A+ Tips For Back To School
So, it’s been almost four months since I’ve graduated, and I haven’t felt much nostalgia about it until right now, when everyone is headed back, as I should have expected. I never really thought I would be the type of person who would be dying to head back to campus after my time there was through, but to my surprise, I think I may be visiting my college town more than expected, dear friends, please keep your couches open. With that being said, I am really excited for all of you that are headed back, and wanted to pass on some back to school tips to help you make the best of your college years.
1. Minimize supplies:
I’d like to thank my BFF Alex for this wonderful piece of advice; this is something that I wish someone would have taught me earlier, because man, did it make life easier. I was always the type of person that had a separate folder, notebook and binder for every single class, and I thought this was the key to organization, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ultimately this made me more disorganized because I was constantly taking the wrong notebooks to the wrong classes and it caused me more stress than it should have. Alex taught me the art of the master binder. I used one large binder to house the notes for all of my classes. I used loose-leaf paper and tab dividers to separate my notes for each class, but they were all condensed into one large binder. With this, I always had all of my notes for every class with me at all times. I never had to worry about having the wrong notebook with me, and it made school much less stressful. Plus, if I ever had downtime between classes, I could study for any of my other classes, because all of my notes were always with me. As an added bonus, I would get the tab dividers with pockets on both sides and would put the class syllabus in one pocket, and any handouts in the other. I highly recommend this method for optimal organization.
2. Turn homework into “awaywork:”
I was lucky enough to always have fabulous roommates that I constantly wanted to spend all of my downtime with. Unfortunately, this made coming home and doing homework almost impossible, because wanting to do things with them usually distracted me from my schoolwork. It didn’t take long for me to learn that doing homework at home was not really an option, and as much as I wanted to be with them, I needed to find another place to do my work away from them, or I would never be able to be productive. I usually found myself escaping to the library or the local Starbucks, just so I could have a quiet place with no distractions around, and I was able to focus on the task at hand. Then after a few hours I could return home, stress free and able to hang out with my roommates, knowing that I had finished everything that I needed to get done.
3. Split the cost of books:
Making friends can be hard, I know, but for the sake of your pocketbook (and your general social skills) befriend someone in your major. Since my major (Communication) was fairly small, I had most of the same people in all of my classes, so for me, finding someone to go halfsies on textbooks with was not hard. Splitting the cost of a book with someone will guarantee you two things- you will always be paying less for your books (duh), and you will always have a study buddy. Sometimes it can be challenging to work out a schedule for deciding who get the book at certain time, but if you two communicate openly and often with each other, it’s a flawless plan!
4. Start a club:
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be someone to start a club at my school, but it was one of the best decisions of my whole life. During the summer before my senior year, I started the process of applying for a Her Campus chapter for my school. It was a long process; I worked very hard and sometimes it was stressful, but the moment I got confirmation that I was approved for a chapter, it was one of the most accomplished moments of my life. Once I was approved for the chapter, I had to go though the process of getting approved for a club, recruiting members, getting an advisor, and so on and so forth, but all of the hard work was worth it. I had the opportunity to be a leader and to start something that I’m extremely passionate about, and now that I have graduated, I get to watch my legacy live on for years to come.
5. Budget your money:
This is something I never did… but I really wish I would have. A key to saving money is making money, so if you have the time and ability to have a job while in school, I would definitely recommend doing that. I had a job during all four years of college, but I realize that is not realistic for everybody. However, even though I was working, I wasn’t saving my money wisely. In fact I remember a particular instance when I over drafted my bank account to buy a Kate Spade bag and I couldn’t buy groceries for two weeks (priorities?), but nowadays, I am managing my money much better. I have recently worked out a plan for saving money that is working well for me. I get a paycheck every two weeks, and I start out those two weeks with $200 in my checking account, at the end of my two weeks, when I get my next paycheck, I replenish whatever I spent from the $200, and put the rest into savings. For example, if I only spend $50 in those two weeks, leaving my checking at $150, I will just replenish the $50 when I get my paycheck, so I start the next two weeks with $200 in my checking account. This has been an extremely effective method of saving for me, and while I wish I had realized the importance of saving earlier, I have absolutely no regrets about buying that handbag.
6. Plan some nights in:
There is no denying how fun a night out (or four in a row) can be, but when I look back at my time in college, some of my best and most cherished memories are from when my roommates and I just stayed in together. Planning nights to just stay in is really important. Not only does it give you some time to mentally and physically unwind, but those nights when you laugh until you cry, or you cry until you laugh, are the ones you will remember. Plus… no hangover the next day.
7. Go all out for spring break at least once:
I never did anything or went anywhere (except back to my hometown) for spring break until my senior year, and it was truly one of the best times of my life. My roommate Taylor and I used our week off to visit our friends in New York City and California, and it was absolutely unforgettable. I think waiting until my senior year to do something big for spring break made it really special; it was kind of like our last hoorah. It was sort of a last minute decision that fell perfectly into place, and it was nice to spend our time off doing something out of the ordinary. I hope that all of you get to do something fun for spring break before you time in college is through.
8. Stop buying K-Cups:
They cost too much and Keurig coffee is weak and shitty anyway. Buying a coffee pot and coffee grounds is cheaper, and way more delicious. It’s a no-brainer.
9. Take advantage of a free gym:
One of things I miss most about school is having access to a free 24-hour gym. It’s one of those little things that you take for granted, until you have to actually go out into the real world and pay for a gym membership. When Counting Crows sang, “don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” I bet they were talking about their college gym.
10. Have fun, but remember why you’re there:
At the end of the day, remember that college is a privilege, not a right, and you’re there to learn. With that being said, it’s important to have fun and make memories, but always keep in mind that you are there for a greater purpose. Make your four (or so) years worthwhile, find your passions, your lifelong friends… and make sure to shotgun a beer or two.
Happy back to school, bees! Make this year the best one yet.