I used to love going back to school every September. Showing off a sleek tan, seeing who’s gained weight and who got hot, and just catching up with friends after months of no contact. That first week before school starts is the best. Party after party, no homework- it’s almost as if Spring Break
came to you.
But the days before this partying bliss are usually spent thinking, “I’m going to do it right this year. I’m going to get my books early, be organized, and stay on top from day one.” And that’s a nice little thought that seems to come and go. But what if you actually stuck to this resolution this year? The longer you wait, the harder it gets. I have gone a few weeks without the necessary books and it always adds up to more work.
Top 10 back to school resolutions
1. Buy books on time
It’s so easy to look at the never-ending line wrapped around the bookstore and decide to come back later. But by the time the line subsides, you’re already a few weeks into the semester and behind on your work. Check to see if your professors have posted the syllabus online before school even starts and get ahead start at the bookstore, or take advantage of my favorite retailer, half.com.
2. File papers as soon as you get them
I think back to my college days when just three-hole-punching handouts was too much for me to handle, and I just cringe. By mid-semester, I had papers all over the place, never knowing exactly where anything was. In grad school I did it right and was organized from day one, and I can’t tell you how much easier that made my life come exam time.
3. Create a master calendar
Ah, the lost art of planning ahead. Putting together a calendar of every assignment that is due for every class for the whole semester is the best way to strategize your time. Post it in your room so you can see it every day. Term papers always sneak up out of nowhere, so having a visual reminder will help you plan accordingly.
4. Make friends with classmates
If you don’t know anyone in your class, look for someone else flying solo and make a friendly introduction. For one thing, having a friend in class always makes it more fun, and for another, classmates are great for studying with, doing projects with, or taking notes for you if you find yourself sick.
5. Go to office hours
Professors love it when students come to their office hours with questions, because it means they were listening, care about the class, and interested in learning- all things which are remembered when grades are decided.
6. Keep up with reading
It’s inevitable- the one time you skip a chapter, the professor will call on you.
7. Don’t skip class unless you really are sick
This is a tough one to stick to, but try this exercise- take your tuition and divide it by how many classes you are taking that semester. Then divide that number by how many weeks are in that semester, then by how many days of one particular class you have each week. That’s how much you are paying for each class, so think about that number every time you skip.
8. Take at least one class you really like
It doesn’t matter if it’s pottery, baton twirling, or intro to Yiddish. Having a class you look forward to will provide you with the energy boost you need to get through the classes you don’t like but have to take.
9. Do your best and don’t get mad about the grade you receive and set realistic expectations
Not everyone is meant to be a math wizard. If you don’t do well, don’t sweat it. Chances are whichever career you choose, you won’t have to be a wiz at math, science, history, writing, and economics all at the same time.
10. Type notes after class
You will thank yourself profusely when mid-terms and finals come. Trust me.