I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t need advice on a stress-free school year. I have all my notebooks, matching pens and pencil case, post its and baby stapler with little baby staples all ready for my first week of class. It’s all smooth sailing from here.” But I would be willing to bet that I will see you the night before your first exam in 3 weeks in the library frantically scribbling important topics on your post it notes with empty coffee cups and baby staples strewn about. In fact, I guarantee it.
So, please read this stress-free blog. If nothing else, you’ll know where to come back and post a comment to prove me wrong.
1) Set a routine. Staying up late was awesome in the summer but not so awesome now that you have 8 am class. Even though it’s the first week of school, you should start getting in a routine where you are getting plenty of sleep (7 – 9 hours, y’all). Your class schedule might be the main item set in stone but you should schedule yourself time for other things like homework, reading, exercise, and “you” time.
2) Organize. I moved in to my apartment on August 10th and half of my kitchen is still in boxes on my living room floor. Do you know how stressful it is to look for a to-go coffee mug in my living room at 7:30 am? My best advice to you (and to myself for this weekend) is to get organized. Even if you’re not the neatest person in the world, put all of your books in one place, all of your socks in another place, and all of your to-go coffee mugs in a completely separate and unrelated place.
3) Decide how to take notes. This got confusing for me when I came back to grad school and taking notes on a laptop in class became an option. But you know what I discovered about myself? Email and facebook are too distracting for me to effectively take notes on my computer. And, going back through each slide on a Power Point lecture without being able to view multiple slides worth of notes at the same time is very frustrating for me when I am trying to study. This school year, I’ve decided to print the slides and take notes by hand. Bonus: I remember things better when I write them down. Think about your own personal learning style and decide what is best for you.
4) Hit the delete button. A cluttered email inbox stresses me out, so I try to stay on top of it. The best way I’ve found to combat this is to make a hard fast decision about each email before moving on to the next one every time I sign in. I either reply, delete, or put it in a folder. Have a better idea for more efficient email organization? I’d love to hear it. Insert comment below!
It is much easier to make chaos out of order than to create order from chaos. Don’t make me say I told you so!