David Poon, BSc Immunology and Infection, PharmD Student
You’re going to hate me for this, but you know summers coming to an end when the sun starts to set earlier, and you see parents with their kids going school supply shopping. It’s that dreaded time of the year when you say goodbye to staying up late, binge watching shows and enjoying youth to its fullest. Join me as we take a walk down memory lane where I’ll provide a tip or two about how to make the most out of your coming school days.
Grades are important, don’t get me wrong, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental health. I’ve seen friends and colleagues throughout my 7 years of undergraduate life cry, get frustrated, and utterly breakdown because they did poorly on an exam or in a class. If you find that you’re struggling; talk to your professor, your peers, or a student counsellor. They’re all there to help you. Do this sooner, rather than later – there’s no shame asking for help because we all need it from time to time. There are countless expectations in university to excel, and sometimes the burden of not letting those around you down can be overwhelming. Depression and anxiety disorders are increasingly common due to a multitude of factors. If you ever feel that you might be experiencing one of these conditions, talk to someone close to you and for that matter, don’t be afraid to speak to a health care professional either. There’s never anything wrong with asking for help, and the difference it makes can be invaluable.
Set realistic goals for yourself and make a habit of the steps needed to achieve those goals. It’s unrealistic to say you’re going to study 7 hours every night. That might be possible for the first few days, but eventually, you’ll stop that habit and end up cramming for your next exam. Set realistic goals, for example, review your class notes for just an hour after getting home. This sounds a lot more manageable, and you can develop much better habits this way. Or, maybe it’s best to try something new, such as making flashcards or taking notes by hand instead of typing on a laptop (and somehow finding yourself browsing the internet). Talk to your friends to see what works for them. Change it up a little this upcoming semester because after all, you know what they say: “new semester, new me.”
The Bottom Line
Live each day to its fullest without any regrets. Grades in school may matter more to some, but it shouldn’t consume your everyday life. Find the time to find things that you enjoy. Join a club. Join an intramural team. Hangout with friends. Relax. I’m not saying for you to do this every night, but do it to reduce your stress levels. If you’re ever struggling at all, then talk to someone – you wouldn’t be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last to be in that position. At the end of the day, take care of yourself. There’s only one of you in this world, and you can never be replaced. So this semester, become a new you. Find the time to live life, be happy, and grow.