With frosh week gone (along with my voice and inability to stop turning day-to-day conversations into cheers #froshleaderproblems), it’s time to get on that back-to-school grind – that is, if you can first wrap your head around the amount of hard work and dedication you’ll be undertaking for the next 8 months. For the past two years, I’ve made the mistake of assuming that the first couple weeks of school was nothing I should take too seriously. If anything, they’re arguably the most important time to plan out your academic year.
The key to not falling behind is to start by getting ahead. And so, for your ease (and because I know you’re all busy jumping the gun on those readings you already have assigned… right???), here are several ways to help you stay on top of everything before midterm season rolls around and you realize you still don’t know all of your professors’ names.
- Figure out where – and when – your classes are. Simple enough, right? Believe it or not, I have friends who went the whole year without memorizing their timetable. Knowing where and when you’re going to be occupied during the week makes it easier to plan out meetings for extra-curriculars, telling your boss your availability times, and finding out the fastest ways to get to places you need to be.
- The UofT Bookstore is just one of the many to look for anything you need for school. Check TUSBE, an online student exchange where you can buy or sell textbooks and notes to other students, or even Amazon to see if they hold cheaper prices. Ask professors and course coordinators if old editions are allowed – it will usually save you a ton of money in the long run. Save on stationery by hitting up all the back-to-school clubs fairs for free pens and other nifty things, as well as a free student planner from UTSU. Laugh all you want, but that’s, like, $15 I’ve saved that I can now spend on Food Truck Fridays.
- Actually bother reading your course syllabus. Mark down your assignments, quizzes, midterms, labs – any assessment you might have – on any calendar you might use and plan your year out ahead that way. Make an abstract study plan for yourself and check up at the end of the week if you’re up-to-date on knowing certain concepts or material that you’ll be tested on soon, saving you the trouble of falling too far behind and having to cram a month’s worth of material the night before.
- Get enough sleep while you can! Seriously. Because if you’re anything like me, three weeks down the road you’ll be slaving away at Robarts past 11PM wondering why on earth you didn’t just use all the free time you had at the beginning of the year to catch up on your ZZZs, instead of staying up until two in the morning watching reruns of every sitcom imaginable. I’m aiming to start building a healthy sleep schedule by having a consistent routine of what time I go to bed, so that waking up the morning of a midterm is less of a pain, and making it to my 10AM class is still a plausible concept.
- Last but not least, see your friends – strengthen bonds with new ones, reunite with old ones – spend time with them before the year gets too hectic and you begin to feel guilty about either not studying or having to postpone plans.
If you have any other tips on the best ways to start off a new school year, tweet them to me at @Katrina_UofT (don’t forget to hashtag #StartUofT!). I could honestly use all the help possible to get rid of this urge to bask out in the sun on Front Campus to work on my tan. With all that said, do try to enjoy the sun as much as possible and ease yourself back into things! Until next time, fellow students – have a wonderfully productive first week back!