Six Ways To Prepare the Returning Student

It’s kind of nerve wracking, going back to school after a long break, or for some, going into the next level of school: college. Trying to keep my eye on the prize and my goal focused is rather tricky!

And so, I must constantly stimulate myself, prepare myself, for what is to come. Think like a student, live like a broke student, divide my time as a student would. Hell, I even bought two cookbooks designed for the vegetarian college student on a budget! – OK, that’s not entirely true. I’ve had those cookbooks for a couple of years, they’re just a bit more applicable now.

So, along with my daily brain exercise (which admittedly, I’ve been lacking getting fully in the habit of – mainly because we don’t have a chess board as I thought we did, and yesterday I experienced and all day intoxication, which doesn’t do too well for yoga or cooking with consciousness (I gorged myself on cereal, fruit and nachos)), I have been training myself mentally for becoming a full time adult student.

6 ways to prepare the returning student

  • Remembering My Goal
    It’s so easy just to think that I’m going to school just to get my Associates’s degree before I go on to transfer and do bigger and greater things. However, I have to remember that my goal is my English degree, and not only that, but my goal is my Master’s degree, a step beyond the BA. Not only that, but my goal is not just to finish so I can call myself a scholar, but to write.
    I am going to school not just so that I can have a fuller looking resume, or so that perhaps publishers will take me more seriously when I send something into them, but so that I can gain different aspects of the written word, to fully understand where this language comes from, understand the culture that has helped to develop it, and gain more strengths and techniques in my writing style.
  • Organization
    I am a selectively organized person. I don’t necessarily organize say my chore list, but I do organize my blog entries, and my trips into town, and my generally daily need-to-dos. But to be a successful student, I need to be able to prioritize and organize all aspects. I can’t just say that 45% of my time goes towards home work, 10% goes toward class time, 10% goes to eating, 5% goes to traveling, 20% goes to chores and then the remainder 10% toward sleeping – that’ll run me down in no time!
    What I can use this upcoming month for is gaining a regular sleep schedule – paying attention to how much sleep I need to be as functionable as possible, so that I can be an optimum student. Do I work better grazing with many small meals a day, or have a few hearty, very nourishing foods? Does coffee help or hinder my capabilities through the day? Would fresh juice in the morning give me the get-up-and-go that I need? Do I feel drowsy when I eat bread?
    How can I multi-task between writing, doing laundry, cooking, and learning new things?
    Getting myself ready for a full schedule now will help me out in the long run.
  • Research Professors
    With each class I will be presented with (most of the time), there will be a series of options of times, dates, and teachers available. While knowing what I want from each quarter, it is important to have a good idea of who’s class I should be aiming for to get my optimal needs met.
    I once, long ago, when I was doing Running Start, decided to take Political Science at the college instead of taking Citizenship at the high school. I, being an extremely liberal hippie-in-training, was met with a very obviously conservative professor teaching the class. From the get go I knew we wouldn’t see eye-to-eye. Granted, with what I have gained over the years, I don’t think that a professor’s political stance would take any effect on me. However, lacking the maturity and insight that one gathers as they go into the adult world, I couldn’t see past our differences.
    While I understand and see the problem within myself during that class now in hindsight, what’s to say that I have the maturity and capability to understand the bigger picture in a different class in a different situation?
    This is why I say it is important to research your professors. After all, had I looked into that Poli Sci teacher, I might have see student reviews which remarked that if you try this approach, they respond better, or allow for a deeper understanding of the teacher’s background which might explain the development of their approach to teaching.
  • Challenge The Self
    You know what? I have a full month until I start my classes. Do you know what that means? Live it up before it gets crazy!
    Wrong!
    This is the time when one should be challenging themselves, making them get into habits they wouldn’t normally have the ambition to get into, get used to researching, training yourself to be trained. This is the time for the warm-up before the work out. By intellectually challenging myself every day, I am limbering up my brain to be ready for the marathon of hard academic work ahead.
  • Putting the Talents Out There
    Being a student requires some level of confidence. After all, I know that I’m going into a situation that I’m not entirely certain of. It’s been ten years since I’ve set foot in a learning establishment. The way kids learn is different, they all have fancy technology, their sarcasm is different, and being in a classroom full of different peers is trying.
    Oh yeah, and did I mention I haven’t been in school in ten years?
    This means that everything I have learned and known all throughout my schooling history is at least ten years old. That means things have changed, that I have changed. What I was once good at is now a rusty tool in the shed.
    I need to build myself up, but not only that, learn to take criticism.
    To do that, I need to get my writing more underway.
    The fiction I write is my baby, and if I am going to learn to be mature enough to handle anything a professor or a fellow student might throw at me as far as feedback goes, I need to be able to take it from strangers. So, I need to put my writing out there and teach myself to take it as feedback instead of direct insults and hurtful jabs.
  • Read
    Life has torn me away from reading. It used to be my love, it used to be the inspiration for me to write. But these days I never have time, and when I do have time, I’m so picky about what I read (since I never have time, I want it to be worth it!), that I can never decide on it.
    That has just got to go out the window.
    Especially with the goal to be an English Major, I need to make sure my reading-wheels are well oiled, and that I am ready to read obscene amounts of literature. Not only just get into reading, but get that analytical thinking cap on, so that I can delve into the under-skin of what I am involved in.
  • Meditate
    I know, sounds like some hippie ruling (what can I say, the dreadlocks don’t lie), but it’s true. I am about to embark on a journey that the adult me has never come across. Meditation is the best way for me to center myself, to calm the anxiety before it happens, and learn new tools to be able to take on the upcoming workload.
    After all, even if I don’t get it right, it’s just breathing, what’s that harm?

It all seems so far away! But those classes will be here before I know it, and I definitely want to be prepared.

Comment below – let me know your ways for preparing for the school year to come!

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