The First Six Weeks: A “how-to” manual

Back to Academics 101

The first six weeks of university: A “how-to” manual


Week One

  • Take charge. Success at university is up to you.
  • Start the year off right: figure out where your classes are, and go!
  • Don’t wait: Buy all your textbooks and course packs.
  • You will get a syllabus for each class. Read it! Keep it somewhere you will reference.
  • Transfer important dates and deadlines from the syllabus for each course to your term.
  • If your courses have a Moodle or OnQ site, log in and check it.
  • Work will start right away; complete your assignments for each course to make sure you keep up (e.g., readings, problem sets).
  • That time between your classes? That isn’t time off – it’s work time.
  • Estimate how much time you will need to devote to each course, and make a weekly schedule that includes time for work, extra-curricular activities, fun, and relaxation.


Week Two

  • Make sure to check your @queensu e-mail account – this is how the university stays in touch with you.
  • Visit your professors’ office hours to introduce yourself.
  • Introduce yourself to other students in your classes.
  • Find a study space that works for you.
  • Review your weekly schedule: Is it working? Are there things that should be changed?
  • Are there courses you need to add or drop? The last day of the second week of term is the final day to add courses, or to drop courses without financial or academic penalty.
  • Unsure of the academic expectations? Attend a Learning Strategies workshop or sign up for an individual consult with a Learning Strategies Advisor.
  • Look into ways to get involved on campus.
  • Be open to new experiences, but stay connected with family and friends back home as well.


Week Three

  • Even though your professors may not be taking attendance, attend lectures! You will be glad you did when midterms start.
  • Form study groups with your classmates.
  • Continue to keep up with your courses.
  • That time between your classes? Use it for school work.
  • If you are stuck with something, get help: approach your professor, your TA, or make an appointment with SASS.


Week Four


Week Five

  • By mid-October, preparing for and writing midterms is usually the main priority.
  • Create a balanced study schedule that allows you to be well-prepared for exams while still having time for sleep, fun, relaxation, and taking care of your health.


Week Six

  • Congrats on finishing your first six weeks!
  • Reflect on your experience so far: What is working? What isn’t? Are things going the way you had hoped?
  • Are you staying motivated? It is never too early visit Career Services and start thinking about long-term goals.
  • Maintain your health The first six weeks of university can be hectic, and you may be feeling like you are “not yourself” if your sleeping, eating, and exercise routines are off.


Download a PDF version of The First Six Weeks