Every year when the start of the school year rolls around, thousands of new college students around the country share the same emotions. Excitement…for sure, anxiety…maybe, confusion…just a little! So if you’re riding an emotional rollercoaster at the start of the new school year, you’re not alone.
The great thing about beginning a college course or starting a new program is that it’s a fresh start. That’s why it’s important to get off to a good start, but how do you do that?
Here are a few things you should do (and a few things you definitely shouldn’t) to set yourself up for success at school this year.
Prioritize & Commit – This is the first day of the rest of your life. Make sure to prioritize your school work. Commit to the program entirely so you don’t fall behind…it can be hard to catch up if you fall behind.
Set Goals – Set aside time each Sunday to plan your goals for the week ahead. Set yourself specific goals that are measurable, realistic and achievable. Don’t just set time aside to ‘study’, be specific.
Get Organized – When you set those weekly goals, organize your week in advance. Don’t fill every hour…leave some flexibility in your schedule because life just gets in the way sometimes!
Take Charge – Don’t put off a big project because it seems too intimidating. It won’t disappear on its own! Take action and tackle it in bite size pieces. Before long the ‘800 pound gorilla’ will be manageable and you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you can check it off your list!
Focus – If you’ve scheduled time for study, don’t be afraid to turn down distractions. Take a rain check on those plans or make sure to schedule study time when you know you won’t be bothered. That text can probably wait a few minutes!
Consolidate – To-do lists can be daunting. Consolidate lists into one place, either on paper or your phone or tablet. Having one list to work from is easier than checking off things in a bunch of different places.
Take Care of Yourself! – Take time to eat well, exercise and rest. A good dose of all three will improve your concentration, put you in a better frame of mind and boost your energy levels!
Reward Yourself – Spent a day working hard? Reward yourself and do something fun that night. Play with the kids, meet friends for dinner or just give your brain a rest! Planned rewards help you stay motivated to complete your tasks.
Take Success for Granted – Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work for it. You have to put the hard work in, it won’t come on its own. So work hard and you’ll see the rewards.
Do “Just Enough” – Some people get through high school by doing just enough to graduate. In college, you need to really commit, because doing “just enough” probably won’t help you in the long run.
Sit in Silence – If you have a question in class or in a lab, don’t just sit there. Speak up. There’s probably somebody else thinking the same thing, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question…so ask away!
Quit – The first days, weeks or months will be hard. Don’t give up. When it gets tough, remember why you went to school. Lean on your family, friends and teachers. Talk it out. Stick with it…it’ll be worth it.