School Survival Guide: Fall Edition

School Survival Guide: Fall Edition


Is it really fall semester again? It feels like just yesterday I was slaving away for finals in May, while simultaneously taking an online summer class that began way too soon, and also attending recruiting events for an accounting internship (which I got accepted into!).

As a student, I know that a major struggle some of us face is the necessity of balancing school, sports, work, family, social life, significant other, etc. It feels like we need fifty hours in a day in order to get everything done AND get some sleep. I’ve heard that college can be explained in these terms:

Option A: Get enough sleep;

Option B: Make good grades;

Option C: Have a successful social life;

You can pick two of these.

However, my experience has shown me that these terms do not necessarily have to apply. Here are some tips to keep in mind this semester to make sure you won’t have to limit yourself to just two of those options:

1.     First and foremost, use an agenda. Whether you use a planner or the latest app, don’t attempt to keep it all in your head. You may feel like you got every assignment, social event, appointment, and friend’s birthday memorized, but trust me on this one! An agenda will help you focus on the task at hand without having to worry that you might have forgotten something.

2.     Use that agenda to formulate a plan. Every weekend, I try to have a rough idea of what the rest of the week will look like. Make sure you plan your studies around big events or activities that will take a lot of your time. For example, if you have a big exam and a party the day before, make sure you begin studying ahead of time so you are able to enjoy the party and still be able to do well on the exam.

3.     Stick to your to-do list. Each day, review your pre-made plan and check things off as you complete them. This is an easy way to feel accomplished, trust me. Try to get most, if not all of it, done that day – but remember to be realistic with the expectations you lay out for yourself. This will help you stay on track and motivated for the next day.

4.     Work Hard. Play Hard.  You work really hard, and you deserve to reward yourself. Every week, make some room in your schedule for some down time. Whether it’s watching your favorite movie or show, spending the night out with friends, or just making banana pancakes :-), be sure you are making time to relax and recharge.

5.     If you need to work during school, find a flexible job. A job that is willing to work around your school schedule will do wonders for your sanity. Throughout your job search, be sure to explain to your potential supervisor that you are a student, and school is your priority. This gives them a heads up and will likely help them be understanding when you have last minute meetings and assignments that need attention.

6.     Sleep. This one is simple, but many college students underestimate its importance. Without it, you will make yourself not only miserable but unhealthy. This also goes back to being reasonable with yourself about what all you can fit into a single day; budget your time so that you can get the most out of your day, no matter its content, while getting that solid eight hours. And contrary to popular belief, pulling an all-nighter is a terrible, terrible idea. 

What tips do you have for surviving the fall semester? Please share your suggestions with me in the comments below. 


Dennise Armas is a senior accounting major at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama. Dennise hails from Alabama, where she attended Hoover High School. You can find her on Instagram at @dennise_armas



Feature photo Trend N' Female/ via Unsplash
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