It’s been a while since I’ve gone back to school, but I still remember that feeling of possibility that accompanied a new school year. Every September came with a chance to start over, a shake-up of social hierarchy, a promise to do things differently this time around.

Even without its academic implications, the end of summer and the beginning of fall still signifies a transition, a time to take stock of things and start fresh.

Here’s how to take your dating life back to school.

1. The Supply Run

You know how in the first weeks of school, you somehow felt like a better student thanks to your super sharp pencils, your meticulously labeled notebooks, and your super sweet binder? Just as new school supplies can make you feel better about starting school, new clothing, accessories, or even a haircut can make you feel refreshed and confident.

Not saying you need to run out and purchase a whole new wardrobe, but a new jacket, new shoes, new lipstick, briefcase, or even nail color will go a long way in making you feel spruced up and ready to date.

2. Focus

You hopefully had a nice, lethargic summer, and if you were lucky, a fling or two. But summer is over, and if you don’t want to be single come Christmas, it’s time to get serious.

Just as academic success takes focus and discipline, so does dating. That ex you still occasionally flirt with? That work crush that isn’t really going anywhere? That online dating profile which you half-completed and then abandoned? None of these things are helping you get into the relationship you want.

If finding someone is a goal of yours, figure out a plan, and take the necessary steps to make it happen. Try and figure out why exactly you’re single: do you have emotional baggage you’re hanging on to? Is there something in your approach that needs tweaking? Is there something about your manner or appearance that you could take a look at? Are you putting yourself in the types of situations that will lead to a relationship?

Obviously, finding the right person is ultimately a matter of kismet, but focusing on your goals and making yourself as ready for love as possible will ease the way.

3. Homework

There isn’t a kid alive who doesn’t at some point or another complain about homework. It sometimes can feel like a waste of time, especially when all you want to do is watch TV and hangout with your friends. But homework is a necessary evil for those who want to do well in school.

For adults looking to find a relationship, homework takes a more enjoyable, but nonetheless sometimes taxing form: dating.

Sign up for HowHookup and propose a date every week. Message users you think you’d get along with, and when they suggest meeting in person, say yes. In fact, say yes to anyone who asks you out on a first date, online or off.

If you want to get better at dating, if you want to find the right person, you’re going to have to go on dates, some of which will be hard work. But working towards a relationship means always saying yes, even if you’d rather be watching tv.

4. Extracurriculars

All work and no play makes Jack a very dull date. As important as it is to focus on your dating life (and work life, and family life), it’s just as important to lead a well-rounded, balanced existence.

What are the things that make you a happy, calm person? Is it working out? Spending time with your friends? Taking time to do something creative, like writing or painting or cooking?

If you take a class, or join a group, you’ll widen your social circle, and thus your dating pool. But extracurriculars aren’t just about that, so it’s fine to do something completely solitary.

The point is to focus on yourself, to be happy while you’re single, to work on your mental and physical well-being. And ultimately, this will make you even more attractive.

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