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Top 10 don’ts to observe this semester

How do you achieve mental preparedness for a new semester? It is the eternal question.

How do you get yourself excited about the long readings and lectures after less-than-adequate sleep that characterizes back-to-school? I couldn’t tell you. The right course of action probably differs for us all. However, there are some practices that are good to avoid at the start of a fresh semester.

Perhaps a workable theory can be gleaned from this list of don’ts. Or at the very least, they may be able to ease a little of the back-to-school stress.

Number one: Don’t wait until the second week of school to buy your books from the textbook annex.

As lucky as we are to have at our disposal such a place, the used books run out quickly. Don’t be the poor sap that ends up with an armful of horrendously expensive books free from highlights and underlines and with all of its pages intact. As if we need something that perfect to occasionally peruse. The purchasing of textbooks is excruciating enough without the searing pain that comes upon seeing an empty shelf where the used copies used to be.

Number two: Don’t expect to fall asleep at 11:00 p.m. on the first night of school if you’ve been tucking yourself in at 2:00 a.m. all summer.

It takes a while for the body to adjust to a new sleep schedule. No one can just hop right into a completely new system. No sense feeling bad about it. Chances are good you’ll be tired for the first couple days of class. But luckily, if you tend to get anxious when starting new classes, the added adrenaline should be enough to get you through the day. Or there’s coffee.

Number three: Don’t throw aside syllabi and handouts from the first few days.

You’re sure to be found scrambling for those babies a Having always looked a chaser, can he win? Race winner | All runners 18:00 – live on Premier SportsWilliam Hill Casino is downloading. few weeks into school and wishing you’d thrown them into a folder or binder from the start.  And don’t neglect to transfer exam dates from syllabi to your planner or calendar.

Number four: Don’t underestimate yourself.

You made it to college. Depending on your class year, you may even have made it through several years of college at this point. Sometimes professors like to scare you with an overwhelming overview of the work ahead. Maybe they’re just being honest, and of course you shouldn’t ignore their warnings. Still, don’t drop a class in fear or run around for the next few months wishing you’d had the foresight to get out when you could.  Lightning quick decisions tend to backfire. Take into account everything you’ve got going this semester rather than overloading just to get it all done or setting yourself up for boredom.

Number five: Don’t put yourself through the hassle of flash drives and emailing documents to yourself when UDrive and Dropbox allow you to access your files from any computer on campus or with Internet.

Number six: Don’t forget that school is fun.

And although all the work associated can be a hassle, it has the potential to make us smarter and better prepared for our future careers. Not to mention, work helps us build character – the universal benefit said to result from most everything unpleasant but necessary.

Number seven: Don’t underestimate the time-saving power of laying out your clothes the night before.

It’s much easier to match and identify both a top and a bottom when an alarm clock hasn’t just rudely awakened you. It saves time and helps eliminate the stress of the morning rush.

Number eight: Don’t fall into the trap of doing the same things you did all summer after work – watching TV, just hanging out with friends.

Being back at school means endless chances to try new things. Reap the rewards of Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s), social and cultural events and the multitude of creative ways to fraternize with the thousands of youth that surround you.

Number nine: Don’t forget the ones who love you.

If you’ve just spent the last three months at home with your family, it may be difficult for them to see you leave. Calling or e-mailing to check in with family or home friends in the first weeks of school can be easy to forget and difficult to find time for but is definitely worth it.

Number 10: Don’t sit around only working out the muscle encased by your skull. Regular exercise is essential for your heart, bones and peace of mind.

Final Note: As we wrench ourselves away from summer’s many delights, it may be comforting to remember how much like dessert summer vacation is. Sure, most of us like dessert, but in order to truly enjoy it, we must first have eaten something substantial. Without the necessary fullness provided by the main meal, dessert falls short.

School is the main course of student life. Without the mental strenuousness of eight months of learning, would the intellectual freedom afforded by summer quite hit the spot? Though it’s been fun, summer’s provided enough toothaches and sugar comas to last a while. Now who’s ready for some real food?

Lauren Rockoff is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at lrockoff@student.umass.edu.

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