3 ways to jumpstart your best school year ever

It's Back-to-School season again. Are you just an average student? Are you the type whose grades are always near-failing due to your many activities? Or are you the top-student in the making, with your almost-Machiavellian pursuit of honors and high grades? No matter what your standing is or what kind of student you are, most of us want to enjoy school life while minimizing failures and incomplete grades as much as possible.

No matter how stressful it seems, there is a way to find balance. Decide what your goals are in studying, and meet them. When I started college, I decided that I want to be in the Dean’s List. I never cared much for extracurricular activities as long as I have time to read good books. It's you who sets your own priorities. Be clear.

1. Be organized.  Even if it's just your phone calendar or a more complicated and detailed planning system, it helps to have a tool to remind you of events, exams, and project schedules. After experimenting with so many apps and planners, I discovered the Bullet Journal. At its basic, its simply a DIY Planner you design yourself to suit your needs. There are a lot of resources on the net on how to make your own.

A page of my first bullet journal. Amusing cutouts from a movie flyer.
Good students plan and minimize procrastination as much as possible. Most students cram, but try doing your tasks earlier than them! It's a better feeling to have already accomplished things while others are panicking during finals. When I was in college, I made it a point to study hard during the start of the school year to exempt my final exams (or just to make sure that I will pass even if I don’t excel the finals) so I can also have more time to focus on the end-of-semester requirements.

2. Use the Library.  All the information in the world may be at our fingertips thanks to the internet, but for my studies and reports, I use books to save time. It's better to have one good and reliable resource rather than use the net, with all the information overload and you end up wasting more time searching for the best information to use.

Use the library to study. At least, if you’re alone and hiding there, your friends won’t easily distract you. One hour of focused study is better than broken study hours. With more focused study, you can enjoy other things without feeling guilty! It's really better to have good grades /and/ have fun at the same time!

3. Don't forget your friends. If your friends are not making you focus on your studies, think hard if they are really worth your time. I was lucky to have classmates and friends who are also focused on their studies. Friends are your source of support during the good and hard times of your college life, and they can be your friends for a lifetime beyond school.

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