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Back to School: Preparing for a New School Year!

Written By: Katayoun Daneshjoo

Katayoun Daneshjoo is first-year student at the UW. She currently is in a pre-science track, with plans to major in Neuroscience.

"I was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. when I was in sixth grade. Being the first in my family who wanted to pursue higher education, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about the college admission process and college life. So, at the end of my junior year when most of my friends were talking and researching about the universities they wanted to apply to and writing their personal statement, I realized how unprepared I was for my senior year. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to Hey Mentor. During my senior year, my mentor helped me gain a better understanding of the admission process and how to write an effective essay. Having a mentor had a big impact on my transition to college. So, I decided to become a mentor for HM to guide students with the similar background as mine to the path of success."


Starting college can be exciting but terrifying at the same time. For many freshmen, the new level of academic freedom at college is something that they have been waiting for. However, if not managed well, the workload that piles up can become very overwhelming. The key to becoming successful, no matter if you’re a freshman or senior, is a good preparation for the school year. Here are some tips, that work for me personally, to start the new academic year in the best way possible:

1. First and foremost, recognize the importance of having some time to yourself:

Although being able to study on your own is crucial in college, you don’t want to burn your brain out. Find some hobbies, extracurricular activities, or anything else that helps clear your mind and have some fun. Classes are very important, but your mental and physical health should always come first, especially during these difficult times.

2. Do research on available resources:

Use your university/college’s website to find resources that are available to you as a student. This could be from advising to clubs and sports. Colleges offer numerous resources to students considering the size and diversity of their student body, but there’s not really a person that will tell you all about it. So, make sure you do some research before it’s too late.

3. Set up a meeting with your advisor:

Make sure to meet with your advisor before the school year starts, or at the beginning, to plan an academic plan for the upcoming year. By doing so, you can make sure you are using your time properly and are on track with classes you are required to take. Advisors can also help you find resources and/or programs based on your interest.

4. Make a personal calendar/planner:

This might not be something that works for everyone, but I personally find it to be very helpful. Creating a daily checklist for things I needed to do helped me remember things that were important. I highly recommend making an if not daily, weekly planner to help you keep track of things you need to do and stay organized.

5. Erase the phrase “I’ll do it later” from your mind for good. Period.

6. Lastly, start the year with an open mindset:

Do not think about failing a class or not being able to do an assignment before it has actually started. Be optimistic. With an open mindset, you can achieve all of your goals.

I know freshman year can be overwhelming and scary, but when it’s over you will turn back and laugh at things that scared you. These are just some points to help you have a great high school to college transition. This year can be challenging for many students, but remember we are all in it together. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Make the best out of this year.

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