Winter Semester Prep for Yorkies: Preparing for a New Semester at YorkU

By Fara Seddigh
Photo by STIL via Unsplash

After countless hours spent studying for exams and chugging down coffee to meet deadlines, all York students get a well-deserved break until the first week of January. Most of us waste this precious classes-free time on (well-deserved) Netflix binging and sleeping. Both of which are completely acceptable after the long endured stresses of student life.

Sadly, the break goes by way too fast and next thing you know, it’s January 1st. Now you have a few days left until the start of your winter semester. If you want to finally go through with a new year’s resolution to avoid late nights and late assignments, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips to begin the winter semester on the right foot, so that you don’t have to spend the next few months feeling abnormally sleep-deprived…

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

Planning ahead is truly the key to success. Preparation for the winter semester starts by analyzing your schedule and looking for spots where you have time to study, socialize, and nap. York offers an online tool called the Visual Schedule Builder. This resource can help you immensely if you’re someone who likes colour-coded schedules that you can customize. If you allocate specific times for different things, you can hold yourself accountable for every minute that you spend procrastinating. It’s understandable that your new Disney+ subscription is taking up your time, but why not schedule it into your weekly calendar? That way, you can decide exactly how much time you spend on it.

Here’s an example of a daily routine:

Take an hour to binge your favourite show, a few hours for sporadic studying, and half an hour for prepping a healthy meal. Once you set a daily plan, it automatically turns into a routine that you subconsciously adopt. You can even set a timer on your phone to keep track of when you should be doing what! As simple as it may sound, it can be hard to plan ahead when you have so many other things to worry about. However, if you begin your Sunday mornings by jotting down a list of things that you need to do within a week, you’ll become that much more inclined to do them.

Now that you have your syllabi for your courses, schedule your weeks or months with all upcoming due dates and exams. This way, you will never be left cramming the night before.

SELF-CARE IS A NECESSITY

If you don’t practice self-care, you can burn yourself out before the winter semester’s fully begun. Ensuring that you are in a healthy state of mind and body is essential to achieving success in your academic life. Everyone’s idea of self-care has slowly evolved into what the media dictates: components usually include a face mask, bubble bath, and a good playlist. As great as those things are, they are not equivalent to properly looking after yourself. Self-care means taking care of your mental and physical health. A face mask can rarely fix the problems associated with both.

Self-care is dependent on the interplay between your diet, sleep schedule, and capability to deal with stress.

Looking after yourself means looking after your body and putting good foods into it. Student life usually means relying on too much sugary coffee or fast food because most of us feel like we never have time to cook a healthy meal. However, you’d be surprised at the variety of nutritious and delicious foods that you can make in under 15 minutes. Just google what you’re looking for to open the portal of recipes that align with your taste buds and schedule. York University Athletics also offers courses that help you to grasp a better understanding of your body’s nutritional needs. Additionally, these courses come along with certifications!

Take care of yourself during this academic semester by following a good sleep schedule.

This can be quite difficult, seeing as we often click the “Next Episode” button. I mean, just one more episode won’t hurt us, right? Wrong. Lots of research confirms that going to sleep at inconsistent times is detrimental to health. Therefore, it is quite important to follow a set routine for your sleeping habits. There are a ton of apps you can download to help with this. Or you can simply set an alarm to wake you up at the exact same time every day. Keep in mind that waking up early is also a great way to get the most out of your day. And it helps increase your productivity.

Ask for help.

Self-care means acknowledging when you cannot handle something alone. It’s also relying on the supports that are available to you through family, friends, or your university! York provides a ton of resources for seeking financial, mental health, or academic support, and all of them can be found through a quick google search of “York Resources”. Next time you’re feeling a bit burnt-out, remind yourself to practice self-care in all aspects of your life. 

SEEK HELP

Tackling university by yourself can often be an overwhelming and stressful task. A new semester means new courses, professors, and responsibilities that take getting used to. Maybe you enroll in a course that you aren’t excited about simply because nothing else is available. Academic concerns can be enough to severely stress students — taking a huge toll on their mental and physical health. After all, you are not eating or sleeping well enough when there’s an abundance of stress. You’re ultimately neglecting your self-care.

In order to avoid struggling with such issues by yourself, take advantage of the variety of free resources that York University offers.

Academic Advising is the most useful resource for students who are experiencing any type of academic problem. And this resource differs depending on your faculty or field of study. For example, psychology students must go to the Faculty of Health’s Academic Advising located in Calumet College. To find out where your advisors are located, be sure to google the name of your faculty along with the words “academic advising”. You’d be surprised by the reassurance and relief you feel after a 20-minute session with an advisor; they are able to answer any questions you may have and they tend to write down options for you to choose from in order to solve your specific problem.

Seek help from the Student Counselling & Development (SCD) resources at York.

The SCD is located in the Bennett Centre. The staff at SCD are trained to help you out with any particular stressors, emotional struggles, or other mental health problems that you may be dealing with. You may feel as though your situation is not severe enough to seek help, but SCD staff are available to hear you out and assist you. Overall, the most important part of preparing for a semester is realizing that new courses come with new obstacles. And you should never have to deal with them alone. York provides a wide array of services that can help students with issues from all walks of life. Whether they are personal or academic, all you have to do is ask!

Keep calm and tackle the winter semester with an organized planner, customized self-care routine, and the support of the resources available to you at York. If all else fails, you can always rely on Timmies or Starbucks to help you through the winter semester. 

Published on January 22, 2020

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