The University of Toronto is a notoriously difficult school, due to the highly competitive nature of its rigorous academics. As a result, I’ve compiled five helpful strategies that I’ve developed which have allowed me to thrive here.
1. Attending Clubs, Study Groups And Getting Involved On Campus
This year, I’m a member of three clubs, a recognized study group and a sorority, and I’ve found them all to be amazing sources of community. Attending clubs, study groups and a sorority not only helps break up the day, but it reminds me that there is more to life than academics. Honestly, I believe that part of having a healthy academic life is developing interests outside of the academic world.
2. Getting Ahead Of Deadlines
Starting your papers and assignments a month ahead of time may sound like a headache, but it saves time, effort and energy in the end. At least for me, I’ve found that getting ahead of deadlines helps reduce any anxiety related to completing assignments, and prevents procrastination.
Prior to reading week, I completed the vast majority of my assignments and essays, so that I’d actually have time to de-stress and relax during the break. Also, it gave me time to set up meetings with my teaching assistants and professors to look over my work and offer advice on how to improve.
3. Meeting Up With Professors During Office Hours
The third useful habit I’ve developed while studying at U of T is taking the time to get to know my professors and TAs. One, meeting up with them helps me get a better idea of what they’re looking for when it comes to work and assignments. Likewise, I’ve found that they’re generally very willing to help you with your early drafts and make suggestions if you get stuck.
4. Using A Planner
I simply couldn’t survive without my planner. As someone who struggles to remember simple details, I find that the “notes” section of my planner is particularly helpful for helping me develop a study plan. In the “notes” section, I write down what assignments I need to work on each week, what tests I need to begin to study for, who I need to set up a Zoom meetup with and other important dates and plans.
5. Scheduling Regular Mental Health Support
The U of T offers on-site counselling and psychiatric care, and as someone who struggles with various mental illnesses, I find that receiving regular care from mental health professionals has helped greatly.
In particular, regular sessions with a psychiatrist who keeps up with my mental health progress is important for evaluating medication, sleep, eating habits and other day-to-day aspects of life. I recommend Health and Wellness as a first-stop whenever experiencing any sort of psychological distress, because it has been so helpful to me throughout my study at U of T.