September seems like it’s just getting started, and yet the academic year has been quickly accelerating. It’s usually at this time of the year, while I struggle to keep up with all my problem sets, homework, and projects, where I start to lose sight of the academic goals I set at the start of the term. However, this year I am determined to maintain a sense of my goals in order to set myself up for success for the school year. How will I do that? I’ll take you step by step through the process.
Back in August, I established three fundamental goals for myself:
- Ensure that I take as much time as I need for my mental and physical health, including taking mental health days when I need to do so
- Focus on the extracurriculars that mean the most to me, and that I can put my best efforts into
- Do as best as I can academically, without worrying too much about my GPA and rather my understanding of the topics
When creating these goals, I put my experience at university and my mental health as priorities, without letting numbers such as my grades define me. For me, goal number one is the most important as my wellbeing comes first and helps me succeed with my other two goals. Every week, I set myself smaller goals that go towards completing these larger ones, such as completing an assignment on time or participating in an event.
One of the best ways I keep these goals at the front of my mind is by dedicating a specific amount of time per day to unwind from what might be stressing me out. I use my two or more hours a day of my commute to refresh my brain and do stuff I enjoy such as reading or playing video games. I also dedicate as much time as I need to fully prepare home-cooked meals and pack my lunches to ensure that I am staying as healthy as I can. This allows me to be refreshed when tackling my difficult assignments – and take breaks when needed.
For others, this method of relaxing in order to increase concentration for when it’s needed is not always the same. It may be something as simple as going to work out, watching some tv, or hanging out with friends. It’s important to realize that these are not ways to waste your time, but rather things to do in moderation with your other goals to ensure you maintain a proper work-life-health balance.
There’s no strict way to set yourself up for the school year, it all depends on what you are hoping to get out of university and your personal life. Everyone has different circumstances that motivate them to define success differently: maybe more responsibilities at home, maybe a greater focus on physical health, maybe more time allocated to studies. These personal reasons are up to you to realize, however it’s all about taking care of yourself in the process and doing what’s best for you! A helpful way for you to navigate balance in life is using this Lifestyle Balance Pie or attending the weekly dialogues hosted by Accessibility Services that discuss ways for you to focus on self-care
Most importantly, don’t label yourself as successful or not, but rather focus on the journey you have taken and what you have achieved!