Career & Education
13 Ways to Prepare for the School Year This Summer
It’s that time of year again—time to prepare for the upcoming school year. Summer always goes by way too fast, and Summer 2016 is certainly no exception. Before we know it, we will be back to the academic grind. This might be a bit overwhelming to think about, but if you get ahead of the stress and do some work this summer, the beginning of your school year will go much smoother.
Since I’m about to be a senior in college, I’d like to think all of my experience puts me in a position to dish out some advice on how to get ready for the upcoming school year. I try my best to be an overachiever, so whenever I have the chance to get ahead start on schoolwork, I take it. The final month or so of summer is the perfect time to do that! If you want to crush it this school year, keep reading!
1. Get All Your School Supplies
Purchasing all your school supplies—pens, pencils, notebooks, and folders—is an easy way to start preparing for the school year. All these items will be on major sales right now, so stock up!
If you’re headed to college for the first time, buying school supplies is a much bigger task. You have to buy dorm room supplies too, including bedding, storage bins, and so much more. We recently published an article all about how to decorate your dorm room shopping, so head over there to learn more about finding the perfect products.
2. Research Your Classes
Obviously, preparing for your classes is the biggest part of getting ready for the school year. Academic success begins with knowing what your professors’ expectations will be. Do your research by reading (and rereading) the course description for each of your classes so you know exactly what they will be about. Also, if possible, familiarize yourself with the reading lists for each class. If the lists aren’t available through your school’s bookstore, you can email your professor to ask for it. Read synopses of all the books and learn about the authors. You will learn a lot about the class just from the reading you’ll have to do. Knowing ahead of time what you’ll be getting into will set the stage for a successful term.
3. Look Over Your Class Schedule
There’s nothing worse than waking up the first day of classes only to realize you have no idea where you need to go or when you need to be there. Looking at your class schedule ahead of time means you can avoid this jolt of panic. For the first week of classes, write out your schedule in your planner (including the time and place for each class) so you don’t forget. Map your route through the night before, especially if you have back-to-back classes, so you aren’t late.
Another benefit of studying your class schedule ahead of time is that it allows you to plan your other activities. You can figure out when you will have time to study and when you’ll have extra time to relax. It will also allow you to know when you have a break for lunch; which, depending on your schedule, can be more difficult than you might thing.
4. Continue to Read Over the Summer
Don’t let your brain completely turn to mush over these summer months! Keep it active by reading books. If you’re in college, this is especially important because most college students—regardless of major—do a ton of reading. If you stay in the habit of reading every day, it will be easier to complete all those long readings for your classes once the school year starts back up.
5. Readjust Your Sleep Schedule
If you’re the kind of person who tends to stay up until 3am and sleeps until noon during the summer, you need to readjust your sleep schedule before the school year starts. There’s nothing worse than not being able to fall asleep at a decent hour the night before your 9am class. Don’t let that happen to you! You know you’ll become sleep deprived eventually as the school year goes on, but do yourself a favor by starting out well rested.
6. Get Some R&R
Prioritize “me time” before the school year begins—because once it does, it will be much more difficult to find that time for yourself. Go to the spa or sun tan in your backyard. Walk through the park. Watch lots of Netflix. Treating yourself before you go back to school will make you feel refreshed and relaxed at the beginning of the year. Although the stress might creep in soon, at least you’ll start out in a great mindset!
7. Make a Packing List
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a fan of lists. Lists are the best way to get organized and stay on top of things. Packing for college can definitely be an overwhelming process, but if you make a list of everything you need to take with you, that will simplify things.
8. Save Up Some Money
If you have a summer job, make sure you don’t spend all of your hard-earned money before you get back to school. If you’re a full-time student, chances are you aren’t also working 40 hours a week. (And if you are, I’m incredibly impressed!) This means you won’t be making as much money each month during the school year as you do during the summer. So set aside as much of your earnings as you can manage—you’ll thank yourself in the future.
9. Buy Yourself a New Outfit
Yes, I know that I just said you should save money, but feeling beautiful and confident on that first day of the school year is also important! If it’s financially possible for you, save up a bit of money and buy yourself a new outfit to wear on the first day of classes.
10. Practice Time Management
If you maintain just the right amount of structure in your summer days, going back to the rigid structure of school days will be a little easier. Practice time management by giving yourself a to-do list in the morning or at the beginning of each week with the intent to actually finish everything. This will force you to budget the time in your day or week well, just like you’ll have to do during the school year.
11. Complete All Your Summer Goals
You don’t want to go back to school feeling as though you did nothing all summer. Even though summer is for rest and relaxation, you don’t want to feel like a lazy bum! A great opportunity to practice time management is by completing all your summer goals. It will also allow you to have a satisfying answer to the question, “What did you do this summer?” that everyone will be asking.
12. Reflect and Revise
Think back to this past school year. What went well? What are you proud of? What do you wish you could have done better? Reflecting on your successes and shortcomings will help you revise your plan of action for the upcoming year. Think of this like your New School Year Resolutions. It’s how you’re going to continue to better yourself as a person and as a student!
13. Have Fun Before the School Year Begins
Let loose and enjoy the rest of your summer! Although you don’t want to completely lose all the good habits you build up during the school year, summer is a time to have fun. You should allow yourself more time to hang out with friends and family, go to concerts, visit museums, and travel.
No one wants to start the school year off stressed and underprepared. If you can manage to do even a few of the things off this list, you will be more prepared to start the school year off right. The biggest thing is to plan ahead—as long as you don’t wait until the last second to prepare for the school year, you will have things under control.