Necessary Evils

There's only a little over a month left before the 2013-2014 academic year begins, and it only just feels like summer is getting started - I have yet to make a dent in my annual summer bucket list (you know, that list you mentally compile over the school year about all the wonderful things you're going to accomplish and partake in once school is out and the long Canadian winters are finally over? Surely I can't be the only one...). Unfortunately, reality rears its ugly head and reminds us of the upcoming responsibilities we've neglected to consider over the past 3 months. So, for your reference, I have compiled a list of a few necessary evils I personally try to manage during the last month of summer in order to put your mind at ease so you can focus on fully enjoying the beginning of the semester and save yourself from the trouble of last-minute panic. Academic
  • Get your timetable sorted! Make sure to keep the following in mind - backups, just in class the courses you want are full (unfortunately a very common problem here), having the necessary courses you'll need to take in order to get into/apply to your desired program, sorting out any time conflicts, etc. Students who are graduating this year, bear in mind you have until August 17th to contact your registrar to redeem the ~*Dean's Promise*~ if necessary.
  • Pay off your minimum payments as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for all of the struggle it took to compose your ideal timetable to be wiped out because you missed a deadline (it really does happen - I've heard horror stories). Due dates for each respective faculties can be found here. For details on OSAP or other provincial-related student loans, contact your faculty or college registrar.
  • If you're living away from home, make a list (in case you couldn't already tell, I'm very big on the list-making movement) of all the things you need to buy/take care of before you move into your new crib. I recommend also setting up a budget of how much you're going to spend on food and other living expenses you'll need for the next eight months. Word of advice to incoming freshmen - don't go all out and buy out Bed Bath & Beyond, as tempting as may be. A majority (if not all) of the dorms/residences here at U of T already supply most of the things you'll need for comfortable living.

Avoid last-minute scares and unwarranted surprises by paying off your dues ASAP!

Personal (not so much necessary evils as friendly advice!)
  • Mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming year. Thoroughly enjoy the last month you'll have of relative freedom before becoming a full-time student again - get it out of your system so you're not tempted to slack! Think about what study habits have worked for you (and what hasn't) before. Remember that a healthy balance between work and play is important, but avoid repeating the mistakes you know you've made before when prioritizing unnecessary matters over school.
  • Lastly, but certainly far from least, spend quality time with the people you care about - especially family (yes, even if you'll be commuting to school from home). Show a little love for the people who will spend the next year not judging you for your lapse in personal hygiene (who even has time for proper showers during midterm season?) and who will be silently cheering you on for your success in school. They may not always understand what you're going through, but they'll be the ones who want you to pull through the most.

When push comes to shove, our family are the people who provide constant support for you to pursue higher ed., so show a little gratefulness by spending time with them and making sure they know they're appreciated for it.

If I'm missing anything you feel should be an integral part of the last-month-of-summer hustle, sound off in the comments, or tweet me at @Katrina_UofT and hashtag your thoughts with #StartUofT and #UofTNecessaryEvils.

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