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Career Monday: How to Prepare Yourself for Going Back to School

School can be an intimidating place sometimes, but you can make it far less scary by being prepared. Whether you’re a teenager facing a foreign environment or an adult who’s returning to college, it can be unnerving. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be a harrowing endeavor.

You can prepare yourself for the educational experience so you’re ready to face the challenges that may pop up over the course of the year. By organizing your life and planning your schedule wisely, you can control the school experience, instead of the experience controlling you.

Follow these tips to prepare for the upcoming school year:

1. Forget what you see in movies and television. Despite what “Ender’s Game” may’ve suggested, your classmates won’t be sadists who single you out and harass you for their own amusement. Movies also suggest that schools pigeonhole you into various cliques. While this is more evident in high school than in college, it doesn’t work to the extent that John Hughes movies or “Saved by the Bell” would have you believe.

2. You can always pre-study. If you have a class that you’re nervous about, you can get a jump on the material by glancing over the textbook before classes begin. The internet is another handy source to read ahead and familiarize yourself with the basics of the material that’ll be covered in each course. Even just a glance in advance can help you retain the information much easier.

3. Regiment your time. As a kid, it’s simple: you go to school, come home, do your homework, and then you have free reign until bedtime. As an adult, you must take work and family responsibilities into account. Balancing school and a job can be done successfully with proper planning.

• Your reasons for going back to school will also play a role in how you schedule your time. If you’re taking the classes for recreational purposes, you can get away with only taking a class or two. If you’re going for a degree or certificate, your goals may require a higher workload. Be careful, though, to only take on what you can reasonably handle.

4. Know your limits. While it’s true that you go to school to expand your mind and learn about unfamiliar topics, it’s important to schedule your course load wisely. Seek to take difficult classes in different semesters to ease the pressure a little. Avoid putting off your least favorite courses until the end. Instead, sprinkle them throughout to make things easier on yourself.

5. Stay organized. When taking multiple classes, it’s important that you keep things organized. The difficulty of this task will vary depending on your class load. If you’re taking multiple classes, binders or multi-subject note books with dividers can keep class materials organized and all in one place.

School can be a fulfilling experience that challenges your mind and expands your horizons to a whole new world of possibilities. It can also be overwhelming. As the school year approaches you can ease that feeling of trepidation with careful planning. An organized schedule and mind is the key to your success in school.

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