What to do on your first week back to school

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Alexandra Pere | The Daily Wildcat University of Arizona mascots Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat show off their dance moves at the Main Gate Square watch party for the lighting of A mountain on Sunday. The "A" on Sentinel Peak was constructed in 1916.

Get a Job

During your first week of school, you may want to focus on getting the right notes or going greek, but money really is the top priority.

A job is the first thing that comes to mind, but for many places, your job search should start the weeks before school starts. See who’s hiring, because their busy season is while everyone is in school. Campus locals like restaurants around Fourth Avenue and Main Gate Square, especially since they’re perfect places to find your college job.

Granted, we can’t use that job to pay for our tuition like some of the baby boomers did, but you’ll at least have money every week for a bill or two.

Your job doesn’t even have to be a formal one. Sell your trade skills to people in need. When prom rolls around for the high school kids, or when everyone starts to have their quinceañeras, advertise that you take pictures.

Take advantage of local nerd groups that play Dungeons & Dragons and take commissions to draw their character. If someone could draw me a human wizard that looks old in the face but is very nimble with a blue staff and a darker blue cloak, that would be great.

You could even be like my mom and sew all day and create bibs and baby clothes while pressuring her sons to have babies. You can also make simple dresses to sell on Etsy or even at a local market.

During your first week of school, plan how to get some extra cash, because no matter what way you flip the sandwich, the bread comes first.

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Schedule Time with Friends

At this point, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the importance of having a routine in college. 

People will say you should go to bed at the same time every night, create a chore schedule or have a concrete order for completing your homework, and although these are all valid strategies to maintain a daily rhythm, one tends to forget an important area of life that needs — deserves, more accurately — scheduling: time with friends. 

I learned quickly that spending time with friends was just as important as going to the gym or studying for an exam, and simply saying “we’ll get together soon” wouldn’t cut it. Having that set time every week — Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. — for lunch with one of my best friends was a lifesaver amidst the craziness of a 19-credit-hour schedule, and it became just as important a part of my schedule as my classes.

This certainly isn’t to say you should only hang out with friends if you have that time scheduled, but that you should put a minimum interaction time into your schedule — for your sanity’s sake.

Explore a Skill

So you’re in college. This is a big deal. Classes are very important, as is getting enough sleep, saving money, eating healthy, studying, making friends, etc. etc. etc. But if I could go back in time and give my very stupid 18-year-old-self any advice, it would be to make sure to focus some of my attention away from the academy. 

Develop a skill on your own; meet people who aren’t other students. The world doesn’t end when you cross that threshold out of campus, and it will be (mostly) the same world that is waiting for you when you graduate. Try to get to know it a little bit.

Set Goals for Yourself

Whether you are new to campus or a returning veteran, you know that the first week of classes can be a lot of stress, walking and/or confusion. Unless you are super lucky, you will find issues with the first week. Even if you’re confident, you will most likely get stuck behind a crowd of confused students trying to get to your class.  

As someone who has grown up on/around this campus and has experience with time management and making it through two first weeks of campus so far, I offer three tips on how to get through this rushed week. 

First, have a jammin’ playlist ready as you hurdle your way from class to class. Make sure you include feel-good songs and ones that will get you warmed up for sitting in a long lecture or walking across campus in five minutes.

Second, have confidence in yourself! Anything is possible if you are open to it and that includes making it to class on time. If you say you can’t make it on time, you have already lost, but if you have faith you got this!

My third and final tip to get through this first week, which is normally filled with going over the class syllabus, is to set yourself short-term and long-term goals. Small and big things that you can achieve this semester are important to keep you on track and allow you to be the best self you can be. 

At any time during the first week or the semester, you may feel overwhelmed, but at the end of the day, the sun will always set and you have to remember that you got this! You made it this far and that says a lot! 

Bear down and have fun! 

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Figure Out Your Schedule

Hello fellow overachievers (if you are reading this, yes, you fall into the overachiever club since you are reading the campus newspaper, I see you and I love you). If you are anything like me, you are already stressed — and it’s only the first day.

But it doesn’t have to be this week, at least not for the first week, there will be time for that later on. For this first week, the most important thing is to get the hang of your new schedule. Here’s a pro-tip: Make your class schedule your phone wallpaper for the first week. That way you’ll never forget where you have to go.

If you have time, visit the rooms of your new classes before the semester starts, so they are easier to find on your first day. 

Above all, anything you can do to make your soon-to-be hectic life easier, do it.


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