Tips for Getting Back in the New Semester Mindset

Winter break is amazing. We sleep in until noon every day, catch up on the list of books we have wanted to read, spend most of our days with family and friends, and have absolutely no responsibilities. It’s the second best time of the school year, second only to summer break because summer break lasts three months instead of one.
Sadly, winter break comes to a screeching halt in late January and we have to go back to school. It can be quite a shocking experience. Sunday you are still sleeping in until noon and spending your days completely carefree. Then Monday rolls around: Your alarm goes off at 8:00 in the morning, your first professor passes out the thickest and most demanding syllabus you have ever seen, and you are left wondering what happened to your life?
There are a few things you can do to ease yourself back into the stresses of the semester. You can start acclimating yourself back into semester-mode with these tips so that the first day back to classes will hopefully not be as distressing as the one I had last year.
1. Start cutting those zzz’s a week before classes begin. If you’re used to getting up at noon every day for a month, of course eight o’clock is going to seem brutal. But if you start easing yourself into it, it might not seem as bad. Start setting your alarm for a little bit earlier every day of the week before classes start. Then, when your alarm goes off so early on Monday, it might not seem like it is actually that early.
2. If you are taking new classes, buy your books before classes begin. Take your class schedule to the school bookstore, and pick up the textbooks you know you will need to start the semester. This will be one less thing on the long list of things you’ll have to do during the first few days of classes and will help to lessen your stress level.
3. Start reading those books. If you did Step 2, you already have your books. Pick a book that seems interesting to you, and skim the first few chapters. This will also help your brain wake up from the semi-hibernation of winter break.
4. Organize your study zone. Clear old files from your computer, throw away old notebooks and flashcards, buy new pencils and pens, etc. If you have a clean, clear, and organized place to study, it might not be as bad to sit down and actually study. If you want, you could even buy a decoration for your desk, like a pet fish.
Nobody really likes giving up the freedom of winter break, but we can make it a slightly more enjoyable process. Good luck with the new semester. Just think: Only four months until summer!