5 Ways I Maintain Academic Discipline Throughout the School Year

I think I speak for all U of T students when I say that maintaining discipline is crucial for academic success but also one of the hardest things to do. I mean, yes, I want great grades, but I also don't want my time in undergrad to fly by and when I look back all I can remember doing is studying in Robarts. So here are five strategies I use to stay disciplined throughout the school year which also allow me to maintain a balance between my academic and social life:

1. Effective Time Management

Photo of an open laptop screen showing a calendar with time blocked out

Emphasis on EFFECTIVE. Time is a valuable resource, and managing it efficiently is key to academic discipline. I personally use my Outlook calendar to create a detailed schedule that includes dedicated study periods, breaks, and extracurricular activities. The keynote that always helps me achieve most everything I plan to do on a given day is overestimating how long each task will take me. No better feeling than putting aside two hours to do something and getting it done in half of that time! This helps me stay organized and ensures that I allocate sufficient time to each subject without feeling overwhelmed.

2. Set Realistic Goals
Setting achievable goals is essential for maintaining discipline. Although it would be cool to be able to study for five hours straight each day without getting distracted or tired, that's just not me. I break down larger tasks into smaller manageable goals, making it easier to track progress and take breaks in between. By celebrating small victories along the way, I stay motivated and disciplined, avoiding the dreadful p-word: procrastination.

3.) Create a Productive Study Environment

Photo of a room with a bed, desk, tablet and lamp

A conducive study environment could really be the make or break to achieving academic discipline. I know some people say they can't study where they sleep, so if you know that's how you are, make sure to get out of your room as soon as possible if you know there is a lot of studying to be done that day. For me personally, temperature and volume are my biggest factors when finding a good study environment. If the room is a little on the warmer side and quiet enough to hear a pin drop, I'm good to go! This helps me focus on my coursework and minimizes the temptation to veer off track.

4. Prioritize Self-Care
Academic success is closely tied to overall well-being. All work and no play makes Crystal a VERY unhappy camper. I prioritize self-care by ensuring I get enough sleep and have enough free time to indulge in my hobbies. By taking care of my mental health, I feel much better equipped to handle the demands of the school year with discipline and resilience.

5. Utilize Technology Wisely

Photo of a phone screen with apps and notes for each app and the word "school":
Memrise: "perfect for learning languages / explaining grammatik / good for vocabulary"
Duolingo: "also good for learning languages / good for vocabulary / offers Podcasts"
Knowunity: "good for studying / shows flashcards / notes made by others"
Ecosia: "for research / doesn't save as much data / grows a tree after every search"
GoodNotes: "for notes / allows your to organize ur notes ur way / infinitly scrolling / have shared notebooks / image PDFs and pics"
Notion: "for everything else / bullet journaling / tracking everything / a database / calendar"
Keynote: "for presentations / cool presentations / completely free / lets you work on it over multiple devices"
Quizlet: "for studying / make your own flashcards"

At the risk of sounding like a true iPad kid, I really don't know what I would do if I went to school in a time when I couldn't have my iPad with me. Technology can be a double-edged sword, but when used wisely, it enhances academic discipline. I take advantage of apps and tools to stay organized, set reminders, and track deadlines, all while not having to worry about carrying heavy textbooks all around campus. By harnessing technology, I enhance my academic experience and reduce the risk of losing vital academic resources.

In conclusion, maintaining academic discipline requires a combination of effective time management, realistic goal-setting, a conducive study environment, prioritizing self-care, and utilizing technology wisely. By incorporating these strategies into my routine, I am able to navigate the school year with focus, determination, and success. Now that you've heard some of my tips, I hope you will be able to as well!

– Crystal <3

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