Four Tips for Preparing for the New Semester

It’s back to class time. Whether you are distance-learning or on campus, getting back into a routine  this year could be a painful struggle … or a rewarding effort. Let’s focus on making it painless …

1. Organise and Arrange

Set your computer up for success. Find a calming or motivating screensaver. Bookmark your favourite webpages. Get linked with an online calendar. Download  a Get Up and Go Monthly Diary, Webapp or Wall Planner.

Clean out those desktops and folders – digital and actual. Delete! Delete! Delete whatever is not needed: temporary files and PDFs, apps, you know what you don’t need. And that goes for your actual desk and files, too. Throw stuff out and sanitise your desk and computer.

Now organise what’s left and needed into folders, labelled and easy to access. Consider using OneDrive so that all your files and work are available wherever you are, on any device.

If you find this is a struggle, find one of your organised, tech savvy friends to help you. We can’t all be good at everything. Do something nice for them in return!

2. To-Do-To-Be-lists.

To-do lists are great.  Get into the habit of having short lists of 3-5 items, that need to be done now or soon, and tick them off when they’re done!! A long list of ‘Done’s is great to look back on.

Then list your long term goals. Put these on a To-Be-List. Who do you want to be when you have achieved these goals? An Olympian? An airline pilot? A bestselling author? A famous musician? A successful business woman? A happy family man? 

There is nothing wrong with aspiring to be a be a better or different version of ourselves in the future, so how do we go about achieving this? With baby steps. List the qualities you admire in others and practice being that way – just for a day to start, even an hour! Kind, confident, brave, generous, fun, inspirational, creative, fit, happy  …  It’s your list – you write it your way. The secret is to discover how to ‘be it’ and see how it feels, and then apply it in different situations throughout the day. You will find it becomes easier with practice.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed with studies and workload, remember to put yourself first.  Schedule your ‘me-time’. Leave your desk and exercise, go for a walk, meditate, read a book outside, or get together with friends. This will make it easier to be more productive when you are back at your desk. Remember to bring your ‘to be’ list with you!

3. Sleep

Decide on a regular time to go to bed and stick to it. Set your alarm for 8 hours so that your brain gets enough time to process all the stuff your doing / learning in the day. This goes hand in hand with ‘to-be’ qualities since you can’t be cheerful and confident if you’re tired and cranky. Healthy mind, healthy body.  Both need rest. Come off all screens 45 minutes before your intended sleep time. Best to leave them outside your bedroom.

4. Prepare for your Return

If you’re traveling back to college, have podcasts or playlists ready for the trip. If you’re a passenger, enjoy the view.

For distance learning, have your resources prepared and ready, and that includes all the study material bought and/or downloaded.

Plan to connect with friends and family regularly, by phone or in person. College can be stressful. If it’s your first time in a new environment, with new people, you can feel isolated and alone. Just because your fellow students look confident and happy, doesn’t mean they are! The best vitamin for making friends is B1. Reach out. Be willing to go first. You can never have enough friends.

College is fun. It’s a great opportunity to learn. Get interested in everything. Join clubs. Find out what you like, and get good at it. Rowing, debating, chess, acting .… it’s not all about study and exams. It’s not all about partying either. A little bit of everything goes a long way. Go easy on the alcohol!!!

Adapt this to best fit you and your life. What works for one will not work for another and you know how you will benefit best from these tips.

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