How to survive your first week of school


For many, even those that have gotten through their first year, the first week of school is a stressful, confusing, and daunting experience. In the weeks leading up to my first year of university, as the to-do lists and lists of things to remember grew along with my anxiety, I repeatedly asked myself a very loaded question: “How on earth do you plan to survive the first week of school?”

I did then what I sometimes do to calm my worried mind: I created a list of things to do to help me get past the first week of school. Different people depend on different things to get by, but I think these are a few items that everyone should have on theirs.

Pay the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre a visit. When I first found out about the RGASC, I wasn’t exactly crying with relief, but to tell you the truth, I was pretty close. The RGASC offers Facilitated Study Groups (FSGs), as well as one-on-one sessions with learning specialists, writing specialists, and other professionals who can help with note-taking, exam-writing, essay-writing, procrastination, and even reading techniques.

Get yourself organized. Write down all due dates, label your binders, buy your textbooks, get your U-Pass, and do whatever else you need to do to be prepared. It’s a long list, but it takes such a short time to accomplish each task. So go ahead and do each one. That way, while you won’t exactly be one step ahead, you won’t be one step behind.

Make a promise to yourself not to cram. You won’t keep it, but the guilt will make you study harder.

Find an ideal place that meets your study habits. It may be the library, the Meeting Place in the South Building, your dorm room, Spigel Hall, or a newly discovered haunt in the shiny new Instructional Building. Wherever it is, it should meet your needs for studying well.

Find out where the Health and Counseling Services are so you can find professional help easily when and if you’re feeling down, depressed, and isolated. Take advantage of these professional services offered by the university. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Expect to feel overwhelmed, under-prepared, and confused in the near future. It WILL happen. Just remember: you’re not the only one feeling this way during the first week of school. Just keep a clear head and carry on as best as you can, and you’ll be fine.

Don’t give up! It’s only the first week!