After getting a much-deserved break from studying, it’s time to get back into your school routine. If you’re like many college students, you’re likely not thrilled about your upcoming assignments, exams, and other responsibilities. However, the new semester may also bring new friendships and exciting experiences. Keep that positive note in mind and follow these tips for rejoining college life.

Get Your Sleep Cycle Back on Track

Did you sleep in later than usual during the holidays? Do you now have early morning classes to deal with? Going to bed sooner isn’t as easy as staying up later, but you can definitely change your sleep routine over time. The trick is to do it gradually.

Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every two to three days. If you have trouble falling asleep, try dimming or turning off the lights — including light from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone screen — before going to bed. Also, don’t sleep in too late and try not to nap during the day. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. Waking up earlier is rough at first, but it gets easier with time.

Unpack Your Personal Belongings

If you haven’t done so already, unpack your suitcase and anything else you brought back from home. Leaving it out keeps your mind stuck in holiday mode. Do you have winter-themed decorations in your apartment or dorm room? Take those down, too. You’ll be able to study better if you focus on the present.

Get Familiar With Your New Schedule

Make sure to check your class schedule at least a few days before the new semester starts. Nobody wants to show up on Wednesday only to realize class was actually on Tuesday. It’s also a good idea to review the syllabus for each class so you’ll know what textbooks you need and when. Buying them before classes start will save you time and hassle later. You may also want to check the dates for assignments and exams so you know what sort of workload to expect.

Make Needed Changes

Now is also a great time to review your past semester. Did you have trouble handing in papers on time? Did you take on too many shifts at your part-time job? Maybe an extracurricular activity took up more time than you expected. Ask yourself if you can benefit from a different routine. Then, make whatever adjustments you need, whether that’s penciling in more study time, asking for fewer shifts, or learning how to get more organized.

Have Something to Look Forward To

If you have nothing to look forward to besides long study sessions, that makes for a grim semester. Instead, make time for something you enjoy. Schedule a night out with the friends you made last semester, join a club, or sign up for a fitness class. Take up a new hobby or restart an old one. You’ll readjust to college life more easily if you have something fun planned out.

Do you need help settling into a new semester? Try at least one of these tips and see if it helps you get back on track.

A New Year is here, and that means a new semester and exams and all that fun stuff. It’s a good idea to establish a study routine right off the bat. Establishing a study routine is important, but if you do the same thing day in and day out, you’ll soon find yourself in a rut. Once there, it’s much harder to stay focused and get results. Pull yourself out of that rut and shake things up with these unconventional study tips.

Study While Working Out

Aerobic exercise fires up the hippocampus, your brain’s learning and memory nerve center. Scheduling gym sessions around your study schedule can be beneficial, but why not work your brain and body at the same time?

German researchers found that foreign language students who studied while walking or cycling retained more. And there’s nothing suggesting it only works for languages. Try listening to an educational audiobook while you’re riding your bike or reading study notes while you’re on the treadmill. Just don’t push yourself too hard. Intense workouts can elevate stress levels and impair your memory.

Go Somewhere Different

We’re all creatures of habit. Chances are you always study in the same place. Perhaps it’s the same corner of the library or at your desk in your dorm. Over time, spending time in the same study space can become so tedious that you lose interest. When you feel your focus fading, crack open your books somewhere else. You’ll get the best results in reasonably quiet and distraction-free study spaces. Cafes, empty classrooms, and parks are all perfect places. Many co-working offices also welcome students.

If you really want to mix things up, try studying in the branches of a tree or the top of a mountain. You’ll certainly get a new perspective!

Become an Early Bird

Most college students claim they can’t function early in the morning. But have you ever really tested this theory? Rather than cramming for exams until the wee hours, switch up your study habits. Get up early and hit the books first thing. By early, we mean early. You’ll want to rise before everyone else to enjoy the calm, distraction-free stillness of the morning.

Before you shoot down the idea because you think it means missing those late-night parties, consider this. Studies show people are more productive and alert if they split their sleep up. Waking early for study, then napping before class, could actually help you function!

Set Better Goals

How much do you actually accomplish during your study sessions? If you aren’t studying productively, goal setting can help you turn things around. Good goals keep you accountable. Planning a two-hour study session might sound good in theory, but it’s useless if you spend that time rearranging pens and sending text messages. Better goals would be completing a practice math exam or writing an essay. You’ll probably study more efficiently if you know your study session won’t end until you complete your goal.

We all learn differently, so some study strategies will help you retain knowledge more effectively than others. Try these unconventional strategies, see what works best for you, and add your favorites to your regular study plan. They might just help you ace your next exam!

As the new semester approaches, it’s tempting to kick back and relax. If you can’t rest now without deadlines looming, when can you? However, some smart preparation now can help you get organized for your return to school.

Chat With Your Adviser

Your adviser is a valuable resource as the new semester approaches. He or she can confirm whether the electives you’re interested in are a good fit for your schedule and goals and also tell what you can expect from different courses. Your adviser can also confirm dates for registration, drop dates, and other important dates to help you stay organized.

It’s much easier to see your adviser before the semester begins, as most students are busy enjoying their vacation. Once school returns, you’ll find appointment spaces fill quickly. Don’t risk missing out; arrange an appointment with your adviser now to learn everything you need to organize your school schedule.

Buy a Planner and Start Using It

A planner is a great way to keep organized. Go old school here. Physically writing things down helps you commit them to memory much better than typing does. Find a planner you really love and you’ll be more likely to use it.

There’s no time like the present to start using your planner. Fill in as much as you can before the semester starts, like your class schedule, due dates, and any upcoming appointments. The earlier you start using your planner, the more likely it is the habit will stick.

Get Your Textbooks

A new semester typically means new textbooks. If you wait until the semester begins, you’ll probably pay too much. Get a jump on your competition and you could find great deals on used textbooks. You’ll also have time to look through them before the semester begins. Having an idea of the coursework ahead will help you approach your semester with confidence. Campus Books is a great resource for you to use to find the lowest prices on new, used and rental books. Try to get the book assignments from your professor before classes start, so you can buy them early and typically get a lower price.

Take Stock of School Supplies

Look over your school supplies and buy anything you’ll need, such as blank workbooks and stationery. Don’t forget the sticky notes and highlighters! You might be able to repurpose some stuff from last semester, but you’ll probably have some gaps. Filling them now will make sure you have everything you need once you’re back in the classroom.

Clean Up Your Dorm

When you’re hard at work, clutter tends to build up. Your semester break is the perfect time to clean your space, so you can start the new term fresh. Clearing away the clutter will help you operate more efficiently, as you’ll know where everything is. You’ll also feel less stressed and fatigued in your newly cleaned, organized space. The last thing you need starting a new semester is another thing stressing you out! Clean up your dorm and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel and work when school returns.

Recharging your batteries over the break is important, but don’t forget to prepare for the coming semester. The effort you put in before the semester can help you be organized when you return to school.

Exam season can test the nerves of even the coolest, calmest students. Stress levels soar, anxiety is common, and most students feel perpetually exhausted. So how can you handle this emotional time of year? Try these super exam time strategies!

Make a Plan

Getting through exam season with good grades and minimal stress rarely happens by accident. Creating a clear plan increases your chance of success. The more specific your plan, the better. Knowing what you’re doing helps you feel more in control.

Mark out your exam schedule first. Double-check dates and times. Discuss any conflicts with your professors as soon as possible. Use your exam schedule to plan your study regime. Allow extra time for your weakest subjects.

Stick With Healthy Habits

Healthy habits are easily broken during exam season. Late-night cram sessions seem to make more sense than sleeping. And how would you get through them without junk food, sodas, and sugary snacks? You reason you’ll take better care of yourself once exam season’s over, but by then it will be too late.

Your brain can’t function well without good food and sleep. Eating regular meals packed with vitamins and minerals improves memory, alertness, and focus. Your brain can’t form or maintain the pathways it needs to learn and make memories when it’s deprived of sleep. Sleep-deprived people also can’t concentrate or respond as quickly as well-rested people. Sleep seven to nine hours each night for the best results.

Proper hydration is also important for staving off headaches and staying alert. Coffee is every student’s secret exam weapon, but it’s dehydrating, like other caffeinated beverages. Alternating your cups of Joe with water keeps you hydrated.

Take Time Out

You’ve probably heard from parents and teachers that studying should be your top priority during exam season. While studying certainly matters, it shouldn’t occupy your every waking moment. If you become too obsessed with studying, your stress level could impair your memory.

A little stress is an effective motivator, but keep it in check. When you feel overwhelmed, take time out to regain some balance. Do something that calms you down, such as practicing yoga, coloring, or reading a novel. As little as 30 minutes of “me time” makes a massive difference.

Talk About It

Bottling your emotions can trigger depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Reduce the risks by talking about exam time and your emotions with trusted family and friends.

Friends can be good sounding boards as they’re in the same boat. As you discuss your shared experiences, you’ll feel less alone. You might even be able to share some study tips. A little venting is fine, but watch out for conversations that fuel your stress. If chatting makes you feel more worried about your preparation about the exams ahead, it’s not productive.

Older siblings who’ve graduated from college, student counselors, teachers, and understanding parents may also help support you through your exams. Open up and you might be surprised who’s there for you.

Getting through exam season might seem impossible, but don’t lose hope. These proven strategies should help you survive this trying time relatively unscathed!

It’s your last year of college, and you have a full-blown case of senioritis. Your coursework is the last thing on your mind. All you can think about is what’s next. But before you graduate, you need to finish your classes, get some work experience, and spend quality time with friends. Find out how to combat senioritis and pass your final year of college with flying colors.

Organize Your Life

As a college senior, you’ve already been juggling a zillion activities and balancing a packed schedule for three years. You’re probably ready for a break.

As tempting as it might be to let a few things go during your senior year, don’t give in. Instead, come up with a game plan that will make you feel less stressed and more organized. Think about setting one big goal for each month. Plan to finish grad school applications or meet with your school’s career services team — one step at a time.

Know What Motivates You

Tapping into your motivation during your senior year of college isn’t always easy. What you have to realize, however, is that getting and staying motivated only gets harder as you add more to your plate.

That’s why it’s so important to find out what motivates you now so you can keep pushing yourself when you really need to. Maybe you love surprising yourself with how much you can accomplish. Perhaps you get a kick out of making your family proud. Either way, find out what works for you now and use it to motivate you this year and beyond.

Conquer Your Fears

Everyone has fears. Even if you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished in college, doubts in the back of your mind could prevent you from doing your best this year or in the future.

To move past your fears, assess what they are and face them. Maybe you have imposter syndrome or are nervous about committing to your first year-long job. Talk with your adviser, your friends, and those you trust and get to the bottom of the problem so you can move forward.

Keep Building Your Network

Senioritis has a way of making you feel like you’ve already done enough. When it comes to growing your network, however, there’s always more to do.

Throughout your senior year, make time to connect with professors over coffee. Get to know your adviser better. Join a new professional group at school and attend all the events. Being extra social might seem exhausting, but the connections you make will be worth it.

Make Time for Self-Care

Even when you’re organized and motivated, surviving your senior year can be tough. Avoid being too hard on yourself, even if you don’t get straight A’s or you’re still on the waitlist for your dream grad school program.

To skip feeling overstressed, make time for self-care. Do what makes you feel good. Let yourself take a nap in the middle of the day, hit the gym every afternoon with no exceptions, or treat yourself to your favorite meal once a week.

Staying sane during your final year of college is as easy as following these five easy steps. Keep senioritis at bay, and you’ll finish your college career ready to conquer what’s to come.

Senior year is here. Before you know it, you’ll be slipping on your cap and gown, accepting your diploma, and celebrating four amazing years with your BFFs. Not sure if you’re ready for life after college? You still have lots of time to make this the best year yet. Set yourself up for success by doing these four essential things during your senior year of college.

Take a Class That Expands Your Horizons

During the first few years of college, your class schedule is usually packed with courses you need for your major. But when you’re a senior, you probably have at least a couple of spare time slots. Why fill them with snooze-worthy classes?

Instead, enroll in a course that takes you out of your comfort zone. Learn the basics of coding, or try performing arts on for size. You might not land on a new career path, but you’ll definitely learn something new and have a more well-rounded perspective.

Make Friends and Form Connections

As a senior, you already have a solid squad. You grab dinner with your BFFs after class, go out with them every weekend, and offer laughs and support around the clock. But having an amazing crew doesn’t mean you should stop putting yourself out there.
During your senior year, get strategic. Make friends with that super-ambitious girl at the top of your class or that guy who landed an internship at your dream company. Form deeper connections with professors. Start building out your network now, and you’ll have great connections to draw on later.

Rack Up Some Work Experience

In your last year of college, getting decent grades and squeezing in time with your crew might seem like all you can handle. Adding a job to the mix can sound like way too much. Without work experience, though, you might not truly know what you want to do after you graduate. Think of your college job as a key step in creating a life plan that makes you happy and your parents proud. Not sure where to start? Talk with friends, professors, or even your college’s career services office to learn about internships or entry-level gigs that offer essential work experience.

Rethink Your Online Life

When you’re living your best life in college, it’s easy to focus on having fun. Over the course of three years, your social media profiles might look like one long party. While there’s nothing wrong with having a great time, remember that the content you post online could influence your future employers’ hiring decisions. After all, they want to make sure you’re a capable person who’s an asset to their team.

Even if you hate the idea of censoring yourself, do a basic audit of your online life. Put your best foot forward with photos and content that make you look like a rock star to the general public. Save the rest for family, friends, and everyone else that makes the cut behind your privacy settings.

Your senior year is arguably the most important in your college career. Do it justice by adding these four essential tasks to your to-do list.

Meal plans are expensive, so many students have no choice but to handle grocery shopping and cooking on their own. But don’t fret. It’s possible to survive without a meal plan — even if it will be your first time purchasing food on your own and cooking it.

Get Some Basic Cooking Supplies

To master cooking on your own, you need some basic supplies. Pick up some pots and pans, a can opener, a cutting board, knives, measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, a slotted spoon and spatula, and flatware. If your dorm or apartment doesn’t have a microwave and toaster, bring those appliances.

Extras like a blender or juicer aren’t essential, but they can help you add some healthy variety to your diet. Plus, smoothies are easy to grab in the morning if you’re in a rush. Invest in some plastic food storage containers as well. This will help you store seconds and eliminate the need to wrap extras in foil or zip-close bags.

Keep in mind that if you have a small room or will be hand-washing dishes, it may be easier to only get enough bowls, plates, pots, and pans for one day of cooking. This will reduce clutter and force you to clean up after each meal rather than letting dishes pile up.

Invest in a Good Coffee Maker

If you like coffee, a good coffee maker is essential. Coffee from cafes is expensive, and preparing your own brew at home is easy and a fraction of the cost. Plus, your coffee maker can also brew loose leaf tea.

Conquer the Grocery Store

Create a list of the groceries you need, and head to the store early in the morning or late at night to beat the crowds. Consider making trips to the store once per week and only picking up what you need for that week. This will eliminate clutter, and it will reduce the likelihood of food being wasted before you can eat it.

Master Spices and Veggies

If you’re on a budget, spices and veggies can take your meals to the next level. For example, you can prepare ramen noodles with some spices and squash, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Mix in some crunched-up tortilla chips and add a dollop of sour cream to turn soup or ramen from plain to impressive.

Prepare Your Meals for the Week

If you have the time, preparing future meals and freezing them can make cooking for yourself much easier. For example, instead of preparing a single helping of chicken and pasta, you can prepare enough for a few days and freeze the extras in plastic containers. You’ll just need to grab the container from the fridge and microwave it.

This strategy is also good for smoothies. Prepare a large batch and store it in a pitcher. For breakfast a few days out of the week, you’ll just need to pour a glass and pick out some fruit or a pastry to complete your meal.

Surviving without a meal plan may seem like a challenge, but it’s a great opportunity to exercise your independence and save some money. Follow these tips, and you’ll grow to love preparing your own meals every week.

It happens to the best of us. Exam week seems so far away, and there’s all the time in the world to study — until suddenly there isn’t. Cramming is now the only option. To make the most of your cramming sessions, make sure to avoid these three study habits.

Rereading Your Notes

You’ll need to study your notes, of course, but you won’t remember much by simply rereading them. Rereading helps with recognition but not recall. If you want to ace your exams, you’ll need to use a different study method.

People remember information more easily when they process it on a deeper level. To do this, you can rewrite the material in a way that makes sense to you. You could also explain facts and concepts — in your own words — to a study partner. It may feel like you’re spending more time than usual on each topic, but you’ll remember far more this way than by skimming through your notes.

Cramming Way Too Late

There’s regular cramming, and then there’s last-minute-panic cramming. If you’ve waited until the day of your exam to start studying, your anxiety will go through the roof. The more stressed you feel, the more difficult it is to remember anything. Another common mistake students make is staying up late cramming the night before. You might be able to pull it off, but you’ll be sleep-deprived during the exam, and your performance will suffer.

Try to set aside a reasonable amount of time to cram for an exam. You’ll need more study time for the more difficult exams or for the classes you’re most behind in. Giving yourself one or two extra days to study (even if you really need another six days) can make the difference between passing or failing.

Studying Too Long in One Session

If your exam is only a day or two away, you may feel you have no choice but to study for eight hours straight. However, you won’t retain much information this way. Most students can only study for 25 to 30 minutes before their concentration falters. If you have a limited amount of time to study, you want to use that time as efficiently as possible.

Break up a longer study session into smaller, multiple periods of 25 to 30 minutes. Take breaks of at least 15 minutes between each study period. Do something you enjoy on your break, such as grabbing a snack or going for a short walk. According to Dr. Marty Lobdell, a psychology professor, it’s possible (with training) to extend your study-time endurance to an hour or even several hours. Unless you’ve already trained yourself, however, it’s better to keep your cram sessions short and frequent.

Even though it’s better to avoid cramming altogether, sometimes it happens anyway. The next time you find yourself short on time, make sure to set aside more study time for the most difficult classes, study your notes on a deeper level, and take regular breaks during your cram session.

College roommates are a fact of life. You get to make potential life long friends, but you also have to learn how to manage and share expenses. The best way to split expenses might seem like a no-brainer. However, your idea of what’s reasonable may be completely different from what your roommates think; keep these tips in mind to help you manage your shared roommate expenses.

Set Rules Ahead of Time

Your bill payments will go by more smoothly if you and your roommates have a plan. You’ll need to decide who pays for what, how much each person pays, and when payments are due. Costs to consider include utilities, cable, Wi-Fi, and groceries.

Rent is the biggest consideration. Typically, rent is split evenly between roommates. This arrangement may not work, however, if one person’s room is significantly smaller than the other rooms. That roommate might not want to pay as much as everyone else. If that’s your situation, you can use an online rent splitter calculator to figure out a fair price.

You may also want to create an overnight guest policy. A common issue for roommates is the new girlfriend or boyfriend who suddenly starts sleeping over all the time. How much is too much? At what point — if any — should that person start contributing to the household bills? These are the sort of rules you should set ahead of time to help prevent arguments later.

Keep Some Costs Separate

When it comes to splitting costs, groceries fall into a gray area. You might all agree that common items, such as milk or bread, should be shared, while other items should be purchased separately. For example, your vegetarian roommate will never eat your box of frozen chicken wings, so it makes more sense to buy it yourself. Likewise, you shouldn’t have to pay for her almond butter that you don’t eat.

You should also avoid splitting the cost of furniture and electronics. That way, when it’s time to move out, you won’t have to decide who gets to keep the PlayStation 4. Talk to your roommates ahead of time about what shared items you need and figure out who should pay for what.

Hold Each Other Accountable

Nobody likes confrontation. However, if your roommate is behind on a payment, you can’t just ignore it. Try to bring it up without attacking them. It’s possible that they just forgot or had something come up. If forgetfulness is a common issue, you may want to use a money app such as Splitwise. It helps you keep track and split expenses. It also lets you send reminders for upcoming bills and notifications for outstanding IOUs.

Does one person have a habit of blasting the A/C, and now the utility bill is sky-high? Or maybe you’re the one who keeps eating all the cereal that everyone else pays for? Nobody is perfect, which is why you’ll need to hold each other accountable to keep your finances on track.

Living with roommates helps keep your living costs low, so long as you do it right. Follow these tips, and make sure you’re splitting the expenses fairly.

When you’re in college, keeping up with your coursework is challenging. This is especially true if you have other commitments like a part-time job, on-campus activities, or caring for a child. To keep your stress levels under control, try following these four tips for staying on top of your assignments.

Start Right Away

It’s easy to procrastinate, especially at the start of the semester when you only have one or two readings to do. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to just leave it for later. However, it doesn’t take long for those two chapter readings to turn into three, then four, then five — you get the idea. Certain assignments could also take more time to complete than you expect. Therefore, it’s important to start them early before they snowball into an unmanageable amount of work.

Create a Timetable

The only thing worse than writing an assignment at the last minute is missing the deadline completely. You definitely don’t want to show up to class and wonder why everyone but you is handing in his or her statistics assignments already. Isn’t that due next week? Nope! It’s your biology paper that’s due next week.

To avoid this horrifying situation, use a calendar or an app to keep track of upcoming tests and assignment due dates. Schedule time for studying, and make sure to account for unexpected events. You never know when you could come down with the flu or have a family emergency. Aim to finish your assignments two days early. That way, you’ll have an extra cushion of time in case you need it.

Use the Library

If you’re the type of person who can study in your room without getting distracted by social media or whatever your roommate is doing, you may not need the library. However, it’s the perfect place for those who prefer peace and quiet. The library comes in handy if your printer breaks down or you can’t find the peer-reviewed article you want online. You might even find some of the textbooks you need. Bonus: Depending on your school, the library may also have a coffee shop.

Join a Study Group

If you prefer to work with others or just need help with a particularly tough class, consider joining (or creating) a study group. Other students may have insights or study methods you didn’t think of, and discussing the class material can help you understand it better. If you happen to miss a lecture, someone in your group can fill you in.

A study group also helps you stay motivated. Do you want to be the only one who hasn’t read chapter five yet? Probably not. Just keep in mind that a study group is only helpful if everyone stays focused. Making new friends is great and everything, but you should join a different group if your study sessions feel more like hangout sessions.

College students are notorious for pulling off all-nighters and dealing with last-minute panic, but that doesn’t have to be you. Follow these study tips, and you’ll have a much easier time staying on top of your assignments.