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How-To: Get back in the swing of things

Getting back into a school routine is a struggle to be surmounted every year. No matter how many times summer has ended and academia begun, students always have a learning curve to get used to waking up in the morning and doing homework at night. Here are a few tips for making the annual transition smoother.

Completely unpack your belongings:

It seems pretty self-evident, but getting organized in the first day or two in a new living space will impact the way the rest of the year works. Think about organization as if it were tanning – it helps to have a “base tan” before building on darker color. Similarly, it helps to have a “base” level of organization before trying to stay organized for a full nine months of school.

Unpacking everything and putting it in its place – pencils in a pencil cup, clothes folded neatly in drawers— before rushing out to see friends will set the stage for an organized year. If stuff is thrown all over the room on day one, imagine how hard it’s going to be to convince yourself to pick it up on day four — Or day 44?

Force yourself into a routine:

Staying up late to finish a 10-page paper isn’t heroic, it’s silly. Procrastination takes time away from hanging out, sleeping and generally having fun. Put yourself on a timetable early on so that later when exams roll around, you’re not floundering in Belk Library all night trying to write a paper, surviving on espresso and studying all at the same time.

Build homework time into your schedule and make it a habit. Everyone is different, so it may take anywhere from two to six weeks to make your routine habitual, but it will pay off for the rest of the semester.

Re-establish “bed time” for the first week:

Sleeping seven to 10 hours may seem excessive during college, especially when there’s always a friend or homework luring you away from precious hours of shut-eye. Staying up until 2 a.m. feels normal, but it is actually wreaking havoc on all sorts of important things – lack of sleep can affect everything from grades to happiness.

Put yourself on a schedule now before the lure of friends and late-night studying becomes too great. For at least one week, go to sleep at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends. It will help get you up on time for that 8 a.m. class throughout the year, not just the first couple of days.

Don’t be discouraged:

Similar to New Year’s resolutions, the beginning of the school year is a time to make plans and promises – and then end up breaking them. There will be times where going to the gym every day sputters out, or your homework doesn’t get done on your schedule. Completely giving up on goals will just make it harder next year to get in a routine. So, make yourself prepare for riding the first-semester wave.

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