As summer comes to an end and school supplies fly off the store shelves, it’s easy to miss the freedom of summer and instantly dread the time-consuming and stressful life of high school and college students. With school starting back up, it’s the perfect time to share some tips to help you successfully navigate the year.
Find a rhythm that works for you.
Some people enjoy getting up early and getting the bulk of their work done in the morning while others prefer studying into the late hours of the night. Experiment with your schedule and determine when you are most productive, if and when you can fit in a workout, and what type of structure works best.
Pack snacks and water/a water bottle.
Busy days go so much smoother when you can keep your energy up! It isn’t always easy to make time for a full meal with a school schedule, but it’s important to still get some nourishment. However, consideration is key. Don’t let your food/eating distract others or yourself from the task at hand. It’s class time, not meal time. (It’s a desk, not a dining table—and some classrooms don’t even have desks!)
It’s also always important to stay hydrated. It’s best to carry a reusable water bottle so you can easily refill it wherever and whenever. Plus, it’s much cheaper than buying any drink from a vending machine or a store.
Take time for yourself no matter how busy your schedule gets. Even carving out just 30 minutes to read a book in between classes or after school can make a long day seem brighter. It’s also really important to give yourself time away from your schoolwork and other responsibilities; not only will it leave you feeling refreshed for whatever you need to do, but it’s important for your mental health.
Be smart with your time.
Breaks are necessary. If parties are your thing, enjoy them. If you like sporting events, go to them and cheer for your school. But don’t go overboard, meaning you also shouldn’t study for too long without breaks. Balance your time with responsibilities and fun.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help—with anything.
There are so many resources out there that so few students take advantage of.
If you have questions or concerns about your classes and their subject matter, your professors/instructors/teaching assistants have office hours that you should use. They can clarify class material, answer questions about upcoming exams, and more. If you have trouble with papers, check to see if your school has resources for writing. If you are struggling to figure out a class schedule or want help developing a plan for the upcoming years, make an appointment with your academic advisor. If you are struggling with your mental health, colleges have counseling centers available for use.
Take care of yourself.
Last but not least, prioritize your own self-care. Nothing is more important than your health! That means if you need sleep, then you need to sleep. Sometimes you can get away with a few hours of sleep or even no sleep, but don’t make that a habit. Sometimes you need sleep more than you need extra hours of cramming for a test.
Dress in a way that makes you feel most prepared for your day.
Comfort is key. For some people, that includes dressing up and looking nice for a presentation, internship, et cetera. For others, it is wearing sweats and hunkering down in the library for a long day of studying.
Connect with your teachers/instructors/professors/advisors.
Even just taking the time to introduce yourself can go a long way, and it also lets you stand out among their other students—which is particularly helpful if you go to a big school/have large classes. Some of your instructors have been in the exact position you want to be in and could offer you some insight. If you’re lucky, you could find a mentor whom you can rely on and could help you grow into the professional you aspire to be.
Get involved somehow.
Whether it’s extra-curriculars affiliated with your school, a job or internship, volunteering, or other non-school activity, it is so helpful and valuable to do something other than school. It also acts as a good break from school and give you something to do socially and/or professionally. You could learn a new skill, develop a new interest, or just meet new people.
Inquire about whatever interests you.
College offers so many opportunities—both socially and professionally. In terms of a career, you can find a lot of organizations, people, and positions in which you can learn. If you find an organization that intrigues you or encounter a person whose job interests you, learn more. See what that organization is about. Email that person to ask about his/her job and maybe even if you could shadow him/her. You could make a new connection or get experience you never knew you could have.