Hello Just Sixers! This week, we asked our community for their very best back to school tips. Check out these A+ ideas on ways to plan, get organized, and of course, succeed:
1. “Before skipping class, think about the amount you are paying for that hour and determine if it’s worth losing the money to have that free time.”
One of the best and most challenging things about going to school is the independence. With that independence comes some tough decision making, particularly for those balancing school, work, friends, and (occasionally) sleep. Skipping an early morning class or five is tempting, but calculating your cost per class can really put things in perspective.
Let’s do the math: according to Student Loan Hero’s recent study, the average cost per credit hour is $594. For each semester-long, three credit course, you would pay $1,782, excluding books, living arrangements, food, and so on. A course that meets twice per week would have approximately 30 meetings (less after holidays, weather, etc., but we’ll use thirty for this example), which averages to just under $60 per class. The amount you pay per class can vary a lot based on your school, but the cost will still add up. There are valid reasons to miss a class (more on that later), but before you skip one just because it starts at 8am, remember how much it’s costing you.
While we’re on the subject of courses:
2. “Be your own advocate. If you don’t understand something or need help (such as tutoring), reach out to someone who can help. There isn’t any shame in wanting to succeed.”
Everyone has at least one class that gives them trouble, and whether it’s Literature, Math, or Political Theory, there is someone at school who can help. Find out your professors’ office hours, check out your library’s programs, and get contact information for your school’s Academic Success Office if necessary. Falling behind can happen even if you don’t miss a class- the earlier you speak to someone, the more time you have to work together.
3. “My advice would be to get organized, make time to take care of yourself, and, most importantly, make new friends and have fun!”
Although the idea of organizational systems make me a little squirmy, they are important. Buy a planner, buy pens, buy stickers to put in it, get whatever you need to make yourself use it. It will help you stay organized in school and shape your organizational skills as you enter the workforce.
More important than organizing is taking care of yourself- even if that means missing one of those pricy classes. Every now and then, you need to lay in bed all day and drink tea or watch terrible movies with friends, and that’s ok. Classes, work, and other commitments can take a toll on anyone- it is important to give yourself permission to take a break.
Whether it’s signing up for a program with your local grocery store, daily breakfast with roommates, or a weekly potluck with with friends, planning meals can help you stay on track and within your budget.
5. “Be savvy with money!”
Budgeting while in college is a must for pretty much everyone. It’s not only important to keep track of how much you are spending, but how well you are using what’s already available to you. Most schools offer things that you are paying for whether you want to be or not such as a meal plan (if required), health services, and a gym- be sure to know what’s available to you and how it can benefit your budget!
Last but not least, this tip comes from the editor:
6. Don’t forget why you’re there.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of deadlines and commitments, but being in school is about learning for your future. Have fun, take a break, eat way too much pizza, but most importantly, learn and put in as much effort as you can- for you!
Edited by Kelly.
Owner of Just Six Club, grad student, and dog mom.