Learn from Smart Women

Learn from bSmart Members

Going back to college is, well…a lot of things.  It’s exciting, it’s intimidating, it’s fun, it’s overwhelming, and, frankly, it can be confusing.  You’re probably in a new place, with new people, facing new responsibilities and challenges, all as you struggle to balance the many things on your plate.  Luckily, as someone who has again and again tried, with little success, to have a 100% failure free, easy, breezy, beautiful transition back into the school life, I know there a few things that can help.  If you attempt to accomplish, or avoid, all the things on this list, you will find that your first month back to school will be infinitely better…trust me.


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1) Don’t overdo it

Welcome week, sylly week, or whatever you call it may seem like the best time of your life.  After a long summer doing pretty much nothing, or some variation thereof, it can be tempting to hit up every single party and social event there is.  But while yes, the beginning of school is a great time to reconnect with friends, drinking every night, or even every day, is going to take a toll on your body and mind that will leaving you feeling horrible later.  Even if you’re not drinking, going out can take away from valuable sleep time, leading to potentially getting sick or feeling even more overwhelmed at the start of classes.  So do it, but don’t overdo it.

2) Don’t ditch your normal routine

Though you will have to make some changes to your regularly scheduled programming, don’t leave behind the parts of your routine that are truly important.  For example, make sure you continue getting exercise in some way – even if it is just a long walk.  Be sure you continue eating well too.  Yes, I know how hard it is, and yes, I am the first person to suggest ordering a pizza at 2 AM, but it is important to make sure you are fueling your body with food that will get you through the day feeling great.  Brush your teeth, do your laundry, stay hydrated, and take care of yourself!  The first month of school is stressful, but you’ll be much better equipped to take it on if you are taking care of yourself first and foremost.

3) Don’t just wing it

As you start classes, you are going to get a lot thrown at you.  Lots of upcoming exams, papers, readings, and other assignments, not to mention the other things going on in your life, like sorority rush, club meetings, work, or other events.  Don’t just try to figure out how to balance it all as you go along.  If you do, you’ll feel overwhelmed and potentially forget something really important.  Instead, make a concrete plan for how you are going to budget your time from the start.  Lay out the exact amount of time that you want to spend doing each thing – including socializing, sleeping, and chores like cleaning your room or doing laundry.  It may seem intense, but having a precise schedule makes starting everything much easier.  You can always relax it once you are adjusted.

4) Don’t overcommit yourself

The best part of college is that there are always so many things going on at once.  Clubs for every area of interest, meetings and events for all types of groups, campus ambassador positions and other job opportunities, parties, and off-campus activities are happening every day at all times.  While everything seems like something you HAVE to be a part of, be careful not to overcommit yourself.  Having a job, chairing a club, starting a charity, hanging with friends, and taking classes all at once just isn’t possible.  Get out there and experience life, but be careful not to get yourself to the point where you can’t do anything well because you’re too busy trying to do it all.


Make a concrete plan for how you are going to budget your time from the start.


5) Don’t forget to call your parents

I had to put this one on here because I am REALLY guilty of it.  Just ask my mom (Hi Mom!).  While you are excited to be back at school and you’re busy running around doing your thing, your parents are missing you and likely worrying just a little bit about you.  Make an effort to call them twice a week if you can.  Give them updates on your classes and your social life and ensure them that you are alive and well.  They will appreciate hearing from you and about you.  Plus, giving them a call every once in awhile will keep you from totally getting detached from home, which is so important.

The first month back at school is definitely the best, but it comes with a lot of change and pressure that can cause problems if you do not make an effort to ease the transition.  Make sure you try your hardest to remember all of these things.  But hey, we’re all human, and you probably will do some of them.  But so long as you’re conscious of it, your year will be off to an amazing start.


Alex is a Junior at the University of Michigan majoring in Communications and minoring in Digital Studies. She got her start in writing at age 4 when she authored Jace the Frog, which, much to her dismay, never had much success outside her dolly tea parties. She now prefers to lend her talents to blogging and writing Instagram captions that only she finds funny. She also loves all things food.


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