3 Easy Back-to-College Tips

Happy August everyone!

That’s right, I said AUGUST. It’s here now, which means the chaos of “back to school” is too. Unfortunately, next you feel like strolling around Target looking at things you didn’t go there to buy, you’ll start encountering everything marking the end of summer (*tears*).

Although you probably don’t want to be thinking about it at all right now, I have a few ideas for you to slowly prepare ahead of time for going back to school…specifically, back to college. Sure, you could wait ’til the last minute to get on top of things, but why when you have all of the time in the world right now? Soon, your schedule will feel overwhelmed again with full-time class, extra-curricular activities, and maybe even a few part-time jobs if you’re like me. Nothing feels better than going into your first day of class fully prepared to take on the semester, so consider the following to help you stay on a successful path:

Start Planning Out Your Semester


Investing in a nice, organized planner is seriously worth it if you always have a lot going on, or have a horrible memory like me. Giving yourself an easily accessed visual representation of what is coming up in your life keeps you focused and attentive to what you need to be preparing for.

If you already have dates for family events, get them in your planner. If you already know about what times and days of the week you’ll be busy or have class, write them all down.

You’ll feel more productive and less flustered at the start of the school year (which is 27 days from now, eek!) when crunch time starts to kick in. Also, take a look at UMD’s academic calendar to help you note important dates throughout the fall.

Do Some “Fall Cleaning


I’m not referring to cleaning your house here. I’m talking about purging your closet and junk drawers of all of the “stuff” you’ve been collecting but not using. Start with one category at a time (clothes, shoes, old books, school stuff, random items) and make three piles: Sell, Donate and Throw.

Some things you’ve been hanging on to could still turn you a profit via a consignment store, garage sale, or a Facebook marketplace post. It may not be much, but having some extra cash for when school rolls around is always a perk.

Other items you have you may not necessarily be able to sell, but you don’t want to throw them in the trash either. Donate them to your local shelter or Goodwill so that they can actually be used by someone else.

Last but not least, throw away some of the stuff that is just down-right gross. Pair of dirty sneakers you haven’t worn in a few years? Toss. Half-eaten bag of stale Cheetos you find under your bed? Garbage. That pile of coffee-stained papers from your 10th grade writing class? Throw it away! (Well, actually you should recycle it if it is paper but…you get the point). Stop using up your precious space with things that hold no value anymore.

Organize Your Backpack


Your backpack may look exactly how it did on your last day of spring semester classes, and you probably don’t want that for this fall. Go through it, organize your supplies, and toss the stuff leftover you really don’t need.

Buy a few things from the store for classes. You’ll want to make sure your backpack is stocked with at least one pencil so you’re not that person asking to borrow one on the first day of school. Have a couple of notebooks, and your handy-dandy planner.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to throw together a small “emergency” pack to keep in your bag. This can include all the stuff you wish you had with you during school in a pinch, like different medicines, a mini-umbrella, facial tissues, a pair of extra socks, back-up headphones and non-perishable snacks.


Hopefully these ideas come in hand when thinking about what you need to do before school starts. And whatever else you think may help you prepare for this fall semester, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.


Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/01/2017





Planning Ahead for Your Best Semester Yet

One last weekend before school officially starts this Wednesday at UMD! And oddly enough, I’m saying to myself, I’m so freaking excited!!!which isn’t how I usually feel about school. The reason why I feel so confident is because I’ve already started preparing ahead of class starting. This year, I am trying my absolute hardest to cut the procrastination crap and force myself into a mindset that says one word: success.

So, what if you had a crappy fall semester, and you’re in the mindset of failure? Answer: SNAP YOURSELF OUT OF IT. All successful paths are paved by past mistakes. You’re just like everyone else! It’s time for you to look at spring semester 2017 and say to yourself, “I got this. I’m gonna knock this semester out of the park.” Here are the best ways to put that thought into motion by planning ahead of time:

1. Buy a Planner & Map Out the Semester

If you don’t use a planner already, you are adulting wrong. Go get one!! I promise you that you will not remember everything by just thinking about it. Put pen to paper and plan January through May out. Some professors already have their Moodle sites up with tentative semester schedules, so utilize your free time before school starts to write absolutely everything down. If you have a work schedule, write it down. If you have set extra-curricular times, write it down. If you have a huge snowman building event, write the dang thing down. Having your entire semester at the tip of your fingertips is a sure way to succeed.

2. Skim Through Your Books

You don’t need to do any sort of heavy reading, but glancing over your materials is a great way to make out what each of your textbooks are like. Some may have great end of chapter summaries, while others have exceptional diagrams. You might notice that some chapters are relatively short in one book but another one’s are extremely long. Getting used to them first can help you ease back into full-on reading.


3. Get All of the Supplies You Need Now

It’s not very smart to go into class on the first day with absolutely no materials. Get the notebooks, pencils, binders, and other necessities you need beforehand. You’ll feel a lot more confident in organizing your schoolwork if you already have places to put a syllabus and course schedules. Don’t be that person and go to the first day of class without a pencil.

4. Write Down Your Test Dates, Even Your Finals!

It may seem a little unnecessary now, but it comes in handy when you realize, “Oh wow, I have TWO tests the third week into school?! I better not screw around and start studying now!” Cause ya, it does happen actually. Finding out when your finals will be and when (roughly) is nice too because you mentally prepare ahead of time for that big week. You know exactly what test is when, and you can give yourself “x” amount of weeks before to start studying.

5. Put Together an “OH SH!% Kit”

This may seem strange but it is definitely school related. Make an “Oh Sh!&” Kit for your backpack or car that will save the day for you when you run into a problem(s) at school this semester (it is going to happen, and you know it). Include things such as:

  • Extra pencils
  • Gum
  • Granola bars or emergency snacks
  • A tide pen
  • Safety pins
  • Hair ties and bobby pins
  • Spare change and/or extra cash
  • Band-aids
  • Chapstick
  • Headache medicine and/or pain relievers
  • Travel tissues
  • Deodorant (guess what, we’ve all forgot to put it on sometime or another)
  • Floss and/or toothpicks
  • Cold medicine (you never know when it’ll hit you)
  • Warm socks

Random list right? But guess what…when you need one of these things and don’t have it on you, it could really frustrate your day. So find some downtime to put it together now, and you’ll thank yourself for having that one thing you needed badly later on.

I wish you the very best for spring semester of 2017, and know that you’ll succeed as long as you give 100%. You got this!

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/7/2017