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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Wake Me Up When September Comes: A Note To Your Stress

Written by Rachael McLaughlin

Photo by Finn Hackshaw

September can be bittersweet. Whether you’re itching to get into your fall wardrobe or you’re dreading the day you head back to classes. There are definitely mixed feelings in the air. No matter what kind of student you consider yourself, you’re not alone when it comes to your worries and stresses concerning school.

September means you are about to face the inevitable. What are you worried about? How do you deal with it? And what do students just like you have to say?

That Green Matter

tapping visa card
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Enough money? Whether it’s rent, tuition, groceries, textbooks, or fun—it adds up, quick. Hopefully, you earned money all summer. But in order to stay calm for the next 8 months, it’s important that you budget. Figure out a reasonable monthly spending allowance to use as your guideline. Remember that making coffee at home, shopping at your local thrift shops for those comeback trends, and grabbing groceries instead of UBEReats can make a difference. Yes, we want you to treat yourself once in a while. Plan ahead when it comes to making money! Find shifts on your days off and keep your work (back home) in the loop when it comes to your reading week, holidays, etc. where you can help out.

“When you have monthly expenses, but the money is sitting in your everyday account, it’s easy to think you have more money than you actually do. My roommates and I made a joint bank account and all put $1000 in it and that pays for our monthly things like utilities and the internet. It covers anything we might need for the house.”

– Lauren Demontmorency, Western University

See You Soon

friends at a cottage, september
Photo by Kris Galang

They say you meet some of your best friends in college. We’re not arguing with that, but there is a soft spot for those hometown friends you can reminisce with for hours. When everyone heads their separate ways in September, it’s easy to stress out over seeing each other. How will you survive without them? Check your calendar for birthdays and plan around those. Figure out when your fall reading week comes… is it the same as theirs? Trust me, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. When things seem so far away, remember how fast summer flew by and enjoy things as you go! In the meantime, you know they’re all a facetime away.

“Most of my friends go to school here in Southern Ontario, so we can usually expect to see each other over reading week or the holidays. Everything in between that is just planning and waiting. I text and facetime my friends and always make plans to visit.”

– Olivia Lalonde, Ryerson University

Due at 11:59pm

writing, notebook and laptop
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Due dates? After 4 months of chilling by the pool, lake, and in air conditioning, it can be overwhelming to think about the structure and deadlines that September brings. Remember that professors give you a syllabus in the first week of September for a reason—READ IT. Seemingly stressful at first, your syllabus is actually a lifesaver. Avoid those stomach-dropping moments or all-nighters fueled by caffeine and energy drinks. Simply read your syllabus and mark your calendar far in advance. Break your weeks into bite-size bits and that peace of mind will follow. 

“The worst thing is counting down the minutes until a deadline. I always check out my syllabus’ in the first week when I am not too busy. I like to have a physical agenda where I can visualize my weeks and due dates. Basically, I find that thinking about going back to a timeline and due dates is more stressful than it actually is. You have those habits in you and they will kick in when you return to school. Keep yourself organized and find days off to enjoy yourself and the city you’re in.”

– Third Year Student, Ryerson University

Meeting that GPA

colourful books
Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

Whether you thrive off the saying “C’s get degrees” or not, your program probably has a required GPA you need to meet each year. Do a little digging and check out your school’s resources. Get in contact with your academic advisor and find groups, events, and workshops that will make things easier.

Most universities offer writing workshops that provide skills to prevent the loss of basic marks! Joining a group or club may seem distracting at first but perhaps you’ll find a new study buddy. Or, at least, someone to bounce ideas off of. Lastly, that syllabus will tell you your professor’s office hours! Putting a face to your name shows you care and that will get you a long way! Professors aren’t out to ruin you. Spare 10 minutes and get that clarification you need.

“I don’t test very well so I make sure I do extra well on my assignments, presentations, etc. This is where I feel like I’m strongest and by getting better grades on stuff like that, I put myself in a position where I just have to do average on the exam and I can easily meet and exceed my required GPA. I find that I get good grades by attending tutorials and asking a lot of questions pertaining to exams, assignments, presentations and whatever else I’m being assessed on. By asking a lot of questions, it becomes very clear exactly what the TA/prof is expecting, so I can tailor my work to meet those expectations and get a good grade.”

– Alex Misik, McMaster University

Home Sweet Apartment?

Photo by Rachael McLaughlin

Whether you spent your summer at the cottage or in your family home, it was probably comfier than the place you’re heading to in September. And if it’s not, consider yourself blessed! Whether you’re on the 25th floor or a basement apartment, there are ways to make it feel like home. Bring along your favourite recipe from home. Plan weekly movie nights with friends. Be sure to separate school from home and check out your local coffee shops to avoid cabin fever. Make the most of the space you have with wall art, pictures, string lights, and soft throws. 

“For me, my room is really important in making my student apartment feel like home… filling it with things that look like my room at home. I love my rugs and throws so I have those at school too.”

– Olivia Lalonde, Ryerson University 

“My roommates and I choose a couple shows each year to follow along with and watch together. It’s easy to get caught up in all your work but having a set time to look forward to every week is so nice and even motivates us to get our work done.”

– Lauren Demontmorency, Western University

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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.