The "Back To School High"

Alright! So we're back to school and ready to learn! We're all extremely happy and can't wait to go to our classes and use our new school supplies, but there is one inevitable truth waiting for us at the beginning of the second week: being over it. This is called the "Back To School High", and we all know it too well. How do we overcome this? What's the secret to staying motivated and productive throughout the semester? Well, I'm here to give you some tips, tricks, and advice to CRUSH your 2017-2018 school year! The most important areas of your school ethic include: organization, time management, and study habits. So let's get started!

Organization 📚

You know its bound to happen. Your binders, lockers, and backpack will become the remains of a tornado passing through it. To keep this from happening, it's important to keep track of your school supplies. Being consistent about managing your agenda and schedule is extremely important. Keep your classes color coded and events on your monthly spread noted. If you have a section in your agenda that let's you plan your day by the hour, use it. Make sure to have your classes recorded by color indicating classroom numbers and teachers in a section of your agenda, either in the back or in the notes section. Some students decide to print their syllabi and put it in the front of their binders, but it's important to keep in mind that you won't have those with you all the time. If all the data is recorded in something you take with you everywhere -school and home- you can easily refer to the information when necessary. An important decision to make before school is your set up. Binders? Notebooks paired with folders? Or mainly your computer? (In another article I will be talking about the importance and efficiency and being a green student) Whatever you decide to do, manage this system with consistency. Consistency is key. Besides your day-to-day supplies, keep an organized study space. Make sure before you leave for school, have your bed made and desk clear. You want to come back in a space that is decluttered so you can think clearly. Your workspace reflects your mind space. My last piece of advice is to keep a toiletries pouch or bag with you when you're at school. You never know what's going to happen...

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Here is what my desk looks like when I'm planning my assignments

Time Managment ⏰

It's quite a common saying: time is beyond our control. But as a student, we need to control and manage our time properly. Completing homework assignments and reaching due dates in time is probably what haunts our minds day in and day out (even when we're sleeping). My biggest piece of advice is to plan ahead. Don't let these tasks creep up behind you. Face them head on by acknowledging them the moment they are presented to you. Jot down assignments teachers mention in class in your schedule. It's natural for my classmates and I to keep our agendas at the end of our desk for the class. Try to do this if you have the space. Make sure to favorite or bookmark you school's portal so you can access the calendar. View upcoming homeworks, quizzes, tests, presentations, and even school activites and write them down in the monthly spread of your agenda. I did this the weekend before school started, from August to June. Another neat tool to refer to is your class syllabus. Usually, teachers are required to include a "Course Progression". This allows you to know what topics are going to be presented in class and what projects and tests will be given by the weeks. Take advantage of it! If your teachers use Google Classroom, download the app on your phone and or tablet. Being able to view the information whenever you need to refer to it will be a big help. The weekend isn't solely for relaxing. Chose a time to wake up at and start cranking out that work! The earlier you do your work, the earlier the real weekend beings! Another big piece of advice is to plan your week. Sit down, either on a Saturday or Sunday and plan your entire week. What assignments are coming up? What assessments will I be taking? Will there be any activities I want to take part it? What will I do after school? What goals do I have? Ask yourself these questions and reflect the answers through a weekly spread. This will give a sense of direction and purpose throughout the week. This is particularly why bullet journaling is becoming more popular. Always know where you're going to be. Whether that be before school starts or after, make sure you have a designated place to go. If you have no activities or sports, go to a library or quiet place where you know you can get work done. Consider this, especially if you know you get distracted at home. Make sure to spread out study sessions throughout the week. Never cram the day before. Not only does this method prove to be unsuccessful, you will find yourself without enough time. Also take in account of balance. Is your week balanced? Give attention to multiple areas of your life, including school work, personal fitness (I will be writing an article about the importance of health for students' performance), and free time! SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP! I know it seems difficult to get enough sleep while completing all of your work, but if you don't manage your time well, your brain will suffer the consequences. To know what time to go to bed use, you can use the Bed Time app on your IOS device or a website called http://sleepyti.me This allows you to calculate the time to go to bed depending the time you want to wake up and vise versa. Use the Bed Time app as a companion by imputing the time you calculated. Select your preferred sound to wake up to and hit the sack! What I enjoy about the Bed Time app is the sounds you wake up to because they are soft and soothing rather than classical alarm sounds. They start out very quiet and gradually increase in volume, so you will wake up! I prefer "Birdsong" if you are not sure what to chose ;)

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Here are my calculated times to go to sleep. I chose one and imported that information into my Bed Time app. You can chose whichever time works best for you

Study Tips 💡

You've been there. You walk into your room, get out your study material, and stare at notes not really knowing what you're doing. It's important to ask yourself this question as a student: how do I study? What works for someone might not work for the next, so a universal answer is impossible. Depending on the person, the method will vary. Some students are more visual, while others are more literal. For the visual students, consider mind maps, diagrams, slide shows like PowerPoint and Keynote. If you're using Cornell notes, make the topics section colorful and full of banners with titles, arrows linking ideas, and asterisks indicating quick, important notes. For the more literal and factual students, organize your typed/handwritten material. Break up topics and create individual sections. Don't let the material mesh into one big lecture. Avoid full sentences and repeating information. For all students, consider study groups. Teaching others and learning from peers has been proven to help students grasp information with more confidence. If you can't explain an idea to someone, then you don't quite have it down yourself. This will be a learning experience in two ways: you'll learn new information about the material and about yourself. Maybe you don't quite have the information as solid as you thought you did. It's okay. Revise your study habits or method for note-taking. Here are some:

Note-taking

  • Cornell notes
  • Editing on class handouts/presentations
  • The classic bullets and dashes to link facts with details
  • Linking bullets/dashes (don't write details, only main ideas so you can fill them in mentally)
  • Annotating textbooks
  • Recording class lectures/presentations

Study Methods

  • Rewriting class notes so they are visually pleasing and organized, while reviewing the material
  • Fill in the blanks/practice tests
  • Quizlet - https://quizlet.com
  • Study sessions with friends
  • Talking to yourself (you'll look crazy but it's pretty effective)
  • Writing down everything you know on a blank page
  • Record yourself explaining it and listen back when reviewing again

Make sure that throughout the process of studying you are rewarding yourself. Don't pack all that information into your brain without pacing yourself properly. Some if it useful to take a short snack break (I will be writing an article on snacks and foods that boost productivity and energy) and then continue their work. Also, make sure to study throughout the span of multiple days. Teachers shouldn't assign quizzes or test the class before, so you should have at least 2-3 days to study. If not, then you already know either a week or weeks beforehand. Use resources your teachers give to help you study as well. Some will upload study guides and reviews on their class pages so check those out too!

Staying Motivated 📈

Now that you have some direction to lead you to a more effective and efficient work ethic, it is important to remain motivated. Watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, and read books and articles about study habits and organizational tips. Clearly you're already a motivated student because you're here reading this article! Keep it up! If you start to notice you are slipping into unproductive habits, acknowledge it. This is the most important characteristic of a successful student.

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