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Whether or not you made resolutions for 2021, the end of the holidays and the start of a new year also often means the beginning of a new school term—whether you’re on a traditional semester schedule or a more modern continuous learning schedule. And even if you’re not the resolutions type, you probably still want to get this new school year off on the right foot, with an eye toward maximizing your time and acing your schoolwork.

We’ve compiled a list of seven tips and tricks you can apply to hopefully get your education journey started in the best way possible for 2021:

  • Check in on your goals — If you’re enrolled in a higher education program, more than likely you’ve got goals. To change careers. To improve your employment prospects. To qualify for more advanced opportunities. But are you still on track toward those goals that you started out with. Now is a great time to sit down and take stock of where you’re at, what you’ve accomplished, where you’re headed, and what you still need to do to get there.
  • Get organized — You don’t necessarily have to alphabetically support all your bookshelves or make a million color-coded spreadsheets, but taking some time to clean up your space — especially your study space — can be worth your while. Develop a system for where you’ll do your work at, where you’ll store your school supplies, and how you’ll transition between being a student and being a parent, caregiver, employee, etc. Creating a dedicated flow in your home and life can cut down on long-term stress when juggling multiple responsibilities.
  • Download a focus app — 2020 introduced many of us to the term “doomscrolling,” the practice of cruising news or social media sites continuously, waiting to see what new information comes across our timelines. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, but it can cut into our productivity and make it more difficult to concentrate on things like schoolwork. Combat it by downloading an app that’ll block the Internet and social media so you can keep yourself focused on the task at hand and not fall behind in your classes.
  • Get a personal planner — Planners vary widely from person to person — from bullet journals to customized day-by-day planners to the general yearly ones you can find at your local Walmart or Target. The one thing that remains the same is that they can be an excellent tool for helping you stay on top of everything going on in your life. Work, classes, errands, appointments, schoolwork — it’s a lot to keep track of, and writing everything down in one location will be extremely beneficial as you move through school.
  • Try out meditation — If you don’t already include meditation practice in your life, 2021 might be a good year to start. There are a whole range of guided meditation apps on the market to get you started, and it can be a great way to clear your mind and increase your focus. Taking even just five to ten minutes to meditate can pay off in a calmer, more productive mind. Bonus points if you can do it outside, as sunshine and fresh air are wildly beneficial to our mental health.
  • Start a gratitude journal — This one probably just sounds like more homework, but taking care of your emotional and mental health can result in greater efficiency and concentration when you sit down to your studies. And taking a few minutes each day to write down two or three things you are grateful for has been shown to have a positive effect on your outlook, which can translate to better achievements in your schoolwork.
  • Gather your support system — Going back to school as a working adult or nontraditional student is already tough. Trying to do it all on your own is even tougher. Our most successful students are the ones who communicate when they need help, guidance or support — whether it’s from family, loved ones, or our support team at Vista.

The start of a new school term can be an excellent time to take a wider look at everything you’re accomplishing and incorporate some tactics and habits that can help you successfully make it all the way to graduation. If you’re interested in going back to school or learning more about how career education can help you achieve your goals, contact Vista College today.

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