It’s hard to acknowledge that a whole month has passed during Winter Break and many students will try to put off the lingering date of the first class back for as long as they possibly can. But eventually you have to order books, make travel plans, and pack to head back. So how can you bounce back from your winter fun and make the most of your return to the land of college? There are a couple ways to cope with the looming change of pace that you are about to encounter— some may be more productive than others. One option would be to deny the inevitable, kick and scream and lock yourself in your childhood room. It should be noted here that 1. I highly doubt that will work, and 2. Any college “cred” you’ve earned from your parents since you went away might go flying out the window. There has to be another way—A way to return to school without sadness and roaring and ready for yet another semester.

If you follow these few steps, your transition from sleep-ins and free time to textbooks and dorm rooms should be a tad smoother. Remember, break may be fun, but there are plenty of advantages to being back at school too—think cleaning room standards, freedom, curfew (or lack thereof), and staples of a “college” food pyramid. So grab a pen, a piece of paper and break out your rusty note taking hand so you can jot down the important tidbits of getting ready for spring 2012.

Tip #1: Spring Cleaning is not a dated concept
One of the best ways to get ready for back to school—college age or not—is to clean up and clean out. To better prepare yourself for school get rid of clutter and old stuff. Do you have old clothes, shoes, papers, notebooks taking up mountains of space at home and in your dorm room? Make a pact to downsize and start fresh. Throw away old notebooks, donate and sell back old books, and go through old clothes to see what you wear and what you don’t. I can speak from personal experience in the cleaning department. Every time I come home from break I clean out my closet and do a goodwill run. It’s not necessary to do it every break, but let me tell you, it is a huge relief to go back to school feeling like you have your room in order and last season’s drab duds put to better use. Then, when you get back school you are left with only the stuff you wear and use on a regular basis! It makes such a difference and will leave you feeling excited to get going with the semester.

Tip #2: Treat yourself
So you’ve made the effort both at home and at school to de-clutter and simplify, now it’s time to pat yourself on the back and add a little sparkle to your newly cleaned up life. Treat yourself to new school gadgets—a bag, laptop cover, or flash drive—or maybe a fun new outfit that you can’t wait to wear all over campus. For me, I got new kicks—All Star Low-top Converse sneaks—to spice up my wardrobe and convince myself I’m ready to hit the books, looking good and feeling good too!

The same goes for school supplies! Nothing says, “I’m ready for class” like pens and notebooks, all shiny and new! Maximize all that spring-cleaning you did, and reward yourself with a little sparkle and pizzazz for your upcoming courses. By buying new accessories  you will help ease the stress of changing up your routine, and will buffer the boredom that accompanies the start of class. Everyone loves pulling new school supplies out of your tote, and lining up all of your prettiest pens and highlighters to impress the professor! In my opinion, the new school sparkle alone is exciting enough to get me back to class—but that’s just me.

Tip #3: It’s a date… so mark it
Even with the new razzle dazzle pencils, post-its and a clean room ready to go, there can still be a lull in excitement to get the semester started. So the next tip I have for you is get a new planner. Now most calendars end in December (obviously) leaving you room for an upgrade. However, some agendas keep right on rolling through the New Year. It’s up to you, and your organizing preferences of course, what you do next, but here’s my advice. Get a new planner, or agenda and start fresh. Mark all the dates of things coming up in the semester, and even the summer—maybe it’s birthdays that get you going, or formals, or even graduation, but mark it all down! It is way easier to get through class and the semester if you have things to look forward to. Mark down the fun stuff (like I said, birthdays, parties, date night etc.), but also the academic dates—midterms, finals, career fairs, exams, the like. Having everything down on paper will give you a sense of what’s to come and will help you keep on track. Now, if you want to have a little extra fun with this assignment, check the web for fun events going on in your area. Maybe there are some concerts you want to save up for, or a movie that is scheduled to come out, a sporting event you can’t live without seeing, etc. Plan ahead and write it all in your planner. Visualizing is a great way to set goals, make plans, and prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Tip #4: Spring Break bodies are not just for Spring Break…
Now as cliché as it sounds, getting fit is a great New Year’s resolution. It’s easy to over eat and cut back on the exercise routine during break because you can always get serious “next year”. Well the New Year is here, and getting fit is not only a great way to start out the year, but also a great way to start the semester! Have you seen Legally Blonde? If you’re like me, you’ve seen it at least a bagillion times so here’s a little a quote you should remember: “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands”. Most of this quote applies to us college co-eds–endorphins will make you happy and give you more energy to run around campus with your books and what not, and hopefully, for most of us, suppress the urge to shoot anybody. Let’s hope.

But seriously, exercising can help make the saddest of days just a little happier, and put a much-needed pep in every step. It’s the preconceived notion that exercise makes you tired, but in fact, it does the exact opposite! Even if you aren’t into hard core cardio or intense weight work outs give your body some much needed movement. Even walking to the end of campus and back just to get some steps in is a good way to ensure you aren’t staying stationary for too long. You will be able to focus and get more schoolwork done if you aren’t sluggish and tired. Plus, it won’t hurt your spring break plans to tighten up that figure of yours just for fun—no beach required (although booking a trip wouldn’t be bad for your motivation either!)

So all in all, it’s important to remind yourself of all the little bonuses of being back at school. Think positively and remember all the fun times, study parties (and real ones) that are in store for the semester and try to lose the ‘tude when it comes to moving back in. You will love being back as soon as you get reacquainted and settled in. And hey! If all else fails, make plans for the weekend as soon as you get back so you have something to immediately celebrate!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading An Introduction to Literature



  1. Amy Burke this is such a fun and enlightening blog. I am now starting my second semester of junior year. I am a business management and international studies major at Temple University which is in Philadelphia. I am forwarding this article to my mother in Kentucky. She always is talking about fun ways to spice up or energize me for school. This article sounds exactly like my mother, its to funny! Since you sound like such a fun young lady I have a question. I have the most adorable girlfriend and we’ve been dating for 8 wonderful months! Her birthday is coming up and I was wondering if you know of any fun ways to decorate her dorm room, or her door, or anything that might make her birthday special.
    p.s. As you may have guessed my name is not Dick Boobarini as I’m sure your name is not Amy Burke. I used that name to be fun and keep this comment confidential.
    your friend,
    Dick Boobarini

  2. I’m so glad you like the post! You have to spice up your routine if you want to return to campus with a smile on your face!
    I love your question– and you’re in luck! My boyfriend (of almost 2 1/2 years! Whoo!) surprised me big time on my birthday this year, so much that I still smile about it a semester later!
    Here’s the scoop (keep in mind there are many ways to decorate rooms, but this is just an idea!): While I was out and about on campus my boyfriend, let’s call him Fred, came over armed with balloons, streamers, sparkle confetti, a birthday banner and a homemade date night itinerary! He blew up about 30 balloons– pink, red, orange, all the bright and bubbly colors!– and stuck them on the ceiling, on the walls, on the floor and all over my bed! Then he put up the banner across one of the walls and scattered confetti on the hard surfaces–the desk, dresser, etc (makes for easier clean up then if he would have put them on the floor!) The streamers looked amazing hanging from above my bed and almost gave it a princess feel– which sounds like it would be perfect for your leading lady!
    Here’s the show stopper of the surprise: Not only was I surprised to come in and see the birthday explosion that was now my dorm room, but there waiting for me on my bed was simple packet of information Fred had left for me– presented in folder! I was intrigued. Inside he had planned out a whole date night for us– complete with map quest directions, reviews of the restaurant, a handmade reservation ticket, and movie times! It was so thoughtful and sweet.
    So let’s talk logistics– this surprise was utterly fantastic AND easy to manage if you want to replicate it! All it takes is a trip to the dollar store, a little bit of creativity, and ploy to get her out of her room! And like I said, if you want to put the cherry on top of the great surprise, add a heartfelt detail like the date night packet to really show her you care! (It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a picnic, a walk, anything you want! It’s totally customizable!)

    Hope this helps & Good Luck! Let me know if you need anything else– I live for fun ideas to spice up every day!

    xoxo Amy Burke… Now known as Ring Queen because of my love for rings and fun flare!

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