How to Rock This Year At School
Make it your best one yet.
From Lauren: Pumpkin spice lattes are back, football season has started and—as if the summer went by in a flash—the fall semester is underway. Whether you’re going back to high school, college or grad school, I challenge you to answer this question: How can you make this year better than any other? Below are six ways that you can rock this school year:
Create a note-taking system
If you are going to buy a different notebook for each subject, go right ahead, but make sure you are responsible enough to keep track of them. I used to buy a different colored notebook for each class but then I’d lose them half-way through the semester. If it’s easier to just have one big notebook that you use to take notes in your classes, do that. You can use the dividers in the notebook to separate the different notes for different classes. Try to avoid taking notes on random pieces of paper that you will ultimately lose. Take highlighters with you to class so that as soon as the professor says, “This material WILL be on the test,” you can highlight that. One of our favourite Youtuber’s, Study With Jess, gives great note-taking tips.
Define your study plan and schedule
Although, as a student, your schedule is always changing, many of your activities are typically at the same time and on the same day each week. You’ll have classes, club meetings, sorority chapter meetings and your internship. You might even have certain nights that you reserve to watch your favorite TV shows. These commitments are great, but you do have to lock out time to study. I recommend coming up with what I call the 3x3 study plan that you’ll commit to all year—just like you commit to your extra-curricular. Identify three time periods during the week where you can block out three hours to study. For example, your study schedule could be three hours on Tuesday afternoons (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.), Thursday nights (5 p.m. – 8 p.m.), and Sundays (12 p.m. - 3 p.m.). Of course, around mid-terms, you’ll need to do more, but if you keep this up even when you don’t have tests, you’ll be much more prepared going into mid-terms and finals. Try creating these study times when you know your roommates are either also studying or not going to be home as that’s a quick way to be distracted. If your apartment or dorm is just too unpredictable, pick a local coffee shop where you can get in the zone. In college, I used to go to Barnes and Noble to grab a yummy coffee and get my studying and papers done.
Get a fall or spring internship
You don’t need to intern year-round or even every semester, but getting a local internship can often help you get experience under your belt so that you can get an even bigger internship over the summer. Remember, an internship during the semester is likely only 12-15 hours per week, so if you are taking a full course-load, you can typically do your internship around those hours. If you go to school in a really small city where opportunities are limited, look into virtual internships, which are popular with websites and digital brands. For on-site and virtual internship listings, you can check my site and speak with your career center. Another great option is to intern on campus with the athletic center, career center or even with a specific professor. Talk to your department head about the different opportunities that align with your major on campus.
Decide to be a leader
When I speak with employers about the most important things they look for on a college student’s resume are leadership experience and internship experience. Remember, you don’t need to be part of every club on campus. In fact, I recommend picking two clubs or organizations that you are passionate about and really getting involved with both of them. Look into how to be a leader within that club on campus. Come up with a plan for becoming a member of the executive board for that organization. Companies don’t just want to see that you are part of a campus club, they want to see that you are a leader within that club.
Organize your clothes weekly
This may sound silly, but many of the young women I speak complain about never having anything to wear for class, work or their internship during the school year. They tell me how many hours they spend obsessing over clothes, borrowing stuff from their roommates and just making a mess. Once you get back to school, organize your closet and put together outfits for yourself at the top of every week—pretend you are your own stylist. Think of all the outfits you need for the week for sorority rush, sorority socials, class, study sessions in the library, workouts, work—everything. Put them together on a clothing rack (super inexpensive to purchase) or just inside of your closet. I promise, if you do this on Sunday nights, you will save yourself so much time during the week.
Take social media seriously
Think you don’t have a personal brand? WRONG. Think again! When a company looks at your social media pages, they immediately determine what your personal brand is. How do your photos look? Are they appropriate? Do you post consistently? Whether you like it or not, employers are looking at your social media pages. Start taking them seriously and ask yourself what you want these channels to say about you. Instead of posting party pictures, use the channels to show off your world and what you are passionate about. Challenge yourself to use Snapchat and Instagram to create your own personal brand—one you can be proud of upon graduation. For back-to-school, I did an entire series of videos on how to get along with roommates, motivate yourself for freshman year, handle senioritis and more. Check out my YouTube channel!