Dig Deep: Your Back-to-School Questions Answered

By Leslie Veliz

Hello! Welcome to Dig Deep’s first Q&A session.. We received a variety of questions on getting back into school mode. So, here it goes! Don’t forget, every week will have a different topic. Submit your questions by Friday, and they will be answered every Wednesday! 

What's your best advice on gaging workload at the beginning of the semester? I have too much ambition the first day of school, and by December, I'm way over my head.

It’s normal to feel ambitious the first few days of school and to feel overwhelmed as the semester goes on. One of the best ways to handle the workload is time management. This is easier said than done, but with the right tools, it can be accomplished.

Invest in a planner to write down the due dates of all of your assignments. Visually seeing something can make it easier to manage the workload; it also feels good to cross things off your list! Canva is a great website that allows you to make schedules for free. You can download it to your computer or print physical copies. If not, there’s always your phone’s calendar app. 

Don’t forget: Your syllabus is your best friend. Look at future assignments and jot down their due dates. Don’t leave all your work for the last minute! If you have four classes, do work for two classes on one day, and the rest on another. If you leave it all for one day, you’ll be overwhelmed and the quality of your work may suffer as well. As the semester goes on, you will get busier, but if you stay on top of things, it’ll make it less painful. Remember: You are doing a great job and your best—even if it may not feel like it sometimes. 

What are some quick ways for us to destress throughout the school week? Having school back to back can make it difficult to relax and reset for the next day. 

For many of us, school takes over our lives, making it difficult to find any time for ourselves. Because of this, it is important to do little things that make us feel good. Sometimes that means taking a short walk, or even getting our favorite Starbucks drink. Take mini breaks throughout the day by reading something mindless on social media. I find that listening to podcasts instead of music helps me destress more. Some of my favorites include This American Life, The History Chicks, and Modern Love. Watch an animated TV show on Netflix or Hulu; episodes are usually 30 minutes or less, which can make you feel less guilty than watching an entire hour of a show. Overall, find something that feels good to you, and do it when you feel you need it!

Tips for staying healthy during the semester?

Staying healthy means taking care of yourself both physically and mentally. To do so, one must sleep and eat well. This may seem like a big task, but at its root, it’s all about managing your time well and staying on top of things. If you do this, you’ll of course be less stressed, but also have more time to rest and sleep! Getting nine hours of sleep is essential but may not be realistic to many of us. Regardless, get as much sleep as you can.

Schools are filthy places, so make sure to wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer. It’s also a good idea to stay active during the semester. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, make small changes. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to class from the parking lot instead of taking the shuttle.

Diet greatly contributes to good health. It’s easy to eat badly at school when junk food is readily accessible and cheap. So start packing your own lunches and snacks. Make time during the week to go to the grocery store. If it’s easier, buy healthy snacks in bulk from places like Costco if you don’t have time to go every week. This will not only keep you healthy, but save you money. Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration for lunches or snacks. You won’t have to keep buying food on campus if you already have your own healthy lunch. Last but not least, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water! 

What’s the best way to save money on textbooks?

Buying textbooks from the bookstore should be your last option! University bookstores are notoriously expensive. Unless they are the only ones that sell the book (it happens), check other sites like Amazon or Chegg. Instead of buying the book, rent it. If you can’t rent the book, buy a used version. If you have a class with a friend or someone you know, you could always split the price and set a schedule so both of you can use the book. Textbooks will unfortunately always be expensive, but checking multiple sites, renting, or sharing could save you some money.