By: Craig Harshman

For me, August came way too soon this year, and for the next three weeks, I won’t get to enjoy summer as much as I have with schedules, textbooks and homework approaching fast. As the new semester approaches, I can already feel the added stress, anxiety and pressure to balance a hefty course load and get good grades. However, a new school year brings excitement about starting new classes, making new friends and catching up with old ones. Whether you’re sad to see the summer go or excited to see what’s ahead, one thing is for sure—school is right around the corner, and it’s time to prepare.

A good place to start preparing is to make a to-do list that stretches from now until the first day of school. On this list could be things like getting school supplies and emailing your professors to introduce yourself. Whatever it is you feel you need to do before the semester starts should be on the list to keep you on track for the beginning of the year.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

Get Your Calendar/Planner Ready

On your to-do list should be buying a calendar or planner; if it’s not there, add it. If you have syllabi already, then you can start to fill in test and project dates along with any other important days for guest speakers, etc. If you don’t have all your syllabi, there are still important dates that can be added, such as overnight trips, events, or personal projects and other personal commitments to help you plan around your classes and schoolwork.

Establish a Routine that Works for You

Once school starts, you will find yourself in a weekly routine. To make the transition into the school year easier on your body and mind, start your routine a week early. So, Monday the week before the first day of classes is when this should start. Go to sleep earlier and wake up at the time you need to get ready, eat breakfast and get your day started. Fine-tune your routine the week before school starts so you can be in the best condition to learn come day one.

Set Some Stretch Goals

Thinking about and recording some goals you’d like to achieve over the semester is a great way to motivate you for the school year. The goals you set can be personal goals, like joining a new organization or expanding your network, and school-related, such as getting good grades in certain classes or applying for a job or internship. Setting goals will give you the drive to go out and achieve them at the highest level.

Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to

Going back to school can be a bummer no matter how you look at it, and reaching the goals you set may not give you enough of the satisfaction you want. So, I found that having something to look forward to can be a welcome relief. For me, it’s football—fantasy football.  I know I have to go back to school in the fall, I also know the NFL starts then too.  Find something that interests or excites you to help make you look forward to school.

Close the Loop at Your Summer Job

It’s easy to walk away from your summer internship or job and turn your attention back to academics, but don’t forget to take the time to do some constructive “bridge building.” Talk to the people you worked for/with and express gratitude for the opportunity. Take a few minutes to update your résumé.  Trust me—this will all come in handy later on.

With your free time, and summer, coming to an end as school fast approaches, take advantage of some of that free time and start preparing for the semester early. Start your to-do list, and tackle the next six months on your calendar.  Get your routine down a week early so you can be ready to work on those stretch goals you set for the semester. Finally, find something that can ease your mind and help you relax during the school year—I’m not sure that I would recommend fantasy football though, it’s addicting.

How do you prepare for the upcoming school year?