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Returning to a Stressful Academic Year: University Edition

The stress you feel when it comes to preparing for school is completely valid.

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Summer is coming to an end. The sunshine, free time spent with friends, and everything else that comes with the summer are truly ending (mind you that it was predicted to snow in September). The end of the summer marks the start of the new school year- for many- this entails registering for courses, buying your textbooks, buying school supplies, delving into your professors and teachers, and the many other stress-inducing-school-related things to fully prepare for school. The stress you feel when it comes to preparing for school is completely valid. So what are some ways you can tackle the stress? Here are some things below I have found helpful preparing for my 2nd year of post-secondary schooling:

Prepare & Plan: Classes & Extracurriculars

Preparation is absolutely key to the start of a new academic year. Rigorous and well-thought-out preparation will ease your transition and start of the first day of school. It will most definitely help with the stress.

  • Plan out classes and extracurriculars: To me, I like to start planning out my school schedule. What does that look like on a day-to-day basis? Well, whatever courses fit better with my other commitments; thinking about my social life, work, volunteering commitments, family, and school clubs. Furthermore, aside from courses that you are required to take, look into GPA boosters to prepare for graduate school or medical school, look into courses you have an interest in (you might find a new interest and decide to minor in something like me). I tend to look at for anything regarding course selection. Secondly, taking a look at potential professors. My personal favourite website is It helps you gain insight into comments and ratings of professors and instructors alike based on other people’s experiences. 
  • Update your Planner/Calendar: I also like to prepare by putting all of my assignments, tests, quizzes, and projects on a google calendar. Everything is also colour-coded (i.e. orange for quizzes, red for tests, purple for final exam). That helps me stayed organized and aware of when anything comes up. It also serves as a reminder to study and prepare for anything that is due soon. Furthermore, google calendar has a helpful tool that allows you to write side notes, tasks, and reminders so it complements your events on the calendar.
  • Keep an eye out for News: Universities always send out reminders and checklists. Make sure to be consistently checking your emails so that you are up-to-date with any school updates. Many important details are on the checklist like fees deadlines, registration dates, orientations, and etc. Check out the workshops and webinars as well as they are helpful with preparing for the school year. Workshops and webinars are extremely informative. For instance, at MRU, they have workshops on APA formatting, essaying writing, grammar, and many more. Take advantage of these workshops! They’re free and you always learn something new or feel more refreshed.

Textbook Tips

Textbooks are a pain. Especially since there is no definitive answer as to whether or not they are required for class. Many people say that you should wait until your first day of class to buy textbooks. Others say you should buy them ASAP because they get sold out very quickly or that you can secure the best price when you buy them early.

  • Where to find them? If you’re looking for textbooks for your classes, I recommend buying them from Kijiji, Facebook marketplace, or borrowing from libraries. There are also plenty of Facebook groups that you can circle around to find the textbooks you need. You save tons of money. 

Thinking about these factors helps me feel prepared and relaxed before the new school year starts. Of course, everyone prepares differently, but I hope you can take some of these tips and apply them to your new school year. 

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.