Classes are in full swing here at Fairfield which means that it’s time to switch out of summer mode and into the school mindset. I always find it difficult returning to school after a long few months of relaxation. That is why I am here to offer a few helpful back-to-school tips and point you to some resources that will help you survive this semester! 

Use a Planner

This may seem really simple, but using a planner has been a lifesaver in my time at Fairfield so far. Taking five different classes and having five different teachers throwing out assignments through Blackboard, email or other platforms, can be extremely overwhelming. A planner provides one centralized spot in which all your assignments can be recorded. When I sit down to do homework, the first thing I do is write all of my assignments down for the week in my planner. This way, they are all in one location and I get the satisfaction of crossing each assignment off my list of things to do as I finish them. This process can be done on your computer too! I have plenty of friends who create weekly assignment lists on word documents or excel spreadsheets. I highly recommend going out and buying yourself a planner or taking the time to organize an online list of weekly assignments. You will thank yourself later! 

Find Where You Study Best

There are so many great study spaces to be found all around campus. Some people prefer to study in their rooms and with the company of friends while others prefer the silence and solitude of the library’s top level. It is good to know how and where you study best in order to be the most productive. From the library, to the Barone Campus Center mezzanine, to classroom spaces, to study lounges in the dorms, you are guaranteed to find a study spot on campus that fits your needs. 

Utilize the Library Resources

The DiMenna-Nyselius Library here on campus offers so many great resources that a lot of people may not even know about. These can be some of the most helpful resources to your academic success. On the first floor of the library alone, you will find the writing center, the math center and the ITS help center. Stop by the writing with any papers you have written or by the math center for any calculus problems you are stuck on – you’ll receive some of the best guidance from fellow student tutors. If you are having technical difficulties and need help with your computer, the ITS help center is the place to go.

Scattered around the library, you can also find great study spaces. There are group study rooms, a Dunkin Lounge, an Innovation Lab and a Virtual Reality Lab in addition to the many other great spaces that you can reserve and study. 

The library’s website offers many useful resources as well. One of the most helpful resources when tackling a large research project, is the online databases. You can find scholarly research on just about any subject A to Z. I know I have spent hours combing through these online databases, finding useful scholarly articles and books to use in my research papers. If you need help with your research, you can schedule a one-on-one research appointment with a librarian or use the 24-hour chat feature called “Ask a Librarian”. Type any questions you may have at any time of day, and a librarian is sure to get back to you. The library offers so many great resources that I urge you to take advantage of. 

Go to Office Hours

Your professors are here to help you. If you are ever debating whether or not to go to office hours, just go! Professors have set aside this time to help you with any questions you may have about classwork, big assignments or anything else. I will admit that I was nervous to go to office hours for the first time, to meet one on one with my professors. However, I have found office hours to be extremely helpful to my success in a class. I highly suggest you take advantage of your professors’ office hours.  

Manage Your Time Effectively

Time management is the key to success in college. It can be difficult to fall into a routine with classes scheduled all throughout the day, clubs meeting late at night and roommates and friends hanging out all the time. It may seem overwhelming, but I can assure you, it is possible to get your homework done in between all of the craziness of the day. Be sure to aside some time in your day to focus on homework, whether it is in between your classes or later at night. It may seem impossible at times, but you can go to classes, get your homework done and still have time to hang out with friends and participate in extracurricular activities on campus. Be sure to prioritize your sleep as well! It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep with roommates and homework but it is important to incorporate sleep into your schedule too.  

Find Your Nearest Dunkin or Starbucks

We all need an energy boost every once in a while. Even with the best routines and time management skills, school can be draining and overwhelming. Luckily, we have two Dunkin locations and a new Starbucks on campus! There is nothing wrong in treating yourself to a coffee or iced tea to boost your energy before class or before a long study session. 

I know that schoolwork can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but if you take my advice and use some of these back-to-school hacks, you’re sure to succeed this semester! 

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