Word from Down Under: Keeping organized is the key to success

The school year is upon us once again and after months of relaxation, it’s time to buckle down and put your nose to the grindstone. Getting back into the swing of things can sometimes be challenging, but there are ways to make the adjustment more manageable.
Stay on top of your work. It’s easy to put things off until the last minute and find out that there is a mountain of pages to read and essays to write with no time to do it. Instead of fulfilling the procrastinator’s destiny, fight fate and do a little at a time, chipping away at the workload bit by bit. Reading (or skimming) a few pages every night or so can do wonders, as does starting an essay early. Even if you just write the introduction, start a body paragraph or find a good reference and keep note of it, it means less work and less hair pulling in the long run. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Make time for fun and relaxation. It’s easy to do in the beginning of the semester when the workload is light and you and Rider are still in the honeymoon phase, but if you start slacking and stressing, come midterm time you will be miserable. It is completely possible to work too much, and when you do, the quality of that work usually plummets. You’re not doing yourself any favors by throwing weekly all-nighters or skipping meals during crunch time. When you don’t have fuel, you will sputter out.
Keep the lines of communication open. Whether it be with your parents, friends back home or teachers, if you are worrying about anything it’s better to ask questions than to stew in uncertain silence. It’s normal to be homesick, annoyed or completely confused when it comes to an assignment. When you keep the people in your life updated, there will be few surprises for them. If you have extenuating circumstances that necessitate an extension, keeping your professors posted can make a big difference.
Try to stay organized. That can mean different things to different people, but whatever has been successful for you in the past can usually be relied on. Be prepared by knowing your schedule. Know when things are due and what’s going on around campus to keep your studies and personal life in check.
Stay balanced. It’s the key to being happy and successful both in school and with friends. Do your work and have fun. Years from now you’re probably not going to remember what that sociology paper was about or how your behavioral neuroscience test was designed, but you will remember your GPA and, more importantly, whether or not you were happy.
With a whole year of classes and fun ahead, keeping your priorities in check and preventing procrastination can really make a world of difference. Summer might be over, but the semester is just beginning.

– Megan Pendagast
Junior English major currently studying abroad in Australia

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