Fall Into Your Future

5 Cool Reasons to Go Back to School in the Fall

Back to School
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Whenever fall creeps in, we tend to get that familiar back-to-school feeling. For most of us, it’s an association: We’ve come to expect each school year to start up right around Labor Day, give or take. And for the grownups among us, maybe that means you’re going back to school too, either continuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, or considering advancing your education.

We at West Coast University thought we’d think beyond tradition and ask ourselves why we shift into study mode in autumn. It turns out, there are some intriguing and science-based reasons fall is the optimal time to go back to school – and they span subjects you might even study there. Here’s our five top reasons it’s cool when it gets cool to go back to school.

  1. History of the Autumn School Schedule

To get you in the mood for BTS, a little backgrounder: The most commonly held understanding of the creation of the summer break is that it was built around the agrarian calendar. This is actually false, or at least mostly false. Think about it: The times of year parents needed their children working the fields during the “farming economy” were planting season (spring) and harvest season (fall). Not summer. So when it comes to this theory, historians say no.

For the real history  we turn to pre-air-conditioned city life. Before urban dwellers had AC – and for the poorer among them, also after – the summer months were unbearable enough that anyone with means would escape to whatever seaside, lakeside, or other retreat brought relief from the heat (and smell) of summer in the city. So schools shut down for summer and reconvened in the fall, when things got a little less sweaty. Eventually, this was adopted in suburban and rural areas too, creating a nationwide standard

  1. Back to School Biology

Let’s move on to science. When it’s too hot, you don’t think as well. Several studies have shown that decision-making and reasoning take a hit in scorching weather. One study in particular by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics  showed that students performed more poorly on tests when they were taking during hot weather in rooms without air conditioning, and that in un-air-conditioned schools, learning was reduced by 1% per 1 degree Fahrenheit of heat.

So why does heat fizzle your wits? The theory is that it has something to do with glucose. Glucose is used in both decision-making and body-temperature regulation. So when your body needs to use glucose to cool, there’s less left over for your brain. Fall cooldown means less overheating, so your gray matter doesn’t have to share as much

  1. Home Economics’ Back to School Impact

We’re talking both macro and micro. We’ve already established a few reasons school’s out for summer, and for adults – in particular, parents – that means several fewer hours a day for their own pursuits, including continuing education. Kids can be a distraction, albeit a delightful one. Try studying between softball games, lunch prep, and tantrums. So for grownups, going back to school in the fall, when the kids do, only makes sense.

Plus, when the kids are in school, it’s a lot harder to plan a family vacation. Between that, and the economics of the travel industry itself, which relies heavily on the summer season and builds much of its revenue cycle around it, time is money. Plus, who doesn’t want to trade in their textbooks for a beach read each year?

  1. How Mythology Interprets Fall Learning

How about a little divinity school? Meet Saraswati , the Hindu goddess of knowledge, wisdom, art, music, speech and learning. And, hey, guess what? Her favorite season is fall. Though her name and iconic depictions vary across sects and languages, Saraswati is commonly illustrated with four arms and holds various objects of symbolism, among them a “pustaka,” a book symbolizing learning, and a pot of “soma,” a drink that infuses knowledge.

Some religious texts credit her with inventing the language of Sanskrit, and of giving writing implements to Ganesh. This goddess is all about bookish inspiration, at just the right time of the year to start soaking up some fresh knowledge. There’s a little worldly wisdom for you. The more you know…

  1. Dendrology: Nature’s Fall Back to School Schedule

This is the science of trees and wooded plants. Nature’s dropping hints…in the form of leaves. We’ll explain. Autumn’s mise-en-scene offers up another cue to get back to the books, through the colors of fall foliage. Reds, oranges, and yellows have been identified as stimulants for attention and active participation. Red in particular activates a “danger” response that can motivate the brain to achieve rather than fail, galvanizing you to prep for tests.

Even if you’re not a “leaf peeper,” these colors are everywhere come autumn, from fall fashions to Halloween and Thanksgiving decor, so they’ll be all around you to help your brain activate and absorb. Plus, pretty colors, right?

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably already in BTS mode. Whether you’re considering taking on an MBA program , ready to take your BSN to an MSN-level degree , or just exploring your options for online study, campus learning, and flexible schedules for working professionals looking to go graduate-level with your credentials, West Coast University has a wide range of programs so you can enroll in before the first leaf, well, falls.

And while you’re here, check out some of our other quick reads on healthy study habits, tips for success, and ways to decompress between cram sessions:

A Guide to Good Mood Food

Decompression Session: Anxiety Triage

Decompression Session: Micro Meditation

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