By the time the end of summer rolls around, feelings of excitement and nerves about the upcoming year are inevitable. This year you might be feeling more nerves than excitement, though. And that’s totally understandable. With this semester looking completely different than any semester ever before, trying to prepare for school is going to be quite the feat. That’s why we’ve created a list of the 10 things you must do. Here are the 10 best ways to prepare for school this year.
1. Get used to zoom.
Sorry, but you’re going to have to hop on another Zoom call. For those of you who don’t have any experience using Zoom, try and figure it out before the first day of school. Otherwise you might just be the person who forgets to turn their microphone off in the middle of lecture, allowing the entire class to hear your brother yelling in the background.
2. Buy a planner.
With the crazy new schedules and limited in-person classes, personal time management is going to be harder and more crucial than ever before. To prepare your school schedule, get a planner to keep track of everything- assignments, meetings, other virtual events.
3. Create a schedule for yourself.
That new planner of yours might come in really handy when creating a schedule for yourself to prepare for school this year. If you have online classes without live lectures, or classes you can do “on your own time”, create a schedule as to when to do it. Decide if Monday is your day to finish all math work for the week or if Wednesday is the day to finish all of your writing work. Create a (relatively) firm schedule that you’ll follow and stick to it. That way you won’t be tempted to push off your homework until the very last minute every single week.
4. Buy the normal supplies.
While you don’t have to go all out with school supplies this year (it really doesn’t matter if you buy a 2” or ½” binder), grabbing the crucial supplies before the year will help you prepare for school-mode. Making sure you have a few notebooks and some ready-to-use pens and pencils. Anything to normalize this upcoming year will help you shift into a school-year mindset.
5. Find a comfortable workplace.
Whether you’ll be working from your home or on a campus, find a place that will yield productivity. From a coffee shop to your bedroom desk to the school library, make sure wherever you are going to study and work is comfortable and, most of all, safe.
6. Regulate your sleep schedule.
If this time of isolation and quarantine hasn’t totally messed up your sleep schedule you’re probably in the minority. So as the school year rolls around, that is the first thing that must be fixed. Without a proper sleep schedule, nothing about your days will be able to remain productive. So set up a nice night routine for yourself at a decent hour, and set an alarm each morning at a time that gives you plenty of the day to stay productive. Basically, if you’re not matching Marilyn Monroe’s bath aesthetic every. Single. Night., you’re doing it wrong.
7. Email your advisors, profs, ta’s beforehand.
As many of us enter classes without in-person lectures or meetings, it’s going to feel really hard to get to know the professors and other administrators. Make an effort to create a relationship beforehand. This will help you prepare for school in a variety of ways- it will get you used to conversing with teachers and professors again, it will help you understand the type of professor they are (because each one is so different), and it will allow you to ask questions and get clarification before the semester starts and it’s too chaotic to figure each and every detail out for your classes.
8. Friend your online classmates on social media.
Especially a tip for college freshmen; this semester might be a tough one to get involved in your school. Since there are going to be far less social gatherings and ways to meet new people, it’s important that you be proactive about it. If there’s someone in your online classes that you get along well with or think you might, reach out on social media. A follow and a comment on a photo goes a long way.
9. Read one more book for fun (or finish the one you’re on).
When it gets too far into the semester, it’s virtually impossible to have time for your own pleasure reading. So take the last few weeks you have of summer and finish that book you started. That way when it is time to prepare for school, you can totally focus on that. Plus, you’ll be happy to have another book under your belt- the things you’ve read on your own can be so helpful in college classes, writing assignments and discussions.
10. Save money, then use it to fuel your productivity.
Since you might not (and by might not I mean definitely not) need a back-to-school wardrobe, save it for things that will make you feel productive during the week (we’ll need all the help we can get). If taking an hour each morning to go grab a coffee helps you get ready for the day, you’ll want some extra cash to do so. If your days are jam packed with classes, that nice lunch break at your fav salad place will help far more than you can imagine. So take the money you might normally have spent on clothes, extra supplies or dorm accessories, and prepare for school in another way. Save it and use it to fuel your productivity in whatever way will most help you.
This year is going to be one for the books- seriously, imagine how many students taking history class 50 years from now will learn about the pandemic of 2020! While it’s definitely not ideal to have classes online, have campus closed down, and so much uncertainty about the upcoming year. But the key is to normalize this time as much as humanly possible and get yourself in the headspace needed to stay productive with your school work. So try your best to prepare for school in any way you can, but don’t forget to cut yourself a little slack if you’re feeling off or anxious about how to do so. These 10 tips just might help you stay productive and prepare for school in a totally new way this time around.