BACK TO SCHOOL: HOW TO GET INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
By now, most people are back to school. What a fun time of new clothes, new classes, new friends and new beginnings.
I always found that people responded to back to school much like they did to big changes (starting school IS a big change). I love the change management theory (usually applied to business situations) that talks about this. You have the early adopters (labeled the opinion leaders) who dive right into their assignments and get involved in every organization. You have the early majority who are a little more conservative but they still adapt to the new routine earlier than the average person. Then you have the late majority who is a little more skeptical and slow to jump into new change; and then you have resistors. The resistors make up about 15% of the group and are usually the "foot draggers". It takes them the longest to get into the swing of things. Some may label them the procrastinators because they may buy their book after class has been in session for a week or two, they may not have their calendar downloaded yet and they may be late to get involved in organizations (if they get involved at all).
Where do you stand? I loved school but as I read over these groups, I know I found myself in each stage at different times in my school career. At times, I was an early adopter and at times I fall at the back of the group.
How do you jump back into school? If it's your last year or two, it may take a little longer to get started.
There are a few different ways that I got started:
1. Look at the calendar - write on your calendar all of your key dates; quizzes, tests, project deadlines and exam weeks should all be on here.
2. Buy your books - if you plan ahead, you can get them for a cheaper price on Amazon or from a previous student.
3. Get organized - get your notebooks, computer files, hard drive, etc....
4. Figure out parking - I realize that a lot of classes are done virtually now, but you still have to go on campus occasionally. For some reason, I always dragged my feet on this one and ended up either illegally parking, being late to class while I looked for a spot, or getting a parking ticket. All of these scenarios were stress-inducing. And I think I mainly dragged my feet because I didn't want to pay for a permit. Let me tell you, the cost of a parking space is worth it because it's taking uncertainty out of your morning equation.
5. Pick an organization - if you don't want to join everything or even feel hesitant getting involved at all, please at least pick one thing. The APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists is a great way to start. You will meet people and feel more connected to school and your profession.
6. Get a routine - even if it's just something little, it helps to write out your week and see when you are going to study. Are you more productive in the morning? Then come to school an hour early every day to study. Do you grab lunch every Tuesday with a friend? Schedule some downtime too. Getting away to exercise a few times a week will do wonders for your productivity. If you start your good habits early on, you will be much more likely to stick with them the semester. I found that the semesters I did the best were actually the ones where I had the most credit hours and other responsibilities - the reason for this success was because I had to be very deliberate with my schedule and how I spent my time.
Good luck to you and your semester ahead!
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