School is always an exciting time of year, as it means you’ll get to break open new supplies and start from a clean slate. You have a semester full of fun classes ahead of you, and whether you’re in high school or college, you’re setting yourself up for life beyond academia. If you know how to best take care of yourself in school, those organizational skills and the responsibility you learned will carry you through the rest of your life. Start the year strong, and your future self will be grateful for it.
1. Set Up Your Desk
You shouldn’t have to settle for doing your work anywhere there’s space. Having a desk dedicated to your work is like an oasis, as it’ll make it easier for you to balance your computer, notebooks, writing utensils, timers and more as you work on homework or indulge in a studying session. Your designated workspace should be free of distractions so you can work to the best of your ability without spending all night rereading the same paragraphs or working on one task.
2. Declutter Your Computer
You may have decluttered your room or apartment, but when was the last time you decluttered your digital objects? Your computer and phone deserve to be as clean as your physical surroundings. You can run through a checklist to clean your phone. Find accounts you haven’t used in a while or apps you’ve linked to your social media and disable them. Remove any apps you don’t use. Your phone will have more storage for things that matter to you, like messages with your loved ones or photos from fun trips.
The best way to organize your files might be to put them in specific folders with a project name and date, but you’ll find your favorite way to organize files through trial and error. Get rid of old files you don’t need or want from previous semesters and customize your desktop to your needs. A customized desktop should include shortcuts you use regularly and not much else so it isn’t as confusing.
3. Pick Your Outfit the Night Before
Looking stylish is one of the most fun parts of school. Whether you’re a trendsetter or just wear what’s comfortable, you know that having an outfit that looks and feels good to you is an essential part of your daily life. Try picking your outfits the night before to save time in the morning.
If you’re more of a night owl, you may find you can spare a few extra minutes to put an outfit together. When it’s hard to wake up in the morning, you don’t always want to spend time picking out your clothes — especially if you’re running late. Laying your outfit out the night before can save you from having a more hectic morning.
4. Plan Your Meals
If you haven’t started eating balanced meals yet, this semester is your sign to start taking care of yourself. Learning how to cook and make basic meals is essential for adulthood, and when you’re living on your own, you’ll notice it’s more affordable to cook your meals rather than get takeout or eat at restaurants all the time.
Plus, planning your meals ensures you get the proper nutrients — which snacks and other processed foods can’t always give you. When you make your meals, you can take them to school to eat for lunch so you can be healthy at any time of day. If you are a student athlete from a top 10 lacrosse college, observing proper nutrition is critical for your growth and performance.
5. Challenge Yourself
If you’re still in high school and plan to attend college, this year is the best time to start preparing to show your dream schools how serious you are about your studies. By taking AP classes, you can get ahead on some college requirements and potentially knock out some cost of tuition. Plus, the presence of AP classes on your transcript can make your application more competitive.
If you’re already in college, aim to take more challenging classes. Take a semester with more credit hours — as long as you know you can handle it. You might just get ahead on your studies and graduate a semester earlier than expected. Run everything by your advisor before you make any decisions. They can help you determine what’s best for your academic career.
6. Stick to a Bedtime Routine
Routines can be your best friend, especially when establishing healthier habits. A bedtime routine ensures that you take care of yourself and get to bed early enough to wake up refreshed. You can start building your routine by having healthy habits, such as brushing your teeth and dabbling in skincare. Eventually, you’ll have the routine figured out, and you may even start feeling sleepy as you start your nighttime routine. Think of how refreshed and ready for the day you’ll feel in the morning!
7. Select Ways to Give Back
While some people may find it more difficult to give back to the community while tackling a full school year and possibly a job, others may find it more rewarding. You can walk dogs at an animal shelter or volunteer to be helping hands at a soup kitchen. You can also check into your college’s special awards and acknowledgments. You may get a special accolade for volunteering enough hours throughout your enrollment at graduation. However you choose to give back, make sure your heart is in the right place.
8. Color-Code Your Notes
Some people color-code their notes by topic, which helps them understand when to stop reviewing certain material. Other people use the stoplight color-coding method, where you highlight topics in red that you’re completely lost on, so you know to ask the teacher or professor about them next time you’re able. Notes highlighted in yellow mean you need to review the material a few more times, while green means that you’re confident in them.
9. Reassess Your Goals
Over the eight years that you’re in high school and college, your goals are bound to change. You become a different person through all the changes, through the almost decade of academia you’ve gone through. It’s okay if your priorities change — just try to adjust your short-term goals to match your new long-term goals.
Get the help of friends and family, as well as your academic counselor or advisor. They’ll all be able to help you start on your new journey or adjust your path. Find out what you truly want in life, and remember to stay persistent as you work toward it.
10. Make Time for Self-Care
Once the school year really ramps up, you may start to feel overwhelmed. Setting aside time for yourself to feel better and bring yourself back down to earth is important. Academia is challenging for so many people, so you shouldn’t feel bad about what you’ve accomplished or that you need to push yourself harder. Schedule some time in your planner to be gentle with and care for yourself.
Set Yourself Up For Success
A new school year brings plenty of surprises and opportunities for positive change and growth. To fully benefit from your studies this year, you must prepare to make this year the best yet. By setting healthy goals for yourself and completing time-saving tasks, you’ll find that you’ll have more time for your schoolwork than you thought — which translates to more time having fun on the weekends with your loved ones.
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