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8 things you should do before September

By Sarah Tsimelkas

It’s that time of year again – the days start getting shorter, leaves start changing colour, and we are once again faced with *sigh* responsibilities. Okay, so we may not all have had the luxury of completely escaping any obligations this summer, but there is no doubt that the transition back to class is never an easy one. As September is not far on the horizon, thoughts of “back-to-school” are quickly approaching. Whether these thoughts are filled with dread (if you’re feeling an exceptionally bad case of the “Sunday scaries” coming on, this may be you) or excitement is for you to decide, but whichever way you spin it, you need to be prepared! The following are 8 things you can do to help ease your transition back to classes and start your semester off on the right foot.

Have some fun!

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The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a semester packed full of lectures, tests, and assignments is to enjoy yourself while you can! Whether you are enrolled in summer courses, working, and just taking it easy, find some time to check out some great local activities. Here are some of my favourites:

Escape Room

461 Park Rd S, Oshawa

If you haven’t already heard of this, you have to check it out! As the name suggests, your group is given a series of clues and are faced with the challenge of escaping one of several different rooms. Each room has its own unique theme, difficulty level, and number of players. Whether you are with a group of friends, on a date, or with family, there is a choice for everyone! The best part? It is located right here in Oshawa!

Brew Wizards Board Game Café

74 Celina St, Oshawa

While on the topic of unique attractions, Brew Wizards is a board game café, with a great selection of coffee, craft beer, and fun snacks. The board game aspect adds something different to a night out with friends. They charge $3.25 for the table and you are able to play a selection of your favourite board games and hang out all night long! You even have the option to reserve a table, which may be a good idea if you’re planning on going with a large group.

Get back on a regular sleep schedule

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Depending on what your summer has looked like, you may find yourself on a completely different schedule than you are throughout the rest of the year. To prepare yourself for those dreaded 8 a.m.’s, start getting back into a routine a few weeks before. You may not see the importance of this now, but you will grateful you did when you aren’t hitting snooze for the third time on your first day of class. Plus, with all of the activities happening on campus the first week of school, you could use the extra energy!

Check out bursaries/OSAP funding

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This is an important one – and don’t leave it to the last minute! Under the “UOIT Awards and Financial Aid” tab on MyCampus, you will find a list of awards and bursaries, as well as OSAP information for 2018-2019. You can apply for bursaries starting in August, so it may be worthwhile checking out which ones you could be eligible for.

Get your parking pass and renew student ID

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Okay, this may seem obvious, but do not procrastinate on this! The longer you wait to renew your student ID, the longer the lines will be. Plus, as you probably know, your student ID doubles as your bus pass for the year. If you need to purchase a parking pass, do this ASAP – many of the desired lots fill up fast.

Get organized

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By now, you’ve probably already chosen your courses, so you have an idea of what your semester will look like. Print off your schedule and figure out where your classes are prior to your first day. Even if you are an upper year student, you may have classes in a new building you are unfamiliar with (I’m in 5th year and still get lost occasionally… no shame!)

Another great way to get organized is to buy a day planner. I did this in my first year and swear by it! At the beginning of the semester, write down all of the dates that your assignments are due. This will be especially helpful when things start to pick up, as you will be able to see which weeks are heavier ahead of time and avoid last-minute scrambling.

Make self-care a priority

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Before things get too hectic, get in the habit of making time just for you. As university students, we are often being pulled in numerous directions. There's a lot of pressure to keep up with a jam-packed schedule full of classes, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, staying active, all while making time for friends and family. It can be really easy to forget about the most important person in your life – you! Simply put, ensure that you make time to do something for yourself that you enjoy, whatever that may be. Often these activities, whether it’s exercise, spending time outside, or calling a friend, are the first to go when we are feeling overwhelmed. However, it is important to remember that tending to your mental health and well-being is an essential component to your success.

Set goals

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The time is now to decide what you want to get out of this year. Each semester, you have the opportunity to set new goals for yourself. Start by writing down your goals, and shoot for the stars! No matter what you are striving for - from increasing your GPA to leading a healthier lifestyle, break your goals down into small, achievable steps. This will not only prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by what seems like an intimidating goal but also help to keep you on the right track.

Start your first week off on the right foot


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Make your first day back a great one! Get a good night’s sleep (see #2), wake up on time, and make yourself a healthy breakfast. You may think showing up to your first class isn’t always necessary, but not only does the professor usually mention some vital information that may not be in the syllabus, it will also put you in the right mindset when you feel as though you have accomplished something by simply attending class. The first step to success? Show up.