Get organized. The first step to manage your stress throughout the school year is to be in control of your academic responsibilities. If you receive your syllabi from your professors before the first day of class, read through it carefully and note important deadlines and exam dates. Keep track of those dates in a paper or digital planner so you can note when certain projects and timelines will overlap, or when you might have scheduling conflicts because of work or family obligations.
Buy or rent your textbooks before the first day of class. Don’t wait until you receive your first reading assignment to head to the bookstore. Reach out to your instructors a few weeks before school starts and ask for a list of required reading materials. This small step shows that you’re willing to take initiative, and also gives you extra time to buy or rent your textbooks, or request a copy from the library. If you’re feeling motivated, read through the first chapter to become acquainted with course material before your first class.
Adjust to a new schedule. The addition of school work, classes and commuting can be overwhelming at first, especially when you’re already juggling work and family responsibilities. Adding classes to your weekly schedule will force you to establish a morning and evening routine that allows you to stay refreshed and focused all day. When you are adjusted to your new routine, you’ll be better able to manage your schoolwork in addition to other responsibilities.
Have a plan. Set a few short-term and long-term goals that will help you stay focused and motivated when things get tough. Then, strategize a few manageable steps that will help you achieve each goal. For example, allow yourself 1-2 hours a few nights a week to study or catch up on schoolwork, keeping your long-term goal of achieving an A or a B on each exam in mind. Start a journal to keep track of your progress and to remind yourself of your accomplishments when you need a confidence boost.
Get involved. The first few weeks of the semester are the perfect time to connect with your new classmates and peers. Forming study groups will help you get to know your classmates and also help you prepare for your exams. Additionally, look for opportunities on campus or within your community that can help advance your personal and professional goals, such as tutoring or volunteering.
Making the extra effort to prepare for your first few weeks of school will help set the tone for a productive semester and put you on the right track towards achieving your goals. For more tips on how to jumpstart the school year, click here.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. Herzing does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salary.