The new school season has already kicked in. If you are a new student, you are probably looking to get settled in a fresh environment, and if you are a returning student, you should be gearing up for another year of hard work—especially those of you who are who are entering fourth, fifth and sixth form, and are traveling along the CXC and CAPE highway.

It will be hard for you as students to get back into the school groove after a great two months of summer fun. But have no fear because CHOICES is here and we have solicited some advice from university students who were once in your position, about how you guys can quickly ease yourself back into academic mode and become fully organised for the long road you have ahead.

It is essential as you enter the final years of high school that you practice proper study habits and become well organised. However, developing good study habits and being very organised can be a hard task, but most university students agree that planning, group study and a proper diet are key practices that you all must adhere to if you want to be coordinated and have a good study habit.

Stacy-Ann Delevante, a third year Media and Communication Student, said planning is a key ingredient to add to your pot of organisation.

“Planning is best when it comes to studying and making time tables are helpful. If you are a student entering the CXC and CAPE levels, you need to learn how to schedule study hours separate and apart from play hours. Studying in groups can also help—study with individuals who know the subject areas better than you do and they will be able to impart information to you and ensure your understanding of it.” she said.

A clear-cut focus on your goal is already a great start to nurturing the good study habits that you need to possess this year. If you are a student who does not succumbed to peer pressure you are already on your way to being organised, said Shanna-Kay Small.

“You have to stay focused on your goal and do not give in to peer pressure. If you do not give in to peer pressure you will always stay focused,” the second year Humanities and Education student at the UWI said.

Procrastination is never a good ingredient to add to your pot of organisation. According to Sedinna Thomas, a final year Social Sciences student, “lagging behind” does not get you far.

“Keep up to date with your studies and do not procrastinate with your work. Ensure that each assignment that you are given to do is on time and keep focused and get yourself proper sleep,” she said.

It was a similar response for Jimenta Swain, a Bahamian national looking to further her studies here in Jamaica.

“You have to develop proper study habits and try to get organised in the sense that, if you know you have a particular subject in mind that you have to study for, organise yourself so that you have time for study and time for recreation. It can’t be all study as it would not be a balanced way to operate. But if you study and prepare you should be fine. Always eat break fast and try to get a little exercise because that helps to boost your metabolism and you will have more energy throughout the day. This will help you function better and you will become an overall healthy person,” she said.

“Don’t stress yourself out…if you don’t do as well as you wanted in high school that doesn’t mean that you are going to be a failure in life. But I would advise you to always plan ahead and prepare. That means study, stay close to your teachers so that you can go close to them after class or after hours for assistance. Ensure that you make friends with persons who have taken the exams already so that they can advise you in terms of time management in exams, the structure of exams and stuff like that,” said Noelle Nicolls.

Remember that having a plan represents your end goal in mind. Many of you guys do not succeed, not because you had plans that failed but because you simply failed to plan. Having a good study plan or a timetable showing your subject areas and your study pattern can actually help you to organise your days and make study time easier and less tiresome.

To recap what we have already stated, always ensure that you start the day off the right way with a healthy breakfast, as this will give you the extra burst of energy that you will need to operate throughout the day. Have a positive attitude to whatever subjects you have chosen to do. Remember that the teachers are not the ones who will be sitting the exams and therefore your dislike for them will not help you in anyway to grasp the subject fully. Have an open mind to your teachers.

Another important bit of advice is to be punctual. Being on time for class, assignments and examinations can either make you or break you. Being late for classes will not put you on the path to be well organised, neither will it help you develop good study habits. Your earliness for classes will ensure that you get all the necessary information that will be useful to you if you decide to participate in a study group, as you will be on the top of your game like all the others in the group.

Laura Matthews spent her summer months on an internship programme in the Bahamas. She is now back in class at UWI for her final year at The Caribbean Institute of Media & Communication (CARIMAC).