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This post comes from Carrie, a second-year student at Portland State University in Oregon. While only in her second year, Carrie has already racked up enough credits for junior standing, all while working as a freelance writer and oboe instructor in addition to her full-time studies — so you know her advice is good! Here’s what she has to say about getting back into the swing of things this term.

5 Tips for Getting Back Into Your School Schedule

Break was the ultimate relief because for just a little while I got to go home and rest. Amazingly enough, however, I was ready to get back to my usual routine about a full week into break when I’d recovered from sleeping for about four days straight. Here's a list of my tried-and-true tips to help you get back into your school routine. I have to admit that I don’t always remember to follow all of them all of the time, but I find that the more I do stick with them, the better I feel and do.

  1. Prep Your Planner: First of all, if you're not using a planner, I highly recommend that you do! It helps me plan weekends home while also keeping up on what’s due soon. The day I get my syllabi, I write in all of my due dates so that nothing is a surprise later on in the term and I can plan ahead.
  2. Buy Your Books Early: Searching online by ISBN will ensure that you get the exact books you're looking for and that you can find them for a fraction of the bookstore price by comparing prices across the Web (I use CampusBooks.com because it saves me time and money). Just be sure that you buy your books early so that they ship to you in time for first classes. Saving money on books helps you stress less about finances and it will give you some spending cash to ease into that first week back with some pizza to soften the shock.
  3. Go to Bed Early: I never sleep well the first week back because I'm having headaches and nightmares about finding classes and not being registered and having bad professors. If I take a small dose of Advil to stop the headache, I can relax and go to bed on time. When I do this and keep a regular schedule for sleeping and waking, I'm ready for the next day.
  4. Map Your Route: If at all possible, find your classes before you're racing to them! There's nothing more embarrassing than walking into the wrong room or arriving to the right class a half hour late because you couldn’t find it.
  5. Take Care of Yourself: I notice that making breakfast in the morning, eating fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, and walking helps me ease back into the change of being back to school. The transition can be rough on the body so it's nice to give your immune system some backup and do things like eat right and exercise to help your mood.

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