Back to School 2013

Back to SchoolAs the summer wraps up, it’s time to start thinking about going back to school. I’m sure you want to put off the thought for as long as humanly possible, but it’s always good to get back into the school mindset a couple of days early. Today marks my last first day of school, and, as a senior in college, I’d thought I’d share some tips that have gotten me through the back to school season!

Stay organized: I may be the least organized person on the face of the earth — I operate under a level of highly disorganized chaos. However, I do have to admit that even small attempts to keep organized have helped keep me sane. If nothing else, a school year planner is a lifesaver. Seeing my assignments for all of my classes written out in the same place helps me keep track of when things are due and how soon I should begin preparing for them. The last thing you want to do is miss an assignment! Make sure to also write down your class schedule, after school activities and meetings in the planner. If you’re like me, you may arrive without a pencil, but at least you’ll make it to class with your homework finished.

Do things as soon as they’re assigned: There’s nothing worse than having to write a big paper the night before it’s due. This may seem obvious, but it seems like everyone’s guilty of big time procrastination. If you’ve got a big paper, try to work on it in little increments when it’s assigned—brainstorming, research, outlining, etc. Believe me, the sooner you start, the more fun you’ll be able to have closer to the due date. That text you need to send, that episode of “Portlandia,” that CD you’re waiting to download? They’ll all still be there when you’re done, or, better yet, can be motivation during breaks.

One thing at a time: There will be times when you get overwhelmed, though, whether it’s because things just happened to pile up that week or you left something for the last minute. There’s no use in beating yourself up at that point — a guilt trip will just take away from time better spent working on the task at hand. Just take things one assignment at a time and focus on one thing before moving to another. This may seem basic, but when I’m looking at a pile of readings and unwritten papers, breaking the heap down into smaller tasks helps me realize that nothing is impossible.

Weekends (the fun part): No matter what grade you’re in, I’m pretty positive you treasure your weekends. What with school, homework and after school activities, this is probably your only time to relax. The reason I bring weekends up, though, is that figuring out how to use them can be tricky. Are you the type of person who needs to go out with friends both Friday and Saturday night? Or do you need one night for yourself? Do you like to get all your homework done on Sundays or spread it out starting Friday night? Once you figure out what works for you, stick to a routine, unless, of course, something really important comes up, such as a Beyonce concert or the opening night for the new “Hunger Games” movie.

So, what do you think? What kind of organizational strategies do you use? Do you start assignments early or save them until the last minute? Are you excited to go back to school?