How to Have a Good School Year- A 5 Step Guide

How to Have a Good School Year- A 5 Step Guide

 Written by: Carrie Proctor


Well, it’s the second week back and you have been to all of your classes, bought all of your books (hopefully?), and begun stressing about your first assignment. School has officially started!

At this point in time, the fall “reading week” (ha!) break seems like ages away – but before you know it, second semester will already be creeping up on you. That is to say, this year is going to fly by! And as a recent graduate, let me tell you – these four (or five, or six) years will really fly by.

So, I put together a short list about how to start off your school year right. Carpe diem! Savour the moment! Yolo! Live for today! (etc., I think you get the point.)

How to start your school year off and look good doing it:

1.  Reflection and goal-setting! To build off Jenn’s post from two weeks ago – take some time to think about what YOU want to get out of this school year. Your time in university is pretty unique – when else will you have this wide variety of opportunities, activities, and communities at your doorstep? Think about what skills you want to build while you’re here, the types of experiences you want to have, and where you want your time to lead you – and then make informed decisions about the rest of your year!

2.  Get Involved! As you probably know by now, your time in university is best when balanced by extracurriculars. Into sports? Check out intramurals! Excited about acting? Get involved with Hart House or your local drama coalition! Find something to get involved in so you aren’t always stressing about those exams – that’s not a healthy way to study, and you’ll find that if you are more active, your grades may increase too!

3.  Try something new! Following closely to #2, there are always new and exciting things to do on campus. October 3rd is the Co-Curricular Record launch party; October 9th there is a screening and discussion of the film Happy Movie; there are free massages on Mondays at Hart House – there are always things to do, people to meet, and events to attend. Get out there and see what’s going on!

4.  Enjoy the season! I don’t know about you, but as a student I always holed myself up in my room, did my readings by candlelight, and pulled my black-out curtains by 8:00pm… okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but still! I always regretted missing the beautiful cool weather before the iciness of winter comes crashing in. Whether it’s making time to go for walks, reading outside bundled up in a warm sweater, or making coffee dates with classmates at Starbucks (apparently people really like this pumpkin spice latte thing) – get outside and enjoy the weather while you still can!

5.  Self­-Care. I know this is getting to be an over-used phrase, but that’s because of its vital importance. Start developing good habits now, in the first month of September, and you will thank yourself for it later on. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise when you can (even if it’s just going for a walk between classes!). Your body – and your grades, I promise you – will thank you for it.


So that’s it! The five easy steps to starting your year off right. Now that the fall has come, I absolutely miss being a student (weird, I know!). Remember – one day this will happen to you! So make the most of your university time when you can!


Agree or disagree? Do you have any of your own “first month back” routines or tips? Please share your thoughts in the comments!



Carrie is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, currently working in the Office of Student Life. When she isn’t forlornly reminiscing about being a university student, she can be found volunteering for Toronto Cat Rescue, learning how to cook, and reading for pleasure (one of the few benefits of post-grad life!).

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