Important Things to Do Before Going Back to College



With the start of a new academic year just around the corner, there are a number of important things to do before leaving–things you won’t necessarily make time for come September.

Do these 11 things to kick off your year the right way.

1. Clean Out Your Email

To explain, let me say something you might not like to admit: Clutter is bad. You can hoard items, digital and physical, tell yourself they have sentimental worth, but ultimately they impact your mental health and productivity. Take it from Lifehacker and neurologists at Princeton, “excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information.” So, if your inbox looks like 3487 unread messages, take a few days to sort through them. Archive everything from over a year ago, then work your way through the more recent and relevant information. Once school comes around, you’ll be ready to address emails in a productive, stress-free manner.

2. Clean Out Your Closet

Going along with the whole anti-clutter sentiment, cleaning out your closet is another great idea before heading back to school. Not only will you get a chance to get organized, but now packing for college will be significantly more manageable! A great rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. Then donate the excess to a local charity and give yourself a high five.

3. Complete All School Paperwork/Forms

The beginning of the year is meant for catching up with friends and easing into classes. The last thing you want to be doing is running around campus trying to fill out forms. This goes for financial aid, housing leases, allergen information, health insurance, employment forms–everything! Get it out of the way before move-in.

4. Set Goals for the Upcoming Year

As you fall deeper into your overwhelming course syllabi, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Take some time before classes start to reflect on what you want from your overall experience. Set SMART goals, not only for academics, but for mental health, spiritual practice, physical exercise, and relationships, as well.  

5. Buy Extra Hygiene Essentials

Sometimes you run out of the basics and don’t have time to go out and buy more, particularly when a big exam is coming up. If you run out of deodorant, soap, or drop your toothbrush, but “free time” isn’t scheduled until the weekend, you’ll wish you had a spare lying around. Stock up on a few extras before moving in, just in case!

6. Establish an Exercise Routine

Yes, exercise. I don’t have to go over its physical and mental health benefits with you. It’s fairly clear that exercise is only in your best interests. That’s why you should start early, before the school year, to make a habit of working out. Once classes roll around, a good workout will seem like a more natural activity and like less of a chore.

7. Order Textbooks Early

Many students will wait as long as they can without purchasing textbooks in an effort to save money, thinking they can make it through the course without ever buying them. But ordering your textbooks in advance can actually get you the best deals. Vendors raise prices around back-to-school season. It’s supply and demand. Ordering your textbooks beforehand can be a great way around sky high prices.

8. Devote Time to Family and Friends

Going off to college means leaving some quality people behind, even if only for a while. Give everyone a proper goodbye and make them feel appreciated.

9. Clean Your Room

This one is less about clutter and more about being courteous. Although you’re overeager to start your life in a new dorm, your family back home isn’t moving anywhere. They still have to face your room and any mess you choose to leave behind.

10. Plan a Budget for the School Year

It’s easy to swipe a credit card without thinking twice. Take some time over the summer to figure out an appropriate budget for the school year (so you don’t pile more debt onto your already-ominous student loans). You can also be mindful of your spending habits by taking advantage of student discounts!

11. Research Your Major

Saving the best for last, this is the most important tip! Research everything your major entails. For instance, “economics” is an extremely broad and daunting term on its own. However, once you have an idea of what economics majors generally do, it isn’t as scary. I recommend looking into specific fields you would like to pursue and getting better acquainted with your vocational possibilities. Then you can feel more purposeful throughout the year, as you know what you’re working toward. Not to mention, when you have a clearer idea of what it is you want to do, you can join the appropriate extracurriculars to get your foot in the door of that field.

Good luck everyone and happy back-to-school!



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