Did anyone else start back to school today? Whether as high schooler, college student, or educator, the return from winter break can be rough. The weather is cold and bleak, holidays are over, and the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and put on “real clothes”. I don’t know about you, but I remember a time of easing back into things after a long break from school when I was younger and that just simply does not seem to exist anymore. I have three classes this semester, back to back to back, in the same room! And to kick things off, I have a test in one of my classes next week. Oh, graduate school. Anyway, as a seasoned student who is prone to stress, I thought I might share some of my tips to help you get through whatever this semester may bring. Here are my top 4 tips to success:
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP! I am sure you have all been told this before, but it is soooo important. People ought to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night consistently in order to function at their best capacity. It is better to put down the flashcards, get some rest, and then wake up a little earlier to review before your exam. Staying up until 2 am trying to memorize information is only going to make you more exhausted which can further hinder your test performance. Just be sure to review your study material right before your normal bedtime before an exam and then allow your body and mind to have a break.
Incorporate a special treat ya’self moment into your weekly routine. Last semester, I had clinic for the first time which was terrifying and often stressful. However, on one of the two days a week we had this, my dear friend and I would go get Diet Cokes beforehand to put us in a good mood. It seems simple and silly, but it really worked! Whether you need something to help boost your spirits before a dreaded class or a way to reward yourself at the end of each school week, don’t be afraid to treat ya’self a little. This can give you something positive to hold onto during your busy and often overwhelming weeks!
Stay organized! With the beginning of a new winter/spring semester comes the beginning of a new year which means a new planner. Take your time to find one you really love that has all of the amenities you need to properly lay out your schedule. Some planners are fairly simple while others have add-ons that involve weekly menus and grocery lists, etc. Mine has weekly to-do lists along with a weekly gratitude that I fill-in myself. I especially love that because it forces me to reflect and write down either a scripture or something for which I am particularly grateful. Then, throughout my overly busy week, when I open my planner I am reminded of a reason to be thankful. Don’t stop with the perfect planner! Get yourself great pens. I love lots of color. I have found it (dare I say) fun to color-coordinate my events and assignments throughout the weeks. Staying organized in this way can help your mind stay organize and therefore lead to better performance in class, forgetting less frequently, and lowering your stress level.
Don’t loose sight of who you are. Yes, you are a student. Yes, that is very important. No, it’s not everything. You may also be an employee, a wife, a father, a daughter, an athlete, a health-food enthusiast, a wine-conasour, an avid reader…whatever it is, there are many other shirts you wear. Just because school has begun again, does not mean you have to fold up those shirts and put them in a bottom drawer, not to be touched again until the next break. This may seem overdramatic, but I have been there which means someone else has too. I become so engrossed in my schooling that I forget to pick up the book I am reading or I stop my volunteer work. Before I know it, I feel as if I have lost myself. This semester, I have made a conscious decision in which I am even having my husband hold me accountable, to continue to make time for the things I love even when in the thick of my schooling. You will become miserable without the things or people you love still being integrated into your life!
I hope these tips help you as much as they help me! They aren’t alway easy to implement and some are more difficult than others; however, I challenge you to pick at least one of these tips to start living by these next few weeks and see how your days improve. Comment below if any other tips have helped you succeed in school and get through the tougher days!