Going back to school is both fun and crippling. All your free time is spent stressing about school, or trying your best to forget the fact that you normally are stressing about school. Preparing for the lifestyle change of going back to school can usually help you manage time more efficiently and overall have a better experience. So students, have a seat and welcome to Going Back To School 101.
Chapter 1: Friends
Let’s start with the stuff you are most excited for. Your friends will be waiting there for you with open arms. Sure some of them you saw over the summer. But let’s be honest here. There are plenty of class friends (we usually don’t hang out after school but I still appreciate your presence) that you are excited to see and chat about summer with. The first day will most likely be filled with stories and retellings of vacation with family or that time you met a cute boy while you were down the shore. Enjoy all of that, because once you step into class it’ll be back to business.
Chapter 2: Class
Now the least favorite; sitting in class. All you want to do is hang out with your friends. Maybe the first day class seems to go by relatively quickly, however the classes may begin to get longer and slower as the week goes on. Have no fear, this is part of the adjustment of getting back to school. The important thing to know is as you get older, there is less and less syllabus time. No longer will you have a whole class dedicated to ice breakers and syllabus reading. It’s more so going over the syllabus, no questions, and then learning. Sometimes on the first day it’s even supplemental so you don’t even need it for a test. It’s just to prep you for the rest of the course. My advice: try to go into all your classes assuming that you will have to work and take notes and you won’t even have time to socialize because your brain will be too overwhelmed trying to take in all the information. That way it seems better than you originally thought and it’s easier to stay focused.
Chapter 3: Time Management
I could be like many other blogs and show you a picture of a beautifully organized, color coded agenda and tell you that this is the key to time management. However, that would be a lie. If the highly organized agenda does help you, than by all means go for it. However, I am a firm believer that no one way of organizing that works for everybody. Here’s a couple options to keep track of what you have to get done and when.
- Agenda/Planner (as noted above)
- Calendar for the wall (could be white board or just a dollar store calendar)
- To do lists (these always helped me, however they made my roommate more stressed out)
- An app (there are agenda apps. I recommend Opus One Lite for apple users, and My Study Life for all users)
- A notebook/journal (maybe a bullet journal of sorts)
In the end, it’s whatever works for your style of life. The important thing is to know when deadlines are and make sure you still have a social life. If you manage your time wisely, you should be able to still hang out with friends (even if it is a study date).
Here’s some homework, read this for some great tips: http://www.straighterline.com/blog/8-time-management-tips-adult-college-students/
Chapter 4: Get Involved
You’ve gotten past your first week. You have your friends, you’ve started class, and you have your agenda so you can at least feel like your life is together. Now it’s time to start getting involved. Don’t give me the old But I just don’t have time with all this homework. I was a forensic science student, was in two clubs, and still found time to be the Founding President of a sorority. If I, in my chaotic and disheveled lifestyle and mannerisims, can do all that, you can surely try to join a club. So what are your hobbies? What are some things that bring you joy? What’s something you never saw yourself doing? Go to a meeting for a club about it. *cough cough actively participating in the club is the best don’t just go to the first meeting then never go back cough cough*
But Ashley why do I have to join a club in the first place? I have friends, free time and I like my life. Here’s why student: Clubs make you part of a community of people, and you will gain benefits from a community that you would gain nowhere else. Think of it like this, society consists of groups inside of groups. I was born and raised in NJ so I am part of the Jersey community. Then I went to CT for school, so I became a part of the community that went away to school. Then I went to UNH, so that’s another community. I joined a club, another community. I joined Greek Life, another community. And so on. Now I have all these people that I can relate with and who have things in common with me. Anyone I ever meet that went/goes to UNH I automatically have a bond with because we went to the same school.
The more communities you are a part of, the more people you have. The more people you have, the more you want to make a difference in your community and help others. You will find your own benefits for sure, but the long and short of it is that you will become a part of something bigger than you.
This concludes the Basics of what is important to keep in mind when going back to school. I hope this puts you in the mindset you need to be in to tackle this year. Remember that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and we make choices everyday that dictate what kind of person we want to be. So, what do you want to be this year?