As August winds down so the prospect of returning to school or college beckons for thousands of pupils and students. But how ready are you to return to your studies? Being prepared to get back into your work, whether you are continuing a course or starting something new, will make a real difference to how you begin the year ahead and can make the return that little bit less traumatic too.
Personally, I used to hate the whole ‘Back To School’ thing as soon as it started creeping into shop windows during the summer holidays. You know the sort of thing – there you are enjoying a nice walk around the town centre, enjoying the sunshine and the freedom when you are suddenly confronted with a huge poster featuring kids in school uniform alongside the dreaded words, ‘Back To School.’ There was something about that poster that used to burst the bubble of my summer holidays and make me feel like I was on borrowed time before I had to go back. It’s not that I really disliked school (or college), but it was like being unexpectedly woken up right in the middle of a pleasant dream.
Despite this, getting ready to return to your studies needn’t be a nightmare - and it can actually even have some enjoyable moments too. The same goes if you are starting something completely new, such as an apprenticeship or other vocational course. Here are some quick tips to make your ‘Back To School’ moment less like a shock to the system:
- Timetables, Times, & Details
The first thing you will need to do is look over any information you may have about the start of the new year – whether you are staying in the same place or starting at a new college. Knowing where you need to be (and when) is part of the process, but you may also have other information, such as reading lists, ideas of what to bring with you, or even a full timetable to look at. Getting your papers in order and knowing where you are supposed to be can help make the whole experience less stressful. Knowledge is power – so make sure you know what is expected of you before you arrive. Of course, the advice if you are starting A levels is different, as you may not have much information about your timetable just yet.
- Old Notes?
If you are continuing a course you may well have a set of old notes from last year. It is worth taking an afternoon to look through them and tidy up your files ready for the new academic year. While you may not be starting a new course, going in with an organised set of notes will not only make it feel a bit like a fresh start, but will also help later when it comes to revision. You may want to really go for it and copy out some of your notes into a more legible or simple style or you might just see fit to throw away any unwanted sheets of paper and make sure your existing notes are organised and secure in a folder rather than floating around in the bottom of your bag. Also take a moment to organise any textbooks you may have – checking for scraps of paper inside them and making sure they are all ready for your next year. As well as looking over your old notes, you might want to get ‘warmed up’ by doing a little summertime studying before it is too late.
- Stationary and Shopping
Regardless of whether you are starting a new course or continuing an existing one, you will definitely need to make sure you have a few essentials with you. This includes making sure your pens work and you have a fresh notebook and any other supplies you need. These will depend on what you are studying, but may include anything from protractors to paintbrushes. Make a list of anything that you need and head out to buy them while you still have plenty of time. Some people also like to treat themselves to a few extra bits ahead of the autumn term – maybe a new bag to carry everything in? Don’t forget to put any other things you might need in your bag too – such as a pack of tissues, some mints (nobody likes bad breath), or whatever else you might need to help get you through the day.
Starting off on the right foot will mean that you can be ready to go straight away rather than having to take time to ‘warm up’ into the new year. Besides, if you take some time to get prepared now, you can settle down and enjoy the last days of the summer holiday in peace – despite those ‘Back To School’ posters!