25 Aug How to prepare for the academic year while holding on to the summer feeling

Go study in the Vondelpark. Image: flickr Wouter de Bruijn

During the first few months of the academic year, life can be hard. As a student, you need to get back into your college rhythm: while your head is still full of summer parties and sunny barbecues, you need to focus on science again. Let me give you some tips to prepare for the coming switch and for keeping the summer high!

Back to the academic rhythm

The day-night rhythm that you have during the summer holiday is probably different than the rhythm that you used to have during the academic year. In order to avoid a shock, you can try to get back into your academic rhythm during the last week of August. This means: get out of bed before noon, have breakfast, lunch and dinner when it is about the right time for it. Or, for some of us: try to incorporate some pauses in your permanent hangover. It may sound dumb, but it will definitely help you to survive your first week of classes, when your alarm starts beeping painfully every morning.

Get organised!

Organising helps you to get prepared for the time that you actually have to do stuff (it may feel like the far-off  future, but it is only a few days ahead). So, throw out college notebooks of courses you’ve already passed, update your calendar and clean up your computer. Also, buy the books you will need in the first period, so you won’t start the year lagging behind. This is also the perfect time to sell the books of last year that you won’t need anymore. Websites that can help you sell your old study books are, Studystore and bookmatch. Sometimes you can almost get the purchase price back!

Summer ain’t over yet

Going back to the university after a long and lazy summer can be tough, but you can make it more bearable by keeping the summer feeling close. The average temperature during daytime in September is still almost 20°C. There are always sunny days that make you feel like you’re on holiday again. So use your free time to go outside and enjoy Amsterdam’s beautiful parks and terraces to experience the ultimate summer feeling. You can even study outside, if you’re disciplined enough. Another thing to make the switch from beach to classroom less hard, is to trade your first coffee of the day for home made iced coffee which you can bring along in a thermos flask. Also, everything looks a little bit nicer through sunglasses. So, if the intense light of the screen projector is a little too much for you during your first lecture, you can always use the tinted glasses to dim the light a bit. 

A real new start: the Intreeweek

For first year students, after an even longer holiday, it’s an even bigger struggle to go back to class (and to be awake during daytime and all that). Besides preparing for the academic year, first-year students have to prepare for the Intreeweek as well. For that, the most important things are to get a bike in Amsterdam, arrange a place to stay the nights and to be open to new people and experiences. You can get a cheap second-hand bike (non-stolen) from the ASVA or bring your bike from your parent’s home town by train. If you do not have a room in Amsterdam yet and you do not feel like sleeping in the USC sports centre, ask the fellow students in your group  whether they have a room  you can stay in. It’s a nice way to get to know your fellow students better!

I wish you the best of luck with the start of the academic year. Don’t forget to hold on to the summer feeling until it starts snowing! Please let me know how you experienced the transition from holiday to studying!

WTF lotte

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WTF lotte

WTF lotte

Master student Biomolecular Neuroscience
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