Back to School

Tips for Classicists on getting ready for the new term. 






It’s that time of year: as September looms closer, a lot of us are going to be returning to school in the next week or so. I should know – the new semester at Yale starts today! It’s not a great prospect for any of us – after a whole summer of freedom, to coax your brain back into working again. So what’s the secret to hitting the ground running when September comes around? And how on earth do you get back into the swing of Latin and Greek vocab when you can barely remember last year’s timetable any more? Well, here are my three Rs for getting ready for school:


STEP 1: Reorganise
You’ll start the new year a whole lot better if you begin by getting all your notes from last year into shipshape order. If you haven’t done so already, get together all your notes from each subject and separate each one into a different folder. Try to organise the files in a way that works for you – e.g., you could separate them with dividers marked by theme (vocabulary, grammar, tests, and so on), or you could work chronologically, through each lesson. Choose a method of organising your notes that you find intuitive, and that will make it quick and easy for you to find anything you need to look up in the new term. That way, you won’t waste time later on messing around with heaps of pieces of paper, when you need that one piece of vocab your teacher mentioned last year. 

STEP 2: Revise

Those of you who know your Latin know where this word comes from: the Latin verb re-video. Contrary to what the modern usage of the word suggests (that is, banging your head against a wall as you somehow try to cram all these facts and figures into your already chock-full brain), it actually means something else: ‘looking again’. Try looking over your notes again before term starts – you can even make your organising project do double duty and do a quick read-through your work as you file it! You’ll be amazed how helpful just a quick scan over last year’s notes can be to get the basic facts back into your head.

STEP 3: Relax

Make sure you get a good balance between work and play. Sure, you’re not going to do well at school if you relax all the time; but you’re also not going to fare particularly well if you hit the new term like a car slamming full speed into a brick wall. Make sure you pace yourself as you prepare for the new school year, and give yourself periodic breaks to relax and do whatever you enjoy doing most. You’ll come back to your work refreshed and ready for school – focused, sharp, and prepared for whatever the new year brings! 

Credit for images: HarperFinch Designs



 Emily Hauser is an author, scholar and lover of all things ancient. She loves to tell stories and inspire young people with her passion for the classical world. For more information and for details about her new book, For The Most Beautiful, visit her website at