How to kick start your fall work ethic

Start the school year off right with these tips

A student writing in her agenda.

While the start of the fall semester is a perfect opportunity to set academic goals, the lingering summer heat makes finding the motivation to buckle down and focus a serious challenge. 

When given the chance to catch up with friends, explore downtown Kingston and tan at the pier, cracking open textbooks in Stauffer can sink to the bottom of our to-do lists. 

Shifting out of vacation mode is difficult, but these four tips can help you get back on track before assignments start to build up. 

Treat your days like 9-to-5 workdays 

One of the best things about being a university student is having the freedom to create your own class schedule. You can choose to avoid morning classes, free up your Fridays, or take a few online courses. 

But when you have a lot of free time, it’seasy to procrastinate. 

Establishing a daily routine—and committing to working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—can increase your productivity and banish feelings of inadequacy and guilt. While you’ll still be able to pencil in the odd lunch date, working hard for the majority of the day will result in relaxing nights and flexible weekends. 

Find a study buddy

Finding someone who shares your goals can make all the difference when it comes to studying. Working with a friend not only holds you accountable for completing tasks, but also helps you feel less alone. 

Your study buddy doesn’t have to be in the same classes—or faculty—for the partnership to work. Instead, think of them like a gym partner: spotting you when you lift the weight of academic responsibility. 

Remember: don’t rely too heavily on your study buddy. They have their own life and commitments to worry about.

Take advantage of on-campus resources

We too often forget help is available if we’re willing to ask for it. Queen’s offers a variety of health, financial and academic resources. 

Discussing readings and assignments with TAs and professors can similarly make your workload seem more manageable and motivate you to get a head start on upcoming projects. 

If you need additional help or clarification, an appointment with Student Academic Success Services may do the job as well. Their staff and volunteers can assist in improving your critical thinking, writing and time management.   

Block out time for self-care

Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself. When school gets busy, we like to tell ourselves that we don’t have time for the things that make us happy—but that’s not the case. 

Take a walk by the lake, run a bubble bath, or spend some quality time with friends. Deadlines may be pressing but they aren’t worth sacrificing your mental health over. 

The more balanced your life is, themore you can focus when it matters most. School is important, but so are you.   

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