The weeks leading up to the school year are always a busy time: finalizing courses, buying fancy pens, setting new school year resolutions. This time around, though, my back-to-school preparation is an entirely new beast. Instead of returning to my usual routine as an undergrad, I’m heading to grad school in a couple of weeks!
And just like first-years heading to university for the first time, my brain is a mix of excitement and uncertainty. Before I came to U of T, I spent as much time as I could reading about my school and the university experience in general (including this very blog!), but I’m finding it harder to do that this time around. The grad school experience is much more specialized and individual based on your program and interests, and it probably doesn’t help that Googling for advice on how to succeed in my professional program mostly leads to articles debating whether it’s worth going in the first place (journalism problems! But that’s a whole other story).
While I’ve come to peace with the fact that there’s no way I can be perfectly prepared for the challenges ahead, here are some things that I’m doing to get ready for the next step of my education:
- Reading and re-reading all of the information sent to me from my school, taking the time now to do everything that I can. Just like preparing for undergrad: you need to get your TCard, set up your online accounts and make sure you’re enrolled in courses!
- Moving! While I’m not moving to a new city like I did for undergrad, I am changing apartments. Each day, I’m trying to clean out a little bit of my current room, getting rid of the piles of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.
- Applying for jobs on campus! One of my biggest regrets from undergrad is not working on campus during the school year. It’s great experience, flexible with class schedules and some extra money is a wonderful thing to have.
- Preparing myself mentally. Since I’m entering a journalism program, this means making it a part of my day to read, listen to and watch news, as well as getting a head start on some of the readings that I got in my information package. (And this is all actually fun since I love the program I chose!)
- Trying to experience my last weeks of summer as fully as I can. This is probably the most important one on the list; I want to make sure I’m going into the program recharged and ready to take it on! This involves spending time with friends, staying up late on weekends and reading for fun.
What are you doing to prepare for the school year, U of T? Especially if you’re heading into undergad or grad school for the first time! Let’s support each other!