It's that time of year again, September is well underway and we're settling into a new academic term and getting to grips with all the adapting and planning that comes with returning to education. Way out West looks at a few ways to make the transition from summer as easy as possible, with a five step survival guide.

Embrace your fresh start

After a long summer September can feel like a new chapter in our lives, especially if we're starting something brand new, such as entering further education for the first time. This new start is something to be embraced, whether as a means of continuing down the journey you have already been on, or as a chance to explore something new.

Take responsibility and find a routine that works

It never feels like it at the time, but one of the benefits of school is that we are kept there from 9 to 3.30, Monday to Friday. It gives us a strict routine to work within and allows for constant interaction and attention from our teachers. Entering further education, it can be tricky to get used to the independence and dedication required to properly apply yourself to your studies. With fewer people telling you what to do and how to work, it’s important to find a routine that suits you. This will vary depending on your timetable, any part time of full time job you have, and your extra-curricular and social activities you take part in (which are just as important to fit in). If you can find a timetable that allows you to fit all these aspects of your life together, then stick to it; having hours designated to work will make it easier to concentrate, and you’ll enjoy your time away from the desk more if you know you’ve worked hard and are on top of things.

Eat healthy and save money

As we say, September can be a fresh start, and the need to save money is a good excuse to eat healthy. A good start is to cut back on the takeaways and buy groceries in bulk. Fruit and vegetables can be bought in large quantity, and the bigger the bag, the more you’re saving. You’ll find staples like rice and pasta in bigger volume, and it’s better to buy them like this than falling into the trap of paying small portions in places like your local shop, where prices will be more extortionate. When falling back on more immediate supermarket shopping, try and shop late in the day, when food will be reduced, and if it’s nearly past its sell by date, don’t be afraid to avail of the value and keep it in the freezer. Use your leftovers; think, can tonight’s dinner be used for tomorrow’s lunch? Bringing home cooking into work or college is the easiest way to keep money in your pocket. A thermos of coffee is an instant money saver too. £2.50 a day on a coffee will soon add up.

Whether getting used to something new, or just acclimatising to life after a summer off, it’s important to stay stress free as you ease into the new academic year. Keeping on top of your work and staying positive about the journey ahead are a good way to try and avoid stress, but counselling is also available at South West College if necessary, providing a safe environment away from your daily life where you can explore problems or feelings which are difficult to manage. We are here to help when you are suffering from relationship difficulties, family issues, depression, addictions or anything else affecting you. To make an appointment with a Counsellor, please contact your Student Support Officer by calling into the Student Services Office or email:

Keep up to date with what SWC can do for you

If you want to keep up with everything that’s going on then it’s important not to let anything pass you by unnoticed, be it individual matters such as classes and assignments, or college wide events and opportunities. It’s important to check e-mails regularly and stay on top of them, and useful to regularly visit the colleges Blog and Facebook and Twitter pages.