In most states, college classes start up again next week, and to be honest - I'm jealous. I miss the anticipation and excitement of beginning a new semester.
If you're not feeling particularly enthused (or even if you are), below are the top 5 things to ensure you enjoy and are prepared for the beginning of what can be a truly exciting semester. The best news? It's up to you.
1. Start setting your alarm for school time (don't hate me). When I have extended periods of time off I tend to stay up later and later, waking up closer and closer to the PM. And it's always those first few days of adjusting back to waking up early that hit the hardest. Starting to get up early a few days before you have to will ensure you are truly refreshed and ready for your first class.
2. Get all of your books. I know this sounds obvious, but if you've already been to college you know there are often many people (maybe even you) who wait and get their books the same week of class. True story: I've never had to stand in a long line in the college bookstore - ever - because I always went weeks before class. The long lines and the stress are not a great way to start off the semester, and the truth is they can be avoided (with the exception of last minute course changes of course). As much as possible, grab your books early (and, huge bonus, professors will notice you're prepared).
3. Set out an outfit. Okay so I know this can sound cheesy and it may not be for everyone, but I still got a thrill from laying my clothes out the night before class (and/or getting a new outfit when I could afford it). It was something I did in middle and high school before the first day, and it's a habit I carried over to college. Picking it out the night before saves time in the morning, and the care you put into your appearance on that first day really does send a message that you are excited to face the new semester.
4. Get a backpack/tote you love. Another thing I loved doing was getting a new tote for all my college stuff (doesn't have to be expensive, just something you really like). Since I was a commuter, being able to carry as many things as possible was key, since I couldn't drop stuff off in a dorm in between classes. I know it seems simple, but these small touches can make you feel surprisingly good. Building up that emotional momentum the week before will motivate you to have a successful semester.
5. Choose an event to attend on the student life calendar. Many students start class and wait a while before getting involved in clubs and organizations. Starting out early enables you to get leadership positions (some come with scholarships) and start connecting with people early on. The earlier you get involved the more engaged you will feel in your day-to-day college life. So after you finish reading this blog, go to your college's website and look for the events calendar. Choose at least one event to attend the first week or two of classes (I highly recommend any sort of Club Recruitment event). And then - show up.
Figuring out what it takes to get you excited about school is more important to your grades, and even financial success, than you may realize. Your level of emotional engagement affects your success. So figure out what gets you excited and go for it! Start school off with a positive and prepared attitude, and you might just be amazed at the things you make happen this semester.