Okay, okay, okay. Technically this past week wasn’t the first week of classes. Winter storm Jonas saw to that, ensuring that the Hopkins population had a nice and easy start to the spring semester. I could have used my snow days to get organized, maybe even get ahead on some required reading, but instead I found myself binge-watching Making a Murderer and eating too many baked goods. I’m nothing if not predictable.
Thus, this first full week of school hit my unprepared butt like a ton of bricks. After five semesters in college, you think I’d be prepared for the stress-fest that syllabus week embodies, but nope! Here I am yet again, behind before I’ve even begun. But I refuse to admit defeat! I refuse to nap away my responsibilities in the face of overwhelming deadlines! Instead, I’ll write off week one—which was, don’t forget, basically week two—as a trial period. A warm-up. Now that I’ve dusted off the cobwebs in my brain, I’m back and better than ever. And I’ve rustled up a list of five ~tried and true tips~ (holy alliteration batman) for making it through week one relatively unscathed. Take it from a girl who knows.
Buy a planner. Love a planner. Be a planner. Take thirty minutes to pencil in important deadlines as the syllabi come rolling in. Not only will you ever be surprised by a paper or exam, but you’ll also be able to spot a deadline-heavy week a mile away. Having all of your crap neatly laid out in a planner will make it all seem a lot more manageable.
Be textbook-savvy. Buying textbooks is tricky. On the one hand, you don’t want to spend money on books you won’t end up reading. On the other, you don’t want to scramble to get your hands on a copy when you’re given a high-stakes assignment on day one. Do research on the class ahead of time to find out which books are actually must-haves.
Take care of yourself. One of the sad realities of going back to school is that you’ll be forced to be around humans again. And humans have germs. Lots and lots of germs. Start the semester off right by getting enough sleep and upping your vitamin C intake. Hopefully those healthy habits will carry you through when the semester gets rough.
Make time for fun. The first week of classes is the perfect time to establish a semester-long balance between work and play. Make a conscious effort to weave some time with your friends into the workweek, whether it’s going out to dinner, having a movie night, or staying in and studying together. Your stressed-out psyche will thank you for it.