In Tune With Your Emotions
Notice the relationship between your emotions and patterns of behavior. When we evaluate actions through our emotions, it makes it easier to predict and either embrace or change how we behave (if so desired).
11. Forgive Yourself
Know that we all make mistakes. We are only human, and the most beneficial thing we can do is learn from our experiences.
This one is pretty simple, but it’s really important to talk to your roommates, friends, family, and professors. I usually enjoy writing letters, Face Timing, or face-to-face communication, because they are more meaningful than texts and emails.
13. Say “Yes” More
Obviously stick to your morals and beliefs, but in general, try to say “yes” more. School provides us with so many opportunities, and you never know when you’ll be faced with something life-changing.
14. Don’t Take Anything Too Seriously
That exam, class, embarrassing moment or whatever it may be doesn’t matter as much as you think it does (at least in the long term).
15. Practice Gratitude
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, or what you want, enjoy the simple pleasures and joys that you do have. Every day is a gift, and no matter how much you have, you have something to be grateful for.