10 Tips to Get Back Into the Swing of Things at School

Sep 29 2022

Well, the summer break is over and it’s time to return to our normal, academic routines.  Yes, we had a great vacation, filled with flexible schedules, maybe lots of travel, unpredictable sleep patterns, sometimes indulgent and undulating food and drink binges, less accountability for time and money, and many other freedom-related realities associated with being “off the leash” for a relatively extended period of time.


Nice, wasn’t it?  But, now, summer is over and you’re now faced with returning to school and getting back into the academic routine and being…responsible once again.  Though you’ll eventually get back into the swing of things on your own, Pres House Apartments (University of Wisconsin) (https://phapts.com/10-tips-to-get-back-into-the-swing-of-things-at-school/) offers some tips that you can try that might help lessen the pain of having to leave your stress-free summer behind and returning to your life as the mighty, academic warrior you were during the preceding semester.   In no particular order, Pres House’s ten pointers are as follows.


  1. Reset Your Sleep Schedule.
    School breaks can be disruptive to your natural, scholastic rhythm.  So, it might be a good idea to start getting your normal sleep cycle back on track a couple of weeks before the semester begins.  This will help you to get ready for those dreaded 8 a.m. classes without a lot of last minute pain  And, as you probably already know, going to bed and getting up at consistent times will contribute to both academic and physical health.
  2. Make a Master To-Do List.
    Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something, especially when you’re starting what might be a challenging semester?  In addition to your academic responsibilities you also have personal and administrative things going on, all competing for your time and attention.  One way to help ensure that nothing important slips through the cracks is to construct a master to-do list of those tasks and issues that can have impact upon your success.  So, take a spot of time to jot down and prioritize your list so you can be confident that you won’t forget something that can come back and bite you later on.
  3. Budget Time to Relax.
    We all know that university is, by definition, about getting an education.  However, you can’t be on school-alert 24/7!  Yes, your school work comes first, but budget some time to reconnect with old friends, enjoy a bit of social life, and generally give your mind a break from your academic routine.  This can let you excel both as a student, and as a social creature.
  4. Get to Know Your Colleagues.
    Especially if you’re moving into a new academic environment, you may not know your classmates when you arrive. This can leave you feeling uncomfortable, or even isolated in an unfamiliar situation.  A great way to take control of this is to take the initiative to meet your new classmates.  Many schools offer various social events, and there are almost always places in your town where students tend to gather.  Once these are identified you can then muster the courage to start a conversation!
  5. Understand Your Resources.
    Take the time to explore all of the resources offered to you by your university, and the surrounding community.  Libraries, online resources, sporting venues, remedial services, counsellors, health/medical entities, financial outlets, and other resources that could serve your academic and personal needs should be on your to-do list for exploration.  Knowing what options are available to you before you actually need them can take away some of the stress as you work to reestablish your routine.
  6. Make a Study Plan.
    A study plan can be helpful, especially at the beginning of the semester when the workloads can seem overwhelming, and also during particularly busy weeks such as exam periods and the usually stressful end-of-semester period.  Creating and balancing your work ethic by means of well-crafted study plans can also contribute to having more time for your personal or social activities.
  7. Order Your Priorities.
    Too many things going on at the same time can cause confusion with regard to which tasks should be addressed first, or even a sense of loss-of-control or information overload.  Thus, defining your priorities at the start of the semester can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed later on. Which accomplishments are most important to you?  Do you need to concentrate on your GPA? Or, are you more concerned about your friendships or personal life?  Or, is it professional development and post-graduation employment?  Whatever your goals may be, align your priorities around them. Then, when difficult time management decisions have to be made, you’ll be able to more quickly decide the options that are of greater importance to you.
  8. Try something new.
    If you fall into a rut of having too many routine obligations that begin to adversely affect your motivation, it might be an indicator that you should try something new in order to break up the redundant patterns you’ve created.  A fresh hobby or sport?  Maybe a new student organization?  Or, maybe even making new friends?  Any of these can introduce a feeling of excitement and help break the boredom cycle, leading to an increased level of energy to excel.
  9. Create a Responsible Routine.
    Seemingly at odds with number 8 above, a solid and responsibly-followed routine can lend order to what might otherwise appear to be a chaotic situation.  With new class schedules, homework loads, extracurricular expectations, living situations, and more, life can begin to (seemingly) spin out of control.  A responsible routine – one that includes time for yourself and new interests – developed early in the semester, can help you identify priorities and consistently pursue them.  A good routine may take a bit of time to develop, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t fall into a “positive rut” in just a day or two.
  10. Allow Time for Yourself.
    As classes, extracurricular activities, and social life come together to create a solid demand on your time, it’s easy to imagine that you can begin to feel overwhelmed.  So, it’s important to be able to occasionally put normal things aside and to – at least for a brief time – do something that you want to do.  Read a book, go for a run, spend time with a hobby, or just turn off the phone and watch a movie… All of these can help break the boredom cycle and give you a refreshed outlook that will help you avoid that “burned-out” feeling that we all get from time to time.

We all make routines, break routines, constantly modify routines, or even try to avoid them all-together, depending upon our needs at any given moment or circumstance. Returning to school after an extended break is a particular kind of circumstance that can present a significant-enough (though usually transitory) challenge, especially if we’re been out of the academic saddle for a very long period of time.  Each of us has his/her own ways of dealing with this transition, and most of them have worked from us, at least to certain degrees.  But Pres House offers the suggestions outlined above as a deliberate structure that might be of use to those trying to reintegrate (or even integrate for the first time) themselves into a new reality.


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