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Starting off on the right foot

Hello Gaels!

I hope everyone has been enjoying the first few weeks of in-person classes. Whether this is your first time on campus or not, there is so much to explore in the city of Kingston! Over the past month, I enjoyed playing spike ball with my friends at the pier and exploring more of the downtown. As we are now well into the fall semester, now is the ideal time to look at the past few weeks and think about what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you thus far.

If you haven’t done so recently, I highly recommend you re-read the syllabus for each of your courses. The information’s piling up right now, so taking a look at the syllabus again could help you create a mental image of what you need to focus on in a course. Another great resource on OnQ is the timeline. It has the due dates of assignments, module completion dates, and any other important days in the semester. I recommend checking this every day or two and using it as a starting point to creating a to-do list.

Us upper-years are remembering that in-person education is vastly different from remote education. Even for someone like myself, who has already experienced in-person university classes before, it’s not all plain sailing. Firstly, in-person courses are so much more structured. There is a specific time for lectures, tutorials, and labs. You can use this structure to your advantage. Reading the professor’s presentation before class and looking over any pre-lecture content helps prime your brain for the upcoming lecture and helps you quickly understand where the gaps in your knowledge exist. Another amazing aspect of in-person classes is that we interact with our classmates on a daily basis. Creating study groups with peers is an amazing way to not only get help when needed but also to create that supportive community that you can rely on.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my goal for the semester is to improve my organization and efficiency. Last year, I spent a lot of my “study time” on my phone searching for the best song, looking at soccer updates, or engaging with anything that distracted me from the task at hand. While I have tried to improve, I still have some way to go to reach a distraction-free life. Something that has worked well is to keep my phone on my bed while I study at my desk so that it’s out of my view. Just being out of my mind and my reach means my phone isn’t such a distraction.

To improve my organization I create a to-do list right before I sleep every night because it helps me mentally prepare for the upcoming day, while also helping me know exactly what I need to accomplish. Ironically, now I find I need to improve on my ability to create a realistic to-do list because I often put down one too many tasks. This has caused me to rush my work and feel disappointed when there are multiple items still not checked off by the end of the day. I need to work on creating realistic and manageable lists—I’ll keep you updated about what I try and whether it works!

The semester’s getting busier. It’s important to take breaks. Whether it is getting coffee with a few friends or organizing a night out downtown, spending some time away from the books will help rejuvenate your mind! And improve your work too: tune into those SASS workshops, book a writing consultation with a pro or a peer to get some help on your papers, and take advantage of all the other help that is at your disposal.

Best of luck and see you next time! – Santosh