Back to School: How to Mentally Prepare for your First Week Back


Returning back to classes after your extended break can be challenging when you mind is still focused on all the adventures you had during the summer. But a good start to the school year can set you up for academic success. So here's a list of the top five ways to get you mentally prepared to head back into classes this fall.

1) Set reasonable goals for yourself

Learning how to set reasonable and obtainable goals is an essential part to maintaining a balanced and healthy life during the chaotic stages of college. While effective goal setting can seem like a long and donating process, we found that using SMART goal setting techniques is very effective and can save you a lot of time. Be sure to set goals for your over all health and well being, in addition to goals for your career and academic life.

SMART goal worksheets can be found here. Sisters of Alpha Nu can find our adapted version in the AquaNET resource portal.

2) Get into your routine and plan

Getting into a good routine early has been shown to help people adapt better during transitional periods. Identify and located what buildings your classes are in, and if you have time, stop by and visit them. Then, take the time to plan out when you're going to work, study, do homework, attend meeting, excersise and participate in your other extra curricular. Try doing a few days in your new routine before school starts, that way, you can see what works and what doesn't work for you before you get too busy.

Alpha Nu recommends that students keep a master schedule in addition to keeping an active planner. You can find out how to make a master schedule here. Sisters of Alpha Nu can find our adapted master schedule worksheet in the AquaNET resource portal.

3) Pre-pack for your first day

Your first full day back on campus can often times be hectic. In the rush of everything, it can be easy to over look a few items that you might need for the day. Packing your campus bag the day before allows you time to go back, check, and double check if you must, that you have everything you need. And if you find out that you're missing something, you'll have enough time to run out and pick it up before classes start.

Tip: Make a master list of everything you'll need for classes and keep it in your bag or on your phone. As you put items into your bag, you can check them off your list.

4) Take time for self care

Self care often takes a spot on the back burner during the school year because it can seem impossible to do. We get so caught up in our academic and career life, that we forget to take time to explore and commit to things that will bring balance and happiness into our lives. We view them as non-essential, when on reality, practicing self care helps to alleviate the strain in our lives that slow us down and prevent us from reaching out goals. Before the school year starts, take time to complete a self care worksheet and be sure to set some time aside in your busy schedule to do something that will relax and refresh you.

Alpha Nu recommends this self care resources guide. Sisters of Alpha Nu can find our adapted version of this guide in the AquaNET resource portal.

5) Get enough rest

This is nothing new, but it bares repeating: sleep is important! During the summers, you might be able to get away with the long nights by sleeping in until noon. But unless your schedule doesn't start until 4 p.m., you're more than likely going to be up early in the morning. Studies have shown that no amount of caffeine can make up for a sleep deficient. And it has been known that lack of sleep can make one irritable as well as lower reaction time, and make you less receptive to new information. And as we all know, the deeper you get into the school year, the harder it becomes to get good rest. By getting at least a solid 6 hours of sleep before school starts (and really whenever you can) you set yourself up to be alert and receptive to new information you're learning in class.

Many people have their own tips that they swear by when getting ready to go back to school. What are some of yours? leave them own below in the comment section!


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