Life @ U of T

Mentally preparing for the new academic year: my checklist

While the beginning of the fall term seems far-off now, I know all too well how a semester can seemingly come out of nowhere and have me knocked out before I even get a chance to swing.

This is a little breakdown of how I get in the right mental space before school starts (which worked really well last year, so I plan on doing it again this year).


My approach to setting goals for the new school year is to aim high and break down the process, and I found that it worked out quite well last year. My plan is to set big goals that I want to achieve by the end of the school year, like “obtain a __ GPA” or “learn French”.

Once I have 3-5 big goals, I set time-limited small goals that create a clear path to a greater goal. For example, if I want to learn French, I will allocate a certain amount of time each week to specifically study French with the goal of reaching certain “checkpoints” along the way to reaching fluency. So if I wanted to be fluent by May, I would want to be able to hold a conversation by November.

One of my big goals is to read more, so I thought I might try to read a book per week. If I break it down to 20 pages every morning, this suddenly becomes pretty simple.

This is the book that I read last week.

Morning Routine

In order to get myself¬†ready for my morning lectures, I’ve experimented in previous years with getting into my morning routine a couple of weeks early. This isn’t too hard to do, it’s really just waking up early and showering, eating breakfast – the basics.

I plan on adding morning jogging to my routine too, which will help me reach my fitness goals for next year.

It’s really simple, but still a crucial step for me. I find that it’s really easy to fall into the habit of sleeping in and missing morning lectures if I don’t follow a strict routine.

Reading ahead (sort of)

Something that has helped me build enthusiasm, as well as a solid knowledge-base heading into my fall courses is to do some reading on the course content online.

Based on the topics mentioned in the course summaries that can be found in the U of T timetable, I like to leave a week of summer to read-up on the content of each of my fall courses. This builds my confidence heading into courses with intimidating reading schedules and tremendous amounts of content.


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