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September marks the comeback of balmy fall weather, scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, and, of course, a new school. For many of us, a new school year marks a time of reinvention, from the back to school clothes we buy to our study habits. Unfortunately, many valiant resolutions end up incomplete and forgotten come October. Here are a list of manageable and (relatively!) simple tasks to undertake for the best school year so far.

2. Get a Full Night’s Sleep

I tell myself each year that I’ll go to bed at 9pm sharp, but year and year again I end up binge watching a show on Netflix or late night chatting with friends. Unfortunately, scraping together 4 hours of sleep makes you sluggish and affects school performance. As hard as it is, will yourself to put down the phone and get to bed. Sleep is important in order to be refreshed and ready for the next day. Not sure when to hit the hay? Use Sleepytime, this site tells you the best times to sleep without disrupting your natural sleep cycles.

2. Take Care of Yourself

Let’s face it; as the school year kicks into gear and work begins to pile up, it’s always more enticing to reach for the chips instead of an apple. I know it’s hard, but keeping track of your food and choosing fresh fruit and veggies will nourish your body and keep you feeling focused, productive, and healthy.In addition to making good food choices, try to hit the gym a couple times each week. Get your blood pumping, sweat away the stress, and enjoy! Play a sport, do a spin class, buy some new yoga pants. Being healthy makes you more energetic and happy, and will pay off when summer (or prom!) rolls around.

3. Make New Friends

Even if you’re graduating, there’s always opportunity to meet new people. This year, expand your friend circle by befriending a lowerclassman or someone who you wouldn’t typically hang out with. While it’s scary branch out of your comfort zone, there’s always something to be gained by making new friends.

4. Beat Procrastination

It seems each year I concoct a study plan and vow to finish all my homework right after school. Inevitably, this fails and I end up scrambling to complete work I kept putting off. This year, instead of falling into a procrastination rut, analyze your study habits. Do you work better in the morning or evening? What causes your procrastination, is it fatigue, stress, disdain for the subject, etc? Shut out any distractions (here are some useful sites for that). Additionally, set up a reward system; at the end of the week watch a few episodes of a show or get a manicure. Procrastination is fueled by stress and burn out, which is caused by working too hard all the time. The structure of an organized study schedule takes away tempting procrastination, prevents burn out, and improves time management skills.

5. Study Smart

Elaborating on the previous point, make sure that during your study sessions you get the most out of your time. Shut out all distractions and intensely focus on the task at hand. Use active reading techniques, paraphrase texts in your own words, and consolidate information in mind maps, flow charts, and outlines. For vocabulary heavy subjects, such as history, biology, anthropology, and the likes, use online flashcard sites like Quizlet or StudyBlue. These sites help you learn through a series of games and tests and track your progress.

For technical courses, such as math, physics, and chemistry, commit to solve all the problems in the textbook, not just the assigned ones. While it seems excessive, the truth is practice is the only way to completely understand the concepts taught in class. Test questions are exactly the same as the homework problems, just repackaged to confuse those who haven’t fully mastered them. For those difficult concepts that aren’t making sense, watching videos really help walk you through the examples and understand the material.

The new school year is a time for reflection and self improvement. Tweaking your sleep cycles, exercise habits, and study routines will have profound affects and make the next 10 months easier to manage. Commit to yourself and make a conscious effort to fix bad habits and you’ll see the benefits.

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