Going back to school can be exciting and stressful; here are some useful tips to help make the transition into a new term at Augustana a little easier. This article will cover everything from how to prepare for and succeed in class, to how to save money on the weekends. By taking some of the advice offered below, you will have the essentials for surviving a new school year!

These two tips are the most important for success in your classes: always do the readings, and always ask for help when you need it. You will be prepared for the lecture if you do the readings before class, and anything you did not understand from the readings can be addressed in class, or ask your professor for help! All professors have office hours and want to help you; they care about your success in class. Talking to your professor can help form connections that may lead to academic references and/or other opportunities. Going to see your professor/sending them an email shows initiative for your own education, and shows them that you are trying to improve in their class. Use the resources available to you! Visit the Writing Centre, talk to our Reference Librarians about citation questions, and go to Technology and Learning Services (TLS) if you are having problems online.

Here are some study tips to help promote good study habits that will positively impact your learning experience. Make a list of all the things you need to accomplish at the start of each week; it is useful to keep an agenda/day-planner so you can keep track of everything in one place. Using a calendar can really help you stay organized with school and your social life so you do not get overwhelmed. Google Calendar (Gcal) is a time-management and scheduling calendar service, using Gcal is a lifesaver because you can color-code different events/reminders. It also helps to share/compare notes with a friend in class, to make sure you are getting down all the information. It can be hard to get everything down in one class, help each other! Contribute insight and engage in class topics with your fellow students, it will give you more perspective and understanding of the material you cover in class. Read over your notes from the previous class, reviewing helps you make sense of everything, and alerts you to confusing concepts that you may need help on. Test yourself; Q-cards are a great study tool to help with memorization. While you are doing a reading try to engage with it by writing in the margins, working through the difficult parts, highlighting the important points, and taking your own notes. Always come back to difficult parts of the reading, anything you are not clear on bring up in class and ask for help. Time management is key, and procrastination is the enemy. You will feel more pressure if you leave things until the last minute, start things early!

Some days getting to class can be hard. Set alarms before each class, and it is a good idea to give yourself extra time before class, things happen! If it is especially hard to make it to a class, give yourself a reward after for attending! A reward system is a great way to stay motivated with classes and studying. In reality, sometimes you miss class. Find out what you missed, talk to friends in that class, and talk with/email your professor and stay up to date. You can try and make up missed assignments if you communicate your situation.

Yes, students need to study, but we also need to have fun sometimes! One of the most difficult issues for a student is how to have fun on a budget. A lot of students want to go out on weekends for fun, but it can end up being more stressful if you are spending too much money. Here are some tips on how to not waste your money at the bar. Set a budget, and only bring the amount of cash you can spend, so that you won’t be tempted to overspend at the bar. Try planning one really good night out/event instead of going out every weekend and blowing money. You will need most weekends for schoolwork anyways. Balance is key, prioritize your studies but make sure to have some fun every now and then, going out less and planning one night out can really help you save. Pre-drink before the bar or drink at home! Having fires/house parties can be just as fun or better than going out to the bars, you still get that social interaction and save money.

University life can be hard on our health and well-being. Give yourself mandatory stress relief time everyday and take breaks between studying. Take naps, you will feel more energized and capable of completing your tasks. Ensure quality sleep, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, proper rest helps restore your body. Try doing meal prep and cooking bigger portions for grab and go nutrition, and to avoid eating out. Also, try to incorporate some exercise into your daily routine, get a gym membership and/or join a rec sport team in Camrose. You can also attend campus rec in the gym once a week. The University does offer Counselling services with the intention to help students work through situations. Augustana has a lot of great clubs, teams, activities and organizations, get involved in something, and build a community for yourself. Consider signing up online for Unitea, students and hosts meet at a specified location and enjoy free hot beverages from one of the participating partners. Their goal is to foster meaningful conversations and increase connections within the community.

These tips are aimed to help students be successful in class, create good study habits, save money, and stay healthy. Best of luck to everyone in Fall Term!

(Originally published September 27, 2019)

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