Back-to-school mindset

How to shift your mindset from summer to fall

The back-to-school time can be stressful for college students as they move into new living spaces, say goodbye to their families and begin balancing their rigorous course loads with their plethora of extracurriculars. One way to make this adjustment easier is to develop healthy habits before and during the transition back to school. Getting back into normal eating and sleeping habits, learning which stress management techniques work best for you, practicing mindfulness and focusing on self-care can help set students up for success.

It is no secret that eating and sleeping habits tend to slip off the scale of normal during the summer. Although these habits can become woefully unhealthy during the summer months, it is OK to recognize the importance of summer break as a time for students to relax. It will take some time to get back to a normal and productive schedule.

Students need to take the time and effort to change their habits during the tail end of the summer so that the transition back to school does not come as such a shock to their system. Our physical bodies deserve to be taken care of and usually have a greater impact on our success than we sometimes give them credit for.

Betty Curry, director for Academic Support, believes that feeling underprepared is the main source of stress for students.

“[Get] an established plan for managing tasks and time … [and] find the right system,” Curry said.

According to Curry, organization is key, and students must be careful to avoid the cycles of shame or guilt that often come with procrastination.

Curry also stressed the importance of practicing mindfulness and positive self-talk and suggested that how you speak to yourself can play a huge role in your success. She reminded students to get into the habit of interpreting challenges as opportunities and that “curiosity is what drives learning.”

Becca Burt Steinbach, who recently transferred from the Office of Academic Support to the position of assistant director for Career Development, recommends finding a routine and developing time management techniques that work for you. According to Steinbach, students should remember that it is OK to ask for help and that there are on-campus resources such as Counseling Services, the Student Success Center, the Writing Center and Wellness Services. Take time for yourself, and do what Becca calls “joyful movement.”

Tim Mose, a senior business analytics and technology major, believes that being prepared for your classes and having a strong start can help reduce stress. Mose relies on his friends to stay motivated when studying and keep a positive mindset. There are a variety of things that count as self-care, such as cooking, working out and spending time with friends, which can help bring balance to our lives and re-energize ourselves. He said he likes to switch up his studying by alternating between readings and less-intensive coursework.

“Between med school, job and classes, social connections are important,” Mose said. “Being organized and having good study habits makes a big impact.”

Starting out the school year with healthy sleep, eating and stress management habits can help make the adjustment from summer to the school year seamless and productive. Staying organized, being kind to yourself, striving for balance and knowing when to ask for help can set any Trinity student up for success.