August is here, guys! This is insane…
If I’m being totally honest, I’m ready to go back to school. Four months of summer is enough to drive me insane… I feel like I need to be back in the library with my face buried in a textbook. I already know that once the semester actually starts that I’ll be cursing my education every time I have to get out of bed (7AM… ouch.) but for now I’m just so excited to get everything organized for the upcoming year. Since we’re in the last month of summer, it’s time to start preparing for the inevitable… whether you’re a returning uni student or entering your first year, here are 5 ways to make sure that you start your year off on the right foot.
1. Choose your courses!
This one seems obvious, but it’s definitely something that gets me excited for a new semester. Choosing courses that interest you, and that are mandatory (ugh) can take some time, and a lot of thought. I like to make a lists, and lots of them, and this is the perfect opportunity to satisfy those habits. I start by writing down every course that I need as well as any other courses I’m interested in, and their times. This is so that I can make sure that I cover all of my required courses first, and with the electives I have left over, I can find some that fit nicely into my schedule. Once you have your first semester laid out, it’s easier to start planning for the next semester!
2. Go out and buy your supplies!
This is hands down my favourite part. Once I have my schedule set, I can start organizing the things I’ll need to get through the semester. Call me a nerd, but shopping for notebooks and highlighters is actually really, really fun. Here are the things that I need to start my semester off right:
- A planner: this stays in my bag 24/7 so that I can write down any due dates or important assignments, as well as office hours and other things I’ll probably forget
- Notebooks: one for every class. I always hand write my notes, I find that typing is easily distracting and I’m not as fast on the keyboard as I am on paper
- Pens: I need at least four different colours. BONUS if you can find one that has all of them built into one pen
- Highlighters. Lots of them.
- A calculator
- A ruler (even if its just a small one)
- A printer
- My laptop, duh.
- A pencil case
- Index cards and post-its
- A water bottle: gotta stay hydrated
- A travel mug: gotta stay caffeinated
- Charging cord/Portable charger: I have classes in a few buildings that are so old they don’t have accessible outlets, which means there’s a 150% chance my phone will die. Murphy’s law.
- An I.D holder: if your school is anything like mine, you’ll be using your student I.D for a lot of things. Instead of constantly having to fish through your bag to find your wallet and card, try to find a keychain that acts as an I.D holder so that you’ll always have it quickly at your disposal. BONUS if your school gives these to you for free (holla!)
3. Research your textbooks… but don’t buy them just yet!
Textbooks are easily the most stressful and expensive part of this process. My textbook experience has been an interesting one, so take my mistakes and learn from them! Step one is to find which textbooks you’ll need for your classes. This is typically based on the previous year(s) of the course. If they have used the same book over and over, you should be safe. Sometimes they make changes to the books every once in a while and that means that buying last year’s book isn’t an option, so be careful. Make a list of everything you think you’ll need and scour different Facebook groups or resale websites for used books. This is significantly cheaper than dropping $200+ on a brand new book. Bookmark these ads and wait until your first week of classes. Syllabus week is when the profs will tell you FOR SURE which books are being used in the course, and voila. You can officially start buying your textbooks. Find those deals, girl!
4. Fix your sleep schedule!
I haven’t gone to bed before 1:30AM at all this summer, and if I’m going to roll out of bed for an 8AM class, I better be well rested. August is the perfect time to get your sleep back in order. Start going to bed a little earlier and set an alarm to wake up before noon. Throughout the month, try to wake up a little earlier every day until you can get up and not hate yourself in the morning. If you’re still tired after that, you have all the time in the world to take naps after classes (or if you’re anything like me, you can always take a little 20 minute snooze in the lounge between classes). This is the task I have the hardest time with, and so this year I’ll be trying extra hard to wake up early to prep myself for what this semester has in store for me!
5. Plan your meals!
The freshman 15 is real, and it’s hard on your wallet. Even though I lived at home, I was at the University 23 hours a day, which meant that I was buying food on campus all the time. I ate mashed potatoes 3x a day because they were super cheap (and damn delicious), but this drained my bank account quickly and half the time, the food was mediocre at best. This year, I want to try something a little different; planning my meals ahead of time and pre-packaging them for grab-and-go days. Pinterest is always the way to go for these ideas, and my favourites idea so far is the “mason jar meals”. You can find a ton of recipes on my Munchies boards here. With this comes my resolution to hit the gym a lot more, but that’s a post for another day. Basically, by prepping my food for the week on Sunday, I’ll have something healthy and delicious with me at all times for a fraction of the cost! If I can save money on campus food, I’ll be able to use it for something else (like next semester’s tuition, yuck).
If you think of any other tips for smooth sailing into a new school year, leave them in the comments!