After a month of stress-free warmth back in California, Toronto’s -20℃ temperatures were an abrupt reality check. Stepping out of the airport shivering in a light coat, I could feel the world enacting karma for every time I dared to say that 15℃ is cold. Re-settling into my usual routine, and adjusting to being wrapped head-to-toe in winter gear, I began to contemplate some much-needed changes for my study routine this semester.
I have an affinity for Robarts library. Without a doubt, I spent more time there in first semester than I spent in my dorm room. I enjoy studying in the presence of other people, both strangers and friends. Just the sight of other students hard at work encourages me to be more productive and get my assignments done. The library environment makes studying, something that can be an isolating task, less lonely. Surrounded by like-minded peers with their heads in books, you know you’re not alone. Plus, it’s easy to book a group study room to prepare for tests with friends or sit in a crowded area for the white noise.
Unfortunately, the cold weather is disrupting my library bum lifestyle. It’s difficult to justify the time-consuming hassle of bundling up in winter gear, setting up study materials, and repeating the process all over again. So, I’ve decided to discontinue my daily Arctic pilgrimage to Robarts and start studying in my dorm.
While studying in my room shouldn’t be a radical change, it’s something I haven’t done all year. This was particularly evident when I laid eyes on my desk, the key to turning my room into a viable study space. Putting aside the cornucopia of breakfast foods on my desk, I felt like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde when Emmett convinces her to study at her desk, instead of using it as a makeup vanity (except my desk had more granola bars than lipsticks). The next step in my room makeover was printing out calendars to help me stay on top of my assignments. Last semester I struggled to fulfill my commitment to finish assignments early. This semester I’m determined to start and finish my essays earlier.
For everyone else who has made commitments to studying smarter in 2018, U of T is offering many events at the start of this semester to help accomplish these academic goals. This includes the Fresh Start Conference on February 3rd, and workshops run by Academic Success. My personal favourite U of T academic resource to take advantage of is the Writing Centre. While it can be unpleasant to see an essay you worked hard on be returned to you rife with revisions, my experiences there have better-equipped me to fulfil the requirements for university writing assignments.
While some of my more cynical friends toss aside the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, I think that the start of a new calendar year and a new semester provide the perfect opportunity to reflect, and improve habits in and out of school. I hope this semester I can become the more productive student I want to be, even without the help of Robarts library in these frigid winter months!