How to Be Prepared for School
This post is about as dry as day old toast, but I feel it's necessary to talk about. For most of us college kids, school begins again next week. I know, you can hardly contain your excitement. School can be horrifying: long hours of homework, hysterical bouts of studying, unreasonable professors and annoying classmates all of which results in binge-drinking, forgetting to eat, overeating, and perhaps even a serious consideration of dropping out and running away to the circus. I've had my fair share of hellacious semesters where I feel like I'm constantly on the brink of tears, but one way I've found to cope with the hysteria is to go into the semester entirely prepared. Sounds easy, right? Maybe even cheesy, cliche advice? Trust me, it's worth more than it sounds like.
1. Invest in a planner.
Luckily, most colleges provide students with planners around the first week of school. However, if your school doesn't fall under this umbrella, a planner is easy enough to find. You can pick one up for super cheap at Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, etc. No skin off your back.
2. Actually use your planner.
It's easy to buy the planner, but it's just as easy to throw it in your backpack and forget it exists. Make it a point to use it daily. Yeah, it's a little old school, but nothing gives you the thrill quite like physically crossing off a task you've completed with a pen. A sense of accomplishment, and it's impossible to fall behind on homework.
3. Meal prep.
This term has kind of been given a stigma by obsessive bodybuilders and workout pushers, but it absolutely has merit. No, you don't have to steam five pounds of broccoli and divide it into 600 containers of dry, flavorless chicken, but taking an hour or two out of the week to set yourself up a few plastic containers of food really helps save time and ensure that you stay nourished during long hours of studying. Some of my favorites: quinoa, kale, feta, cherry tomato, and cucumber salads--takes about 15 minutes to cook the quinoa and the rest you just chop up and throw in. Top it off with a spicy avocado dressing or just some slivers of avocado. Black bean, corn, tortilla strips, diced tomatoes, red onion, and romaine lettuce--another easy thing to throw together and is packed with flavor and protein. Trust me, you will thank your past self when you open the fridge and see three or four containers waiting for you, ready to throw in a lunch bag. Don't forget to bring a fork!
4. Bring a form of entertainment.
Seasoned college students are well aware that we can really get fucked over in our schedules--sometimes we'll have one class and then have to wait 3 hours for the next one to start. You may ask yourself, how can I bide the time wisely? Well, this is always an opportunity to get a head start on your homework so you don't have to stay up late doing it. However, let's say you're done with homework and have nothing else to do: make sure to have handy your favorite book, a magazine, some Netflix on your phone--anything to take your mind off the present for a moment and bring you a sense of comfort and enjoyment. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.
5. Pack a treat once a week.
Once a week, bring yourself a little guilty pleasure to school. Some examples: a slab of chocolate, a nice big cup of coffee, some nail polish to apply during downtime. You'd be surprised, but even allowing yourself the smallest thing to look forward to can drastically improve your week.
These are just a few things I practice during the semester to keep my sanity. What do you do? Any bit of advice helps--we're all in this crazy ride together.