Originally Posted: Aug 28, 2017
Last Updated: Aug 3, 2020
With school starting up again, it can be very difficult to get back into good study, sleep, and other student habits. In order to stay on top of school, work, and clubs, it’s important to be organized with a routine. Here are a few tips to help you get back into the swing of things and keep up with the craziness of a new school year.
Get into a decent sleep schedule. Good sleep is crucial to academic success (and good health!). Start getting into a routine at least few days before the first day of school, and get to bed eight hours before you need to get up in the morning. Set an alarm and try your best not to hit the snooze button. This will ensure a full night’s rest and help you to get out of the inconsistent sleep schedule that summer can bring. If you need to go the extra mile to ensure a restful snooze, try these tips:
- Use a sleep mask. This will ensure the sun doesn't wake you before you're ready.
- Try a sound machine. White noise can lull anyone off to a peaceful sleep. No budget for a new gadget? Try downloading the free app Sound Sleeper on your phone!
- Change your napping routine. Though naps can be healthy, if you take a nap too late in the day, it could affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Try to put your schedule into your planner. Write out what you have going on in the day, be it homework assignments, extracurriculars, or work. If you have your agenda on your phone, set reminders on your phone a day in advance to stay on top of things. This is vital, especially if you are involved in a bunch of different activities. Managing your time can feel overwhelming, but having everything written down and well planned will help you out tremendously.
Starting the year with good note taking can really help you get your feet off the ground. One thing that can help is redoing your notes when you get home. At school, take notes in your classes in order to get down all of the information. Then, when you get home, rewrite your notes to make them organized and to help you process all the information. You should also make your notes fit your learning style. If you are more visual, add drawings (or print out images!). For those who learn better through audio, record your notes on your phone.
No matter what, make them interesting! It'd be useless to put all of this effort in if you're going to fall asleep five minutes into your study session. Add color to your notes, or make an incentive to use them. For example, “If I review these notes for at least 15 minutes a day all week, I can watch a movie with my friends.” Little goals like this will make it much easier to get through your notes and homework assignments.
One of the hardest things about beginning a new school year is getting back into studying, especially if the information is not immediately useful. If your study habits are not the best, then there will be no benefiting from it. There’s a reason why cramming the night before a test doesn’t work! But there are some ways to make it more bearable. You can study with friends (as long as you have the clear intention of reviewing). If you all get together and goof around for an hour, then all you've done is waste time. But working with people makes it easier to go over the information, because there's someone to hold you accountable. In addition, you could find a way to link the material to a hobby. If you like music, make a melody out of an important phrase. Or if you like baking, you can build a recipe around a certain topic.
Lastly, do not procrastinate. This may seem very simple, but everybody faces a myriad of distractions every day. It is all too easy to get swept away in the busyness of today, but it is vital to not let your studies be pushed under the rug. Think about it this way: if Netflix is asking if you are still there, it's probably time to hit the books.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful in kicking off a new school year and starting off on the right foot! Looking for other student advice? Find study tips and more in our Majors and Academics section.