Back to School: Twelve Important Tips & Tricks

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Growing up I never really got the whole back to school drama that came at the start of every year. I did see the stress it would cause my parents as they started to prepare for the upcoming school year. However, It wasn’t until I enrolled into University just how much work actually goes into a new year. When I first enrolled I had been out of education for a while and I went about things wrong. Much like one of last weeks posts where I delved into what I wish I had known before enrolling. I decided not to include this and save it for its own blog post which brings us to today’s post.

Today I will give you my top 12 tips and tricks to get yourself ready to go back to school. So whether you are a student, debating going into education or a parent stay tuned for these tips and tricks. It’s finally time to break out of your same-old homework habits. Try out these study tricks to get the brain boost you need to get back to school. If you enjoy todays post please don’t forget to like, share, comment or even follow my blog its completely free!

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1. You don’t need just ONE study space when going back to school.

It is known that a well-stocked desk in a quiet place at home is key, well most of the time. And so I thought I would give you a few ideas of other study spaces you can use that I have in the past. For the first couple of years that I was in University I would study from the same place on a schedule all of the time. However, I found especially during my third year of the course that my motivation was decreasing which was extremely frustrating. So, What did I do to help with that? I will do a separate blog post in the future all about how I stay motivated in what I do. But let’s start out with the basics.

So just as the year was coming to a close I took a seat and started to reflect on things. I noticed that one thing kept popping up. I felt like I was stuck in a never ending cycle of all work and no play. And so I started to do some research on how I could ease this issue and get my motivations back on track. And so I decided that from the beginning of the following year once per week I would reward myself by doing something. Sounds simple right? I then learned about the positiveness changes of scenery can bring.

A change of scenery

And so I decided to take my study supplies with me and started once a week to visit other locations for a change of scenery. So I would definitely suggest checking out what coffee shops, libraries and other areas are available to you especially if you are in a physical university. I have found that a small change of scenery can help prompt your brain to retain information better so here are the places that I go to for inspiration like I once was. But before that please remember this is my own opinion and these places may not interest you. So think of things that interest you where you can go to study whilst having pleasure of life too.

My personal routine

I will do a post about a typical study day in the future, however, for now lets focus on how I decide where to go and how I will reward myself. A few places that I have studied in the past include a few local coffee shops where I would sit and do my study with a nice coffee. A nice sit at the beach in the shade reading through my university book chapter for that week. I mean as you are all aware by now I love to travel as much as possible. I even did some University work enroute to visit my friend before London last year on our holiday. So the possibilities are endless even a study session on the kitchen table may help boost motivation and productivity.

2. Buy a Planner or Journal

Keeping a calendar can help you to plan ahead for your studies. But it is important to remember that you have more going on than just assignments or homework. When I started out I would keep my academic and personal life separate and found that this would cause me to get overwhelmed. And during my second year of University I found the perfect system for me that ensured I had everything all in one place. For you see at the time much like now I had to manage my academic and personal life which trust me wasn’t the easiest. But what system did I find that worked for me?

Since I can remember I have always tried out different organisation methods for my life. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly found the best kind of method for me. For obvious reasons I won’t go into too much details about this method in todays post. Interested in learning more? Let me know and I may cover it in a future post. If you want to know the basics of how to keep everything your doing in one place check out the Podcast episode.

What’s in my Journal?

But what do I keep in my bullet journal? Well I mainly plan out each day at the start of the actual day or the end of the previous one. I usually set myself a set of tasks that I want to get done that day like todays was to outline and begin to write this blog post. However, I also have a weekly spread inside of my bullet journal which helps me to track the week. On this spread I keep track of university work, my actual work shifts, social commitments, tests and even planned holidays.

3. Start out Small when going back to school

If you find that you have a big assignment coming in the near future. For example during my final year my main assignment will be the main project which I will need to put most of my focus on. Please stay as motivated as possible. This could be by completing a section of that project every few days. You could even write a single paragraph each and every night. Or do 5 mathematics problems from your problem all you have to do is set a time and then take a break.

So please remember that no project will ever be to big for you to handle. You can honestly do anything that you set your mind to with motivation. So find the strategy that makes your time more productive and manageable. It won’t happen over night trust me I thought it would too. But if I can get to the point that I am today than I truly believe that everyone can all you have to do is set your mind to achieve those dreams.

4. Just because you have school supplies doesn’t make you organised

Come up with an system and a schedule and keep to it as much as you can. Do you keep a large folder with all of your classes with a colour coded system? Or do you prefer to keep each class separate with a folder for your handouts? No matter how simple or complicated your system may seem to be consistency is key. So try to keep the system as simple for you as possible. After all if it’s really fancy or complicated you may be less likely to stick to the system in the long run.

Thinking back to the first year that I started at University I truly believed that I was prepared the moment I got my supplies. Even though that was somewhat true I found later on into the year that I could have definitely have been more organised. If you want to know how I personally prepare for going back to school and how my system has changed check out the post.

5. Get into a Routine

When you were younger and attended school you always had a set routine in place. And being in University should be no different. Attending a university will help with this as they will provide a university schedule. If you decide to study from a distance that may not be provided. For me being a distance learner I was never given a kind of schedule unlike in an actual university environment. However, I soon created my own routine that worked best for me especially with how busy life can be when you’re an adult. Todays post won’t cover my personal daily routines, however, I will cover them in a post in the near future.

I have found that since putting in a daily routine I have been more productive each and every day. Being productive gives me a lot of motivation. I also track what I accomplish each day which also helps to enhance my motivation and pride as well. I would definitely suggest whilst you prepare to go back to start thinking and creating a routine that will help. And keep you from feeling so overwhelmed as remember your health is the most important thing especially your mental health.

6. Create or find a distraction-free zone

One of the biggest issues that I discovered early on in my University career was breaking away from distractions. Especially when studying at home it is easy to find yourself scrolling through social media or YouTube. This is what I used to do up until I decided no more distractions and so how do I avoid them now? For me I have found that the best way to limit distractions is to be as focused as possible. To do this I tend to take an hour before starting my studies for the day creating my to-do-list and getting into the study mindset.

So I would suggest taking time for yourself to get into the needed mindset you need for getting through your studies that day. Also, It is easier to take one day at a time as each day is different and we all have those days where we don’t want to get out of bed. I have had countless days where I have just wanted to sleep the day away even since starting the blog. But I find getting up and washed and changed truly helps me to stay motivated. Another good idea to help you stay focused is to head to the library after maybe grabbing yourself a hot drink. Whatever works for you is the best method.

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7. Get Real & Ready

When looking at your homework that you have to get done tonight, be realistic with how long it actually takes. Reading that book chapter may take up to 5 hours depending on the length. Writing a response may take 30 minutes. So make sure you plan out an appropriate amount of time. Especially when it comes to assignments, you may receive a checklist with what they expect you to cover. So look through each assignment and plan out on average how long it will take you to complete. Add an extra hour just in case!

8. Use class time wisely

Class.. Ugh! Why would you even mention that thing? Before I am due to head back to school I feel like I don’t have time to get things done. Have you ever felt this way? Where you look at yourself and think I don’t have enough time for this? Well Me too! When it comes to class I say that yes that time may be used on other things. But why not spend that time in class doing just that? Instead of laying in bed get up, get changed and make the most out of the day!

Is your tutor due to finish lecturing but you still have 10 minutes left of the class? Think of what you can use that time for. Do you have homework or an assignment to do? Well why not spend those extra minutes on that task while it’s still fresh in your mind? Or use the time to ask your tutor about things you may not be sure about. Or spend time to write out a list of what you need to get done. Review the notes taken. Reward yourself with a nice treat on the way home especially if you’ve just gone back to school.

9. Look over the notes taken previously before going back to school

Get into the routine of looking over any notes that is relevant to what you will be studying this year. I cannot swear by this enough. Once you go back to school can make you feel like you’ve forgotten everything from the year before. To avoid this it’s easier to just reflect on the notes you took the year before to refresh your memory.

Go as far to fill in details, edit the parts that don’t make sense & star or highlight important information. Interacting with your notes will help you to remember them and what you have learnt in the past. This will come in useful when coming across that topic again if you’re much like me and study similar things.

10. Study a little bit every day

Cramming for that exam or assignment may work in the short-term but not when it comes time for midterms. You will find yourself back at square one. You’ll remember the information enough to ace a quiz but reviewing the terms helps you store them for the long haul. I learned to get a bunch of blank flashcards for definitions to use when I need the boost. But just because this method works for me doesn’t mean it will for you so find what works for you.

11. Don’t let that bad grade get you down

Having a rough start to the semester doesn’t have to sink your GPA. Take proactive steps by checking your grades online often and getting further guidance from a tutor if you need to. One bad grade doesn’t mean that you will fail the whole school year. I’ve felt disheartened by a grade myself in the past and to get over that I would often review the feedback received from my tutor. And then I will ensure that I make sure that I do my best to incorporate the feedback into my future assignments.

Take time to reflect

So if you do get a bad grade reflect on it and then move on. Even if you spend the evening you get the grade focusing on yourself that is okay. You need to take time to heal and as I often mention your mental health is the most important thing so make sure you take care of yourself. If you need to take time to yourself and watch a film, eat ice cream do it but get back on the wagon the next day.

12. Make friends whenever you go back to school

At the start of every school year try to find a few people. Especially if they have the same classes as you do. That way if you have a question about something in the homework, class or assignment you have support. If you miss a class they can catch you up on what you missed as you can for them. And the best thing about making friends is you’ll already have a study group which helps when it comes to exam season. Plus what could be better than having a group of like minded people to spend time with outside of class.

Finding that support network

Having that support in place especially when you’re in a new environment is the best thing that you can have. There may be times that you need that support and without having those connections it can become difficult. It is one of the reasons I am considering one of the universities for my masters degree as I will already have support there.

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So whether you are going back to school or supporting someone who is I hope that my tips and tricks help you. I know with the start of my final year just being around the corner. I couldn’t resist sharing what I have learnt over the years before it’s all over. With all that being said that brings this post to its close. If you like what you read please like, comment or follow my blog. I post every Wednesday and Sunday and by following ensures that you know. You can also share this post on all social media by clicking the buttons below have I mentioned it’s free?

Until next time, Bye Guys.
~ K.

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2 thoughts on “Back to School: Twelve Important Tips & Tricks

  1. I love the “start out small when going back to school” this is really a great reminder after being away from school for a long time because of lockdown. Thank you for sharing these xx

    1. Thank you so much, with a lot of people being away from education for a while due to the pandemic o thought I better take that into consideration

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