It’s already mid-September and classes have started! While some students who live in Toronto or the GTA may be taking a few in-person classes, the majority of us are taking at least some, if not all, of them online. Turbulent times can call for some disorganized states of mind, which is where I hope to help!
Hopefully virtual frosh went well for everyone, whether you were a leader or an incoming student, it was certainly a new experience for everyone. One of the most seminal things about frosh is being able to make friends. With everything having been online, this may have proven easier or harder for some. I myself made many crazy memories and friends during my frosh experience, and I can’t imagine having had my first year without them. Some will thrive in such an online environment while others will be hesitant, which is totally understandable! I have a few ways that may be a bit unorthodox, but which are definitely great ways to make some new friends online!
For starters, get to know people at your college, campus, and faculty! There are tons of Facebook group chats, Instagram groups, and many more digital platforms that you can use to your advantage. Others are just as nervous to take the first step and reach out to others, so gather up the courage and say hello! Clubs and campus groups such as this one will be on the virtual lookout. We encourage you to drop by and say hello and introduce yourself! Take advantage of the wealth of clubs we have on campus by using the resource I had previously mentioned in my first post ! There you can type in any keyword into the search bar to find a group that is suitable to your interests. Online and in-person friend meetups are also a great option so long as you’re maintaining social distancing! Hit up some group chats, send out an invite on Facebook or get in-touch with students in your college or faculty! Especially while the weather is still warm; go to a patio or get some ice cream if you can.
Aside from making friends, online school is enough to throw off anyone’s rhythm. Not having to physically go to class can tempt anyone to slack off, procrastinate, and not finish work to the best of their abilities. The Career and Co-Curricular Learning Network (clnx) has a huge selection of workshops and sessions, some of which will require you to preregister, that can help you build and maintain good study and work habits. (1). Many of these workshops are put on by the Health and Wellness Center at UofT and can be accessed through their website as well! (2) In addition, your own faculty and college will also have an abundance of academic resources and registrars who strive to help you with your studies. An important resource that you can access from your registrar is the learning strategist, who is there to help you figure out what study habits are best for you!
It is important to note that, when tackling habits such as procrastination and when feeling lethargic, that repetition is key! Good habits and routines won’t build themselves in just a few days, but will require you to be proactive in your day to day life. Even if your classes don’t start at the same time everyday, try and get up at the same time so you can get your body moving and make the hours of the day count; especially now that the days are getting shorter. Realistically, particularly at the beginning of the year, no one wants to think about their first deadlines and projects, but they’ll be upon us sooner than we can hope. In order to save yourself from some of the stress and anxiety that impending deadlines can bring, start things early - don’t expect yourself to start things three weeks in advance like you might’ve done in high school, but don’t believe that you can just study the night before and be able to scrape by. Do the work! Study things in advance!
But also remember to take breaks, especially from screens. Go out and meet your friends for a socially distanced workout at the park, go for a walk, or even take up a new hobby. Many of us have picked up some hobbies but with school it can be difficult to try and keep up with them - time management is key for being able to devote time to study and to pursue fun, and stress relieving activities. The more you set allotted time aside for your hobbies and study times, the more you’ll find your life taking structure and procrastination will start to become a thing of the past!
With all of these things in mind, a great place to go if you feel stressed in trying to make new friends,handle classes online, and foster a good relationship with technology, is the Centre for Addiction andMental Health. It offers tutorials that can help guide you through the beginning of your mental health journey. (3)
Let this be a year for self discovery as much as a year to ground yourself.
Author : Hana Wernick
Edited by : Victoria Colaluca and Andrea Taylor