1. Change your sleep schedule BEFORE going back to school
Likely over the summer you've got used to going to bed late and sleeping in. Getting up early for class is going to be a huge shock to the system.
Pro Tip: Make the transition easier by switching to your 'university schedule' (plan for 8-10 hours of sleep) a few days before you go back to get used to it. Well rested, not only will you be able to really pay attention in class, but you'll likely be more fun for your friends to hang out with.
2. Do your COVID policy research
No matter if you're starting your first year of university or going into your fourth year, there's still a lot to think about, and even more so during COVID times. Find out what your university's COVID policies are.
Will your classes be 100% back on campus, or will some classes still be online? Will you need to wear a mask in class and/or in public areas? Will you need to take regular Covid tests during the semester or upload vaccination information prior to going back to university?
3. Ask questions
Make a mental note to ask lots of questions when you are back at university. Take every opportunity to interact with your professors and ask them about the best way to tackle a problem or an assignment. Speak up in class if you are lost or need something explained again — chances are that other students will also be lost and will thank you for asking.
You should also ask about campus services (including career counselling, mental health services and general student services), and find out how you can access them when needed. Ask about clubs and associations, too — clubs are a chance to develop existing interests and ideas, explore new ones and meet like-minded people.
4. Organize your time
Decide how you are going to organize your time and remember to keep a balance. If you're studying full-time, then your studies should be centre stage, so you need to accept the fact that you won't be on call 24/7 for your friends and can't attend every party. However, socializing, exercise and 'me time' are important — so schedule them in to give yourself a break from studying.
5. Manage your finances
Unless you are lucky enough to have your parents support you through university, you will probably need to rely on student loans, scholarships or working a part-time job.
Pro Tip: Check out what financial aid is available through the federal or provincial government; for example, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), StudentAid BC, and check the ScholarshipsCanada site.
6. Start building your resumé
What will give you that competitive edge when you apply for a job on graduating? What skills or experience will interest a future employer? As the world becomes more global, one of the key skills employers are seeking is the ability to work with diverse stakeholders across cultural barriers.
Pro Tip: consider studying abroad for an exchange, a year abroad, or a whole Master's degree. According to studies, students who have studied abroad find it easier to find a job, start on higher salaries and are promoted quicker.
Visit the Study and Go Abroad Virtual Fair on September 23 to meet with universities and colleges from across the globe to start planning for a Master's or a short-term program abroad. Registration is free!
Register now for the Study and Go Abroad Virtual Fair
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