Hi everyone!

I hope you are well and have adjusted back into the winter semester. It seems things always get intense after the first week. I've been caught up in a whirlwind of assignments and meetings.

This blog feels much like a direct sequel to my last blog. The motto of that piece was that "when we have our body and mind in order, everything else will exist in the right place, in the right way." I have tried very hard to commit to this phrase. What I've been doing is:

  • encouraging myself to get up for my four 8:30 classes each week,
  • following my SOLUS schedule and finishing my lessons for each day,
  • drinking my water when my alarm tells me to,
  • and chatting with people and doing things that I like to do.

I find that doing these tasks keep my body and mind in order, but yours might be very different. That's perfectly okay! Find the things that make you feel calm and in control of your day. Maybe what I've tried will be helpful to you:

  1. Three of my four 8:30 classes are synchronous, which means I get to roll out of bed at 8:29 AM to turn on my computer and join the class. Attending my morning classes allows me to start the day with a sense of accomplishment, and that helps set the tone for the rest of the day (I consider going to my 8:30 AM class an achievement). That leads to my second point…
  2. Following my SOLUS schedule gives me a sense of balance, structure, and order. It’s easy to lose track of time when learning online, but I know what I should be doing at each hour because a timetable has already been generated for me. All I have to do is follow the schedule and, over the course of several weeks, I’m less likely to fall behind.
  3. I always forget to drink water, so I set alarms at 2-hour intervals from 12 to 7p.m. to remember to drink plenty of water. Water helps our body and brain function well, and it's another thing that makes me feel balanced, ordered, and healthy!
  4. I make sure to spend time replying to messages, hanging out with my family, and doing whatever I need to do to separate my life from school. This past weekend, I participated in the Queen's Engineering Competition, and my team won its event! I'll be heading to the Ontario Engineering Competition next, where I’ll have a fun time with my partner. Not just winning but participating confirmed that I need to do things outside of school: I felt happier when using my education in practice. I feel like I have to give myself more chances outside of school to succeed.

Don't worry if none of these actions align with your ideal of productivity! There are a ton more resources you can find on this website, especially in our other peer blogs. I always tell the first years from my Orientation group that university is all about learning about ourselves and finding what makes us feel the best.

One of my part-time jobs is to mentor first-year Engineering students struggling with school. My mentees and I have had some very productive chats on what we can do better to improve as students. Hopefully, these will be useful to you!

Firstly, and I mean this in the kindest way possible, try to finish your weekly tasks within that week. Do not allow yourself to drag one week's lectures into another or delay your assignments until the last minute. The more you delay your tasks, the more they build up, and then the more cramming you have to do for your midterms and finals exam. Studying for exams is best when you're refreshing what you already know, instead of learning new content. My mentee ended up creating a recurring weekly schedule on Notion, and I'm incredibly impressed by their progress! Even a little to get started will go a long way to keeping you on track.

Secondly, it's hard to do anything without a motive when dealing with procrastination. SASS has an excellent page about procrastination. It’ll help you answer some key questions: what is your goal with school? How can you make the most out of it while feeling your best? What do you think you have to change, and what can you do about it? When you find your motivation, it'll be easier to start working.

Additionally, a strict study schedule might be beneficial for procrastination. We have to build study habits, just as we have to develop practices to fall asleep at a particular time, go to the gym every day, etc. We (unfortunately) cannot change overnight. If we wake up at 9a.m. every day and start studying every day at 10a.m., it becomes routine. When it becomes routine, it won't be as tough to will ourselves to study at 10a.m., as it's what we've trained our bodies to do.

In the spirit of that advice, I'm still changing my own habits. Instead of waking up at 8:15 for my 8:30 lectures, I’m aiming to be ready at 7:30 and have time to prepare for the morning. Additionally, I would like to finish my schoolwork at 6 or 7p.m each day (I think 7 is more realistic) so that I have time to tend to other things in the evening, like chatting with my mom, applying for jobs, watching movies, reading books, or just sleeping early.

Improving and changing is no easy task, but small steps are perfectly okay. I'm rooting for you!

All my best,


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