By Gabrielle Rente
Welcome back, folks. If you are a first year at this lovely institution, welcome. I hope everyone has had a pleasant summer, but if you are anything like me, then you are probably struggling to switch back into school mode. Never fear; I have tips for you here.
Touch base with friends. You’ve been apart all summer. Take advantage of the lack of assignments the first week of classes. Grab lunch with your misters. Go to a Student Events Board event with your sisters. In other words, get out of your dorm room and socialize.
Invest in a timepiece. Time management is key in academic success, and the key to time management is knowing what time it is. A watch is not a phone, so if you are timing yourself on an assignment then you are less likely to get distracted by a text or a tweet. While our phones are powerful tools, they also have the ability to lead us astray.
Check your e-mail every day. Washington College is an e-mail-dependent campus. Every event alert and meeting deadline will end up in your inbox somewhere, and it will become overwhelming very quickly to process all of it. So take a few minutes out of your day to read your e-mail, sort out the clutter, and retrieve that important information.
Meet with your advisor. Either you have never met them before or you have not seen each other all summer long. Schedule a time to meet your academic advisor so you can touch base and reassure yourself that yes, your schedule looks fine; yes, you are on track to graduate; no, working at a sandwich shop over the summer will not count towards your major.
Drink water. Whenever you are overwhelmed by events, sit down and drink water. If you have a sudden headache, drink water. If you partied a little too hard last night, drink water. If you have the munchies despite eating a full meal 20 minutes ago, drink water. The answer is always water because, more than likely not, you are dehydrated.
Save everything. I’m talking notes, handouts, printed reading your professors used way too much toner on. Save all of that. Encrypted somewhere in those papers is a nugget of information that will save your assignment. There will be a test or an essay later in the semester and you will want to refer back to this paper trail.
Record important deadlines. After you go to all of your classes, take those thick, anxiety-inducing syllabi out of your backpack and highlight all of the important dates your professors mention. Now get a calendar, a planner, a piece of lined paper, whatever, and write all of those deadlines down. Stick that color-coded schedule onto your desk. This will be a grade-saving reminder later in the semester.
Call your loved ones. They got used to seeing you at home and now you are here. Give them a call and tell them about your week. Tell them that you miss them. Express any worries you have to them. If anyone will quell your fears for the new academic year, then it will be the people who care about you the most. Plus, I bet your dog misses you.
Get dressed. I mean put effort into your appearance. You do not have to leave your dorm with perfect eyeliner or a tight bowtie, but be more creative than just sweatpants and a stained t-shirt. Dress to feel confident about your appearance. Most importantly, dress for yourself and only for yourself. College is a time where we have more liberties to express ourselves through attire, so take advantage of this moment. Put yourself together.
Go to sleep. This one is obvious yet it is the one self-care tip with which everyone struggles. Sleep affects your mood, your immune system, and your ability to focus and get work done. If you know that you have a habit of scrolling through your phone in bed, then move your charging cord to the other side of the room. Read a book before going to sleep instead. If it is 3 a.m. and you are not done with a presentation, then go to sleep anyway. You will be more awake and motivated to finish it in the morning. If your friends are keeping you awake, then be honest with them and say you need sleep. True friends let their friends sleep.