How To: Beat the Back-to-School Heat

At this time last year, I was you. I was a new student eager to make new friends and enjoy all that ASU has to offer but extremely nervous about living on my own while attending such an enormous and impressive university. The first couple months of school are always busy. From Welcome Week activities to syllabus week, it’s difficult to stay focused and sane, for that matter. Not to mention, Arizona produces triple digit temperatures through the first month of school, so it’s only typical to become overwhelmed very early in the semester. Now that this former out-of-state transfer student has a year under her belt, she thought it would be helpful for SPM to offer new students all the advice they need to be successful in their first year. So, fear not, for SPM has come to your rescue to deliver the top 10 tips to stay cool, calm and collected.

Stay Cool

1) Hydration is key. This may seem obvious, but the key to staying cool on campus, besides staying in the A/C, is hydrating yourself. Hank Desmidt, mechanical engineering sophomore, suggests carrying around a gallon of water to get you through the day. ASU nurse practitioner Jean Arlotti agrees that water is the best way to stay hydrated. However, snacks such as fruit, nuts, granola bars and carrot sticks are just a few other healthy options for maximum hydration.

2) Dress appropriately. The average temperature for Arizona in August is 104 degrees and 100 degrees in September. Depending on a person’s diet and stature, it only takes one to two hours for one’s body to dehydrate in these temperatures, so it is important to keep your body cool, Arlotti says. The easiest way to cool one’s body is to wear appropriate clothing. Pants and long sleeves aren’t optimal, but if one must cover up, another way to stay cool is carrying an umbrella to provide shade. That sun is bright, so don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses too.

3) Utilize ASU’s free resources. Did you know all four Sun Devil Fitness Complexes (SDFC) have a pool you can use for free? Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen in your backpack before you leave for the day, and don’t be afraid to take a swim break between classes to cool off. Swimming is not only refreshing, but it’s also fun! An obvious tip, though, is to just stay inside. Hangout with friends in the MU, the fitness complexes or your dorm to stay cool. “I would suggest staying indoors during the day and going out at night as much as possible,” exercise and wellness sophomore Isaiah Ahmad said.

Sun Devil Fitness Complex:

Downtown Phoenix

330 N. 1st Ave.

Phoenix, AZ


7332 Sun Devil Mall

Mesa, AZ


400 E. Apache Blvd.

Tempe, AZ


13351 N. 47th Ave.

Glendale, AZ

Stay Calm

4) Get help. ASU offers dozens of resources for students to receive help with schoolwork or personal issues. If you’re working on a group project or want to start a study group, rent out the group study rooms at the libraries. If you’re confused about registering for classes or whether a certain class is right for you, make an appointment with your advisor. If math or science isn’t your best subject, use the tutoring center, and if you struggle with writing essays or citing sources, use the writing center. If you just need someone to talk to because the transition may be too overwhelming, then the counseling center is the place to go. ASU Counseling Services offers confidential counseling and crisis services for those who are struggling with family issues, problems in adjusting, and any other emotional concerns that impede students’ everyday life. No appointment necessary.

ASU Tutoring Services: University Academic Success Programs:

Downtown Phoenix: (602) 496-4278

Polytechnic: (480) 727-1452

Tempe: (480) 965-9072

West: (602) 543-6169

Visit for more information.

ASU Counseling Services: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Downtown Phoenix: (602) 496-1155

Polytechnic: (480) 727-1255

Tempe: (480) 965-6146

West: (602) 543-8125

Visit for more information.

5) Find your favorite study spot. This is important because you’ll be studying and doing homework almost every day of the week. If you have a chance, go explore campus to find your favorite quiet place to accomplish your assignments. But in case you don’t have time, here are a few of the best spots on campus according to your peers. Morgan Hammel, interdisciplinary studies senior, enjoys using the basement of the MU to study while Abby Kortsen, urban planning sophomore, finds Hayden Library to be the most helpful. Biomedical engineering sophomore Daniel Hersey and mechanical engineering sophomore Hank Desmidt recommend the Noble Library for engineering students. My favorite spot is the fourth floor pool deck at the Downtown Phoenix Sun Devil Fitness Complex. Most of the time it’s peaceful, and it always offers unbelievable views of the city.

6) Relieve your stress. It is commonly known that the best way to relieve stress and release endorphins is exercising. Run, walk, or ride your bike around campus after a long day’s work. Use the weights and cardio machines at the campus fitness centers. The SDFC is offering free Devil-X group fitness classes from Aug. 17 until Sept. 6, so grab your gym shoes and water bottle and get your sweat on!

Another great way to relieve stress and tension in your body is massage therapy. The Tempe SDFC offers massage therapy to students for great prices starting at $30 for a 30 minute massage. To schedule an appointment visit the Tempe SDFC admin desk or call 480-727-7802. Visit for more information.

7) Make time for fun. Yes, the reason you’re here is for your education. However, everyone deserves a little fun to blow off some steam. “Balance is key,” according to Joshua Jensen, criminal justice junior. Hang out with friends, join one or two of the hundreds of clubs ASU has to offer, play a pick-up game of soccer or basketball, or check out the latest movie at the nearest movie theatre – whatever makes you happy. Just don’t forget about that assignment due tomorrow or that test next week!

Stay Collected – Organization is your best friend.

8) Prioritize your to-do list. College is all about how well you manage your time, and this is your first test. The best way to prioritize your to-do list is keeping a planner. What’s more important? That party with your new friends on Friday night or your first exam on Monday? “Look at the bigger picture,” Hammel said. You are here for your education. “Write everything down by priority and how long it would generally take,” he said.

9) Keep your classes organized. Have separate folders or a binder with different tabs for classes. “Usually you have a couple of classes per day. Once an assignment is assigned, I usually get it done right away,” Kortsen said. The bottom line is not to procrastinate on your assignments. Procrastination only leads to disorganization, stress and sleepless nights.

10) Ask questions. “Don’t underestimate your classes. Don’t come in overconfident,” kinesiology sophomore Victoria Valenzuela said. Ask your teachers questions, and ask them early if there is any doubt in your mind about an assignment due dates or essay requirements. Some teachers may even take a look at your assignments before it’s due and offer suggestions to make it better. Believe it or not, your teachers want you to ask for help and want to give you A’s, but you have to want it too. Making the first move and taking the initiative early on will guarantee your success! Good luck, fellow Sun Devils!

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