It is officially September and school is here. The thought of a new semester starting actually makes me want to throw up. Where did the summer go, people?!
Okay, before we start getting all dramatic, we must think positively about the school year that lies ahead of us and think about the success we want to achieve. Everyone’s idea of success is different. Maybe you want to make the dean’s list, or find the right balance between your social life and your studies, or become more involved on campus. Whatever it is that you want to strive to accomplish this school year, having a positive attitude and trying to remain as stress free as possible will help achieve success.
I know it’s easier said than done to keep the stress levels low when you’re running around like a chicken with no head and have so much to do in so little time. I’m the queen of getting overwhelmed and stressed easily. It’s a really bad trait and I’m constantly searching for ways to keep my nerves at ease. As it’s definitely a process to stay focused and remain positive during the school year, here are a few tips that hopefully help when you need some motivation during that 8 a.m. history class.
1. Plan ahead!
If you’re procrastinator Polly, stop that nonsense right now. I know for some people, doing things last minute works and is do-able, but realistically it only causes an immense amount of stress on us, plus it causes dark circles and bags under our eyes. Whether it is planning your outfit for class the night before or investing in a planner to jot down assignments and important dates/events/deadlines, planning ahead will make your life 10x easier, I promise. Plan and make your breakfast the night before as well. It will save you so much time and aggravation in the morning. Between getting dressed and making a balanced breakfast that will last me through my three-hour lecture, I know I’m running around breaking a sweat in the morning. Having my breakfast already made is one less thing I have to worry about and allows me to get out the door quicker to make it to class on time, which is one less thing to be stressed over.
2. Dress for success
Look presentable. I know freshman year of college, we tried our hardest to look cute in our little outfits and hair freshly done because we were in college and wanted to look our best. So just because you may be in your junior or senior year, doesn’t mean the same rules can’t apply. Don’t get stuck in the rut of wearing sweats to class even though that’s all we ant to wear when it’s early and we just want to be comfy. Throw on a pair of leggings, an oversized sweater, a little makeup and hair in a cute (neat) bun and you’ll look and feel a million times better. Think about how you to want to carry and present yourself to people this school year.
3. Don’t hold things in
I learned this the hard way my junior year of college. It was my fall semester and I had so much on my plate, I was constantly stressed and overwhelmed and didn’t know how to handle all the pressure at times. I finally broke down in tears and poured my heart out to one of my good friends that works on the school paper with me. I needed advice on how to handle it all (she was a year older) and no one would know better than someone who has walked my shoes. She calmed me down and comforted me by telling me it was okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed and to just have a good cry sometimes. After that long talk and a tissue box later, I picked myself up and persevered forward knowing it was normal how I was feeling.
4. Sleep, sleep and more sleep!
I know this is probably an obvious one but sleep is so important when trying to keep the stress levels down. It seems pretty impossible sometimes to hit the sack early when we have that paper due by midnight or we get off of work late, but the way you try to plan and organize your schedule to find time for exercise, studying and work…if you do that well enough, you will have time to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Getting to bed early and knowing when to put the books (and phone) away to get some shuteye is one of my goals for this semester too. Better rest = better performance!
5. Do something fun everyday!
If all you have on your to-do list is “eat, sleep, school, repeat” everyday of the semester, you’re going to burn out real fast! Actually, spending too much time studying without seeing daylight or taking a mental break, will end up hurting your school performance in the long run. As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard,” you need to know when it’s time to crack down on the books and when your brain has just had enough. Grab coffee with a friend or put on some tunes and go for a run. Whatever is it, do something fun so you don’t dread the everyday rut of school and studying.
As my fellow twenty-somethings who are still in school embark on a new semester, follow these tips for a successful, stress-free school year. Work hard, have fun and give it your all! Good luck!