Grades aren’t everything, but getting straight A’s sure helps if you want to go to qualify for scholarships or get into grad school.  And of course, we want to know that we learned as much as we could from the money we paid for school!

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Do These 5 Things this Summer to Get Straight A's This Fall
I’ve been making use of the Intentional Life Planner to get a better handle on how to get from A to B with my goals. We kind of backtrack: Where do I want to be in 5 years? What milestones do I need to hit to get there? What do I need to be doing this year to meet those goals? And then what do I need to do this month?
I want to be in a fully funded PhD program.
To get there, this year, I need to get straight As in my MA program.
To get straight A’s this year, I need to do…what, exactly, this month?
If I were in class this month, it would be obvious. But we’re on summer break. So what can I do this summer to work towards rocking school in the Fall?

#1 Get in a good routine.

This is important for anyone, but especially if you, like me, work a full time job alongside school. If I can’t figure out how to manage and make good use of my time right now, there is no way I will be staying on track when I add school back into the mix! A good nightly routine is one of the things that has helped me to stay on track during my busiest times, and a good morning routine will help to start the day off right. Decide now what you want that routine to be when you go back to school…and start working on that routine now! It won’t actually fall into place right away, but this will give you some time to build up that good habit.

#2 Get rid of stuff.

Clutter is a time & money waster. And let’s face it, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Especially students! Especially students who work full time! When we have too much stuff, or too much stuff for the space we have, or just the wrong kind of stuff in the space we have, here is what happens:
Things get lost/you forget you have them, so you buy another one #moneywaster
Things get broken so you have to buy another one #moneywaster
It is harder and takes you longer to clean your space #timewaster
You get stressed out #lifewaster
It takes you longer to get dressed or get started on pretty much anything because you have to get past the things you aren’t trying to get to. #timewaster
If we’re in school, we don’t have time, money, or life to waste! Take some time over the break to get rid of some stuff you don’t need or don’t have room for. Give away clothes that don’t fit, throw away stuff that is broken, sell your old textbooks online, return things that don’t belong to you, and think about “discarding duplicates.” I had way too many office supplies because…well, Staples clearance aisle…so I let my little brother come take his pick. Win-win. Maybe you even have some brand new things that you don’t need that can be sold, returned, or packed to re-gift.
If you have trouble getting rid of stuff, here are 5 tricks to make it easier.

#3 Get Organized.

Now that you have less stuff (or better yet, as you go), take the time to find good systems to keep it organized. Good systems don’t have to cost a lot of money.

Good systems for your stuff:

Keep what you need every day easily accessible

Keep what you don’t need as often out of your daily space.

Make it easy to follow your own rules.

For example, if your rule is that dirty clothes go straight in the laundry basket, do you have a laundry basket close enough to just toss straight in?
I wish I had taken “before” pictures. I had some craft supplies that I use a few times a year right next to my desk, but things I use every day were hard to get to. A few of those shoebox size bins that you can find at the Dollar Tree really come in handy! I “leaned down” by sorting through all the supplies, throwing out broken stuff and pens that don’t work, and giving away extras. Then, a few repurposed containers and some fun with my label maker, and I was all set! I know what I have, so I don’t buy what I don’t need.
For me, it works best to take one area at a time, and finish that area (as much as possible!) before moving on to the next.

#4 Get Healthy!

When we get busy in school, sometimes it is hard to make the good food and exercise decisions. Set yourself a goal to build some good health habits over the summer. It will be easier to do this while you don’t have school on your plate, and easier to stick with it when you go back to school if you have already gotten in the habit. And according to this report by the Center for Disease Control, healthy students do better in school. Sounds to me like a way to #studysmarter without even studying! My advice: Pick one small goal, not several, and build on that. You’ll be more likely to stick it out. I finally got a FitBit last month and I’ve been gradually increasing my steps goal.

#5 Save money.

The new semester always seems to come with unexpected expenses, and financial strain is really stressful. Not so good for rocking your semester. Try to cut your spending down over the summer – when there are fewer financial surprises – and intentionally save for the Fall. Budget out your semester – even your Starbucks fund – and save with that goal in mind. I have a savings account through Capital One 360 that lets me set a goal, auto transfer savings each month, and see in my bank account my progress towards that goal. Since I do so much studying in cafes, I also redeemed my credit card rewards points for Starbucks Cards and am saving them for my fall Starbucks fund.
You don’t need to tackle everything on this list, but maybe you can pick one or two things to work on this month to help get ready for the fall.

What are you doing now to get straight A’s later?

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