The Chemist: Back to School
Hey Everyone! I hope you're having a great, non-stressful week. Since it's about that time for the new school year to begin, we thought we'd give you some tips on how to make it a successful one. I see 4.0's in your future!
The thing about the few few weeks of a semester is that they essentially sets the tone for the rest of it. The things you start making habits now will only benefit you in the long run and you'll be less likely to fall behind when other responsibilities pop up. So here are a few tips I have for staying on top of the semester.
As someone who can't think if everything is in shambles, getting organized is my first tip for you all. Organization makes my life easier and is helpful to keeping me on track. I color code my classes so it's easier to find my stuff for class if I'm in a rush and it also helps me mentally organize my thoughts. For example, my favorite class is always blue (because that's my favorite color), math tends to be red (there's no rhyme or reason for that), and whatever science class I'm in at the time is normally green. By using a color coding system, my brain creates little folders so that information for each class stays separate and I can focus on one thing at a time. Another way to stay organized is to use a planner or the calendar on your phone to keep track of assignments, events, due dates for applications, etc. so you don't forget anything. You can create multiple calendars on your phone so you keep your school calendar events separate from your normal life stuff.
Create a Routine
I am a creature of habit! Anyone that knows me personally can attest to that. Routines make the world go around and they are really important to create as soon as the school year starts. Look at your schedule and map out times to do homework, times to study, times for self care, and anything else you do on a daily/weekly basis. You can even pick a study spot that you go to all the time for homework. Actively thinking about and participating in a routine also makes things less stressful, since you've already planned out your week. The other great thing about routines is that they can be adjusted as need be so you can be as productive as possible.
Find Study Partners
The older I got, the more I realized that study partners/groups are amazing!! I used to always study by myself and sometimes I wouldn't grasp the material as well, but as soon as Pat (my Pitt lab partner/Chem Buddy) and I, with a few other people in our class, realized we were taking all the same classes, we carved out time to study together. Now, I don't JUST use study groups, I still study alone, but this is a great complement to add to your study habits. Talking things out with other people, working problems out together, helps reinforce the information you're learning. The trick is to find good study partners. You want to work with people that are actually doing well in the classes you're taking and that you can be productive with. You don't want to end up with a study group and not learn anything, that doesn't help you in the long run.
My last piece of advice is vital for the other pieces of advice I gave to work. You HAVE to be consistent. None of these things will work if you do them one time and you won't be successful without consistency. You have to hold yourself accountable for your actions - you can also ask one of your friends to be your accountability partner so you stay honest. Regardless of how you do it, you have to get it done. At the end of the day, you are the one turning in the assignments and taking the exams, so if you don't put in the work, you won't get the grade. I completely understand that life happens in college or graduate school, but you want to keep your eyes on the prize (GRADUATION) and do what needs to be done to get there, while still making time to enjoy the ride.
How are you preparing for this Back to School season?