While the beginning of your freshman year at a new college should certainly be exciting, it can also be slightly daunting. With that in mind, I thought I'd provide some tips for a successful start to your first year of classes. Hopefully things will be back to normal sooner rather than later, but I've also provided some advice for online learning for any readers who may be starting classes remotely this fall.
IN-PERSON 1: Before the first day of classes, walk through campus and find the buildings your classes will be in. It’s embarrassing to come into the first day of class fifteen minutes late because you were in the completely wrong spot—take it from someone who’s done it!
ONLINE 1: Don’t roll out of bed moments before class. If you can, give yourself time to wake up and get ready for the day. Grab your breakfast, your coffee, whatever you need. You can’t learn effectively if you’re still half-asleep!
IN-PERSON 2: Know how you’re gonna get where you need to go. If your chemistry lab ends at 10:20 and your linguistics lecture starts at 10:30 across campus, you better have a strategy to make it on time. Paying attention to transit schedules and keeping an eye out for any shortcuts in campus buildings can be super helpful.
ONLINE 2: Get out of the sweats. Zooming in a bathrobe won’t hurt as an occasional indulgence, but it can be hard to focus if you never wear anything but PJs to class. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but consider wearing real clothes to help your bedroom feel like a classroom when need be.
IN-PERSON 3: Have a plan for each day. Classes can feel like they dominate your life, but it’s important to keep everything else in mind. By staking out when you’ll go to the dining hall, the library, or the gym, you can have a full picture of your day and be able to plan ahead.
ONLINE 3: Take a break from the screens. It may sound like a counterintuitive tip for online school, but too much screen time can really take it out of you. If you’re staring at your computer for hours on end (and trying to understand advanced calculus on top of it), you’re gonna feel exhausted by the end of the day. Instead of binging the latest Netflix series, try unwinding by reading a book or going for a walk—self-care is important!
IN-PERSON 4: When it’s time to buckle down and study, make sure that you have everything you need to start. If you’re constantly getting up to grab a notebook or another pencil, it’ll be easy to get off track. Having all your supplies ready means that it’ll be tougher for you to get distracted as you study.
ONLINE 4: If your studying necessitates a lot of online work, try and keep the open tabs to a minimum. The more extraneous business you have on your computer, the less likely you are to be your most productive. Try and make sure that you’re minimizing any possible obstacles to a successful study session!
Whatever your return to school is going to look like, I hope these tips can be of some help to you. And while I’ve found all these habits really helpful, don’t be afraid to explore and find the tricks that work best for you!