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Tips for getting back into the school routine

Sean Whalen, CEO of Lions not Sheep and Meetrz, works out every morning in order to stick to a routine, even if he’s on vacation. If he doesn’t work out in the morning, he says he can tell that his entire day will be off. (Jaclyn Daly)

One thing all students can relate to is coming back for Spring semester after a nice long break of spending time with family, holiday parties, playing in the snow and hanging out with friends. 

For some it’s difficult to adjust back into a school routine after having no responsibility. However, there are some things that students can do to help them get back into the school routine.

Life Tips 

There are a few tips you can put into practice in order to make this transition a little easier on you. One way is to fill your metaphorical bucket with people, places and things you enjoy, according to Laura Iverson-Bastiani, assistant director of fitness, wellness and recreation.

“It can be hard to go back to schedules and discipline after having a month off to be with friends and family,” she said. “Be sure to ‘fill your bucket’ to avoid burning out.” 

Just because you’re back in school doesn’t mean you can’t do all the winter sports, hobbies and activities you did over break. Once you know your school schedule, put at least one of those back into your weekly routine.

Organizational Tips

A great tip to help you plan out your week is to have a planner. 

Chloe Phayleuhat, BBA alum, said she will stay organized by using her daily task tracker Asana. In addition to her organization she also uses a ‘levenger’ planner to stay organized on paper. 


This fully customizable planner with amazing features is found on plumpaper.com. Some students say the best way to organize your life is to plan it out and write it down. (Makayla Kirk)

“My levenger is a great to use because it’s like a notebook with different organization tools and paper comes in and out without ripping,” she said. 

After you have a good planner, Anna Gamboa, a professor of communication at the College of Western Idaho, suggested that students print off the syllabus and read over it before class even starts.

“Get to know your professors and understand exactly what they will be expecting of you over the next four months,” she said. “If you’re unclear about something, ask.” 

After you have your syllabus you should mark important dates in your calendar and plan ahead, so you aren’t stressed or overwhelmed when big assignments or tests are coming up. 

Now that you have some tips on how to stay organized, let’s talk about your health and what tips can help you get back into a school routine. 

Health Tips

Iverson-Bastiani said that it’s important to get enough sleep.

“Go to bed early to make it easier to get up in the morning,” she said. 

It’s so easy for students to lose track of time while they’re studying or finishing up assignments late at night. If you try to get a full night’s rest, but have a difficult time going to bed early enough a good tip is to set an alarm for what time you should go to bed in order to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep. 

Even if you’re lucky enough to get a full night’s rest, students have a difficult time waking up. Setting five alarms and hitting snooze is way easier than waking up to that annoying alarm knowing that you have to get ready for class. 


Students have said that it’s very difficult to workout because they don’t know what to do once they get to the gym. Taking a group class gives students numerous options to find what workouts they enjoy and it also offers them a community. 
(From westminstercollege.edu)

According to an article on finance.yahoo.com, this post-snooze phenomenon is the reason you often feel groggy, disoriented and uncoordinated when you first get up, and it can last anywhere from four seconds to four hours after waking up.  

“The good news is, you might be able to kick daily drowsiness just by switching your alarm from the usual beeping or ringing to a much more pleasant noise,” the article said. “A recent study from RMIT University in Australia found that waking up to more melodic alarm sounds, whether it’s an upbeat song or a more musical alarm tone, can help counteract the negative effects of sleep inertia.”

When you wake up early enough, you can add another good tip to your routine. Iverson-Bastiani said that it’s always a good idea to try and get some sun exposure in the morning. 

“This helps regulate circadian rhythm which makes it easier to wake up and go to bed on time,” she said.

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle.

This tip is harder to do in the winter. According to an article on health.clevelandclinic.org, sun lamps positively impact your body’s regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycle, as well as serotonin, which helps regulate your mood by relaying signals in your brain.

If you don’t have enough time to get some sun exposure, Nicole Wilson, Westminster alum and teacher at East High School, says that coffee is the only way she can get up in the morning. 


Light therapy will affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep. Using a light and vitamin D will help get you back on track and into a healthy school routine. (Jaclyn Daly)

“I make sure that my coffee is on a timer so that it’s ready when I wake up the next morning so I can be nice to my students,” she said.

If you aren’t a coffee drinker, breaking an early morning sweat will reward you. An article on bicycling.com said, “New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds that morning exercise helps your brain work better all day, even if you are forced to sit for the rest of it.”

Sean Whalen, CEO of Meetrz and Lions not Sheep and author of “How to Make Sh*t Happen,” said his morning routine is as crucial to him as the air that he breathes. 

“Every morning I have the ability to dictate the direction of my day by the intentional actions I choose,” he said. “One of the most important aspects of my morning is my fitness.”

Westminster provides a great gym facility on campus, but a lot of students aren’t aware that they also have a wide variety of group classes. If you’re unsure where to start or if you want to find a community this would be a great place to look. 

“Getting the difficult work done first thing every morning is what gives me the confidence to handle the curveballs the day is going to throw at me,” Whalen said. “If you get a workout in before class, you’ll have more mental clarity and be more inclined to ask questions, participate in discussions and absorb the information.”

Now that you have some tips on how to get back into the school routine, enjoy the semester and don’t forget to reach out to the multiple school resources that Westminster provides if you’re struggling. 

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Jaclyn Daly
Jaclyn is so excited to finish her final semester at Westminster College so she can continue to grow her makeup artistry business, J and L makeup, which is often featured on FOX13 and PCTV. Jaclyn is a former NBA Golden State Warrior dancer, so she's looking forward to writing articles on the Westminster sports teams. In her free time you can find her snowboarding, boxing or traveling.

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