Four Tips for Preparing for Back to School

Waking up earlier in the morning also allows me to take a breather by taking a walk in the neighborhood to clear my mind and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Before we know it, summer’s days have already started to dwindle.  Students from all over the world are getting ready for back-to-school season in a week.  Sometimes it’s tough to be “excited” about going back to school.  The loss of freedom, the return to a chaotic daily routine and learning in a fast-paced environment can all cause anxiety to some extent.  What are some things to help AU students do to make the most out of their last few days and transition seamlessly into the Fall semester?

Start a morning schedule

This may seem very self-explanatory, however, it is much easier said than done.  I’ve always been a night owl and sleeping early was a crime, especially in the summer when daylight hours are so long.  Whether it was walking in the ravine or going for late night happy hour, it was always best done in the summer.  However, sometimes the transition to school can be so abrupt that our circadian rhythm gets confused.  The best way for this transition is to wake up a few minutes earlier every morning and trigger yourself to feel tired a few minutes earlier each night.  If this is difficult to achieve, setting an alarm helps.

My idea of a good breakfast – an egg omelet with chopped cilantro and tomatoes

Make a healthy breakfast

Speaking of waking up early, this also means more time to prepare for the day.  Even if school is a week away, starting to prepare a healthy and filling breakfast can set the tone for a great day.  Whether you’re learning online or in person, this is a good way to make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for the day.

Make a checklist

Even if your courses are online, it is still key to start organizing your semester.  For me, I made an Excel spreadsheet that tracks my different courses and the items I needed for them.  This may be technological purchases such as a router or a new mouse, but also could be textbooks, a bus pass, or other purchases.  Getting prepared early will save you a headache down the road and make you feel empowered to ace the course.

Set goals

While mental goals are a good starting point, there is nothing quite like writing your goals down in a notebook or journal.  For myself, writing down the goals made me feel motivated and committed to meeting them.  I make my goals and write them down in a particular way.  You may have heard of SMART goals as a way of defining parameters and holding ourselves accountable.  SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.  This is used to describe goals such that it eliminates guesswork and ambiguity.  It sounds something like this, “My goal is to attain A in at least 3 courses I am taking that are core courses before December 31st, 2022.”  See how it sounds clearer than just saying I want A’s?

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