Spectrum editor’s back to school list

Illustration by Killian Goodale-Porter

Chloe Hawkins, Spectrum Editor

Welcome back to campus, Rams! As we transition out of the “summer scaries” and back into reality, it’s important to remember the life hacks that get students through the first week of fall semester. 

1. Buy a monthly planner 

Starting a new semester can take a lot of planning and organizing. A monthly planner is critical to smoothly track everyday classes, appointments and meetings. In middle school, when teachers would force students to get an agenda, I never understood why — until college. It really is necessary for remembering when and where to be. 

2. Carry a dependable backpack

A sturdy backpack is so important to have when in school. A bag that can hold every type of textbook, no matter how large. Without this, it is more likely to forget the supplies needed. Speaking from personal experience, keeping multiple books in a tote bag is not recommended, in order to avoid multiple rips in the bag by the end of the week. 

3. Take notes in all of your classes

Note-taking is what students do most in school. Having a good pen and notepad at all times is an essential part of being a student and a learner. It’s good to have pens in all different colors to also edit schoolwork. 

Highlighters are also important. This item ties back into the note-taking part of classes. It calls attention to parts of lectures that further learning, and accentuate major parts of the textbooks. 

4. Ask questions in your lectures

Taking notes will help a ton, but so will speaking up in class. It sounds intimidating, but it is rewarding at the end of the day. Asking any and every question — even the “stupid” ones — will give everyone the knowlege they need. It will also help with standing out to professors. 

5. Wait to buy your textbooks

There are so many expenses that come along with college. Don’t add any useless items to the bills. Don’t be too eager to waste hundreds of dollars purchasing textbooks before professors state the requirement. Wait until the second week to know what’s actually going to be used, and what it is supplemental. 

Visit Richmond’s libraries or VCU’s own to check if the book is available before buying. That money could go towards a morning coffee from your local coffee shop!

6. Take some time for self care 

Everyone is busy during the first week of classes, whether it’s lectures, internships, jobs or all the above. Make it a priority to put time aside for self care — both mentally and physically. This can look like yoga, meditation or even a long and intricate night routine. My favorite form of self care is completely disconnecting from my phone and laptop. No social media. No messaging. No emails.


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