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Back to School/Uni Tips!

I’m headed into my 3rd year of uni, so I thought I’d make a post sharing my tips on how to do well in school, not burn out, and keep your mental health relatively stable.

1. Snacks - seriously, don’t leave home without at least 2 substantial snacks in your bag. If you’re go-go-going all day and suddenly your sitting in a lecture about to crash cause you haven’t eaten anything all day, you’re gonna want snacks. Some suggestions: Cashews (they’re not super loud/crunchy, so they’re perfect for lecture snackin’), a granola bar, an apple, cherry tomatoes, trail mix.

2. Don’t buy the textbook before you go to your first class - I’ve worked at a university bookstore for 2 years, and every year, people end up buying 700$ worth of first year text books, and then they don’t even use them. Wait. and then wait some more. If there are required readings, then get the textbook, if your prof says there will be questions from the textbook on the exam, then get the textbook, but trust me, for 90% of first year classes (and a lot of other ones) you don’t need the textbook. SAVE YOUR WALLETS

3. Take notes efficiently - honestly the best way to take notes, is type up the lecture notes that are provided, BEFOREHAND, and then during lecture, fill in the blanks/add information/take down any important things your prof is saying as you go through the lecture on your laptop in a different color. This way you’re much less likely to miss any important information, you won’t be confused about what to take down, and you won’t fall into the trap of taking down notes that are already being provided to you. After class, or while making study notes, copy these notes out by hand to remember what you learned.

4. Keep it simple - pretty notes are GREAT if you have the time, but once you get to upper level uni, and you have 100 slides of notes to turn into study notes, you will not have the time to make your notes look aesthetically pleasing. Just get the info down so you can focus on learning it.

5. Have a designated study space - i did all of my highschool homework and studying in my bed, and 90% of the time, I ended up falling asleep. My bed wasn’t going to cut it for uni, so I got a cheap ikea desk, and it’s made me so much more organized and productive.

6. Take as much ‘you time’ as possible - take a bath. light candles. binge watch a tv show. veg out with a book for 4 hours if you have the time. do your makeup super special one day. get yourself that venti pumpkin spice latte with extra whip whenever you feel like it. Uni is a shitty time I’m not gonna lie. It’s stressful as f*ck, and whenever you can spare a couple hours or a couple dollars to TREAT YO SELF, do it.

7.  If you have anxiety, CUT THE COFFEE. caffeine is a huge trigger for anxiety. Caffeine takes away from your sleep, messes with your adrenalin systems, and can make you super paranoid and anxious all the time. 

8. If you think your in the wrong major, change it - I started in geology, and I HATED IT. Now I’m in psych and I love it. It is never too late for a change of program. If you think you’re doing something you don’t wanna do, or your not enjoying it, don’t do it.

9. For mornings you have to be ready and out the door, or if you’re a person who always runs late, have a getting-ready routine and get it down pat. Have a mental list of things you need to do, and things you need to remember, and find out how much time it takes you. Get up at 8am, shower, wash face/brush teeth, get dressed, do makeup, pack bag, remember keys, wallet, laptop, notebook, pen and train pass, have breakfast, put on shoes, leave by 9am.

10. Utilize your time in transit. - finish a reading, go over flashcards, read study notes, listen to an album you’ve been meaning to listen to, read a book, read some fanfic, idk but don’t just sit there unless just sitting there is what you need.

11. Find a hobby or passion that is separate from your school/uni life. Whether its playing sports, or running, reading, collecting plants, making scrapbooks, curating a refined taste in tea, having baths, writing in a journal, find something that if you’re bored with watching shows or studying, you can go do it, and enjoy it, and get your mind off all the other shit that’s going on in your life for awhile.

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Before School Checklist

I wrote something similar to this a few months ago, but I think it would be more helpful to be in checklist form instead of a sequence of things to do like I had before.

The Night Before:

  • Do your nightly routine - wash your face, brush your teeth, shower, lotion, moisturize, comb your hair, take your medicine, remove your makeup
  • Check your planner for any assignments you may have missed
  • Plan for tomorrow
  • Make your lunch
  • Set your alarm!
  • Briefly review what you learned/studied today
  • Pack your backpack for tomorrow. Check to make sure you have your wallet, ID, keys, material for each class, due assignments, notebooks, folders, etc. that you need, a pen/pencil, highighters
  • Tidy up your space a bit
  • Drink a glass of water before bed
  • Do something to relax

The Morning Before:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast – seriously, brain food
  • Get ready – wash your face, brush your teeth, do your makeup, get dressed, take your medicine
  • Double check your backpack and planner, in case you forgot anything
  • Complete any of the tasks you forgot or just didn’t do last night, like making your lunch

Previous #Studying Saturdays post: Studying in Summer.