No matter if you're starting a new year of high school, CEGEP, or university, beginnings can be hard. No one wants summer to end, but we have to face that this is the reality and embrace this new beginning. You'll need some preparation, like with anything in life, so here are 25 tips to help you through your time at school before summer finally starts up again.
1. Stay calm
You may be freaking out inside, but you need to stay calm. If you think of the absolute worst possible outcome, you'll be so focused on this negative idea that it might actually happen. The best thing to do is to just take a few deep breaths and go on facing your day.
2. Start fresh
Last year is in the past. You didn't like your friends from last year? You didn't have the best studying habits? You can change, and there's no better time than at the beginning of the school year.
3. Make sure you have a good locker
One of the worst things to have is a bad locker. Whether it's too small, too far, on the floor, too high for you to reach, etc., you'll be annoyed with a problematic locker. As students, we have enough problems to deal with, so why bother with an unnecessary one?
4. Make your schedule ASAP
This doesn't mean that if your registration appointment online is on Tuesday at 11 am that you have to be on your student account waiting as of 1 am two weeks prior. Make sure you're online at least fifteen minutes before your time. Although, even at that odds are that you won't end up with your dream classes. The sooner you register, though, the more chances you have at obtaining a good schedule, so the sooner you can do this the better.
5. Check out your professors on Rate My Teacher
Do this before you finalize your schedule. You certainly don't want to end up with a bad teacher, or simply someone who doesn't work for you. If you check the professors out beforehand, you'll easily be able to make switches in your schedule to avoid this issue.
6. Go to bed early the night before school starts
This one might sound boring, but in fact most people have trouble sleeping the night before their first day. By going to bed earlier, you have more of a chance of actually getting enough sleep and not feeling like a zombie the next morning.
7. Wake up early your first day
This one also sounds boring, but you don't want to make a bad impression on your first day by being late. You don't have to wake up hours before you need to, but an extra twenty to twenty-five minutes to get yourself out of bed and eat a balanced breakfast definitely wouldn't hurt. Give yourself the extra time on your first day, and if you don't need it just don't do it again.
8. Plan out your outfits the night before
Unless you go to a school with a uniform, you don't want to wear the same thing everyday. It's important to express yourself through what you wear, but it can be stressful when you only have five minutes before your bus comes and you still need to eat breakfast, brush your teeth, feed your pet, water the plants, brush your hair, and actually get to the bus stop. Save yourself the added stress and just plan your outfit the night before, that way you can just throw it on in the morning.
9. It's okay to be nervous
Don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot feel. If you're nervous, you're nervous. That's okay. Always remember that you are entitled to your emotions, no matter what they are.
10. Be social
Some people are more introverted rather than extroverted, but even saying hi to someone in your class will be beneficial to the both of you. There will be times when you'll have to work with a peer in class on some questions or have to do a group assignment. If you establish connections with your peers during your first week, even just by greeting them, it will make things much easier for you for the rest of the time that you're taking that class.
11. ... But don't be creepy
There's a difference between being social and scaring people away. It's okay to have a conversation with your classmate right away, but I don't suggest you start telling them about your secret sixth toe or telling them that you've actually been stalking them for the past three years and watching them while they sleep. You don't want to scare the person away.
12. Get used to explaining the school system to foreign students
Montreal is one of the best places to go to school, so it's normal to meet foreign students in your classes. The thing about Montreal, though, is that we're apart of the only place in the entire world that has adopted the CEGEP system. It's confusing for people who aren't from Quebec, so you'll probably have to explain it a lot.
13. Appreciate the lower tuition rates
Unfortunately, higher education is harder to access due to higher tuition rates. Although, one of the perks of being a Quebecer is that we have some of the lowest tuitions in the world, including at McGill University, which is also one of the most renowned universities in the world. Take advantage of this opportunity. You may still need student loans, and that's okay, but just remember that you're lucky to be going to school in Montreal.
14. Work hard
School is a choice. You don't have to go to CEGEP or university if you don't have to, but if you're there that means you want to be. Prove it. Study. Do your homework. Just don't take for granted your place at school, because there are countless other people who want to go to school but can't because you're busy taking up a spot that you don't care about.
15. Don't overwork yourself
Everything is captivating. The classes, the clubs, the volunteer opportunities. You can't do them all. No matter how much you want to try everything, there's no way that you can. Overworking yourself will only lead to failure.
16. Stay healthy
You are your #1 priority. Never forget that. So if a class you're taking is giving you anxiety, drop it. If having earlier classes makes you unable to have a minimum of eight hours of sleep, see if you could change the class to a later one. Don't let your well-being be compromised by anything.
17. Do what you love
Science isn't for everyone. Many people take this course because they want to "keep their doors open." If your heart isn't in it, though, you're only wasting your time. Follow your passion, no matter what it is or whether people agree with it or not.
18. Try new things
A lot of people don't actually know what their passion is. If this is your case, electives are the perfect opportunity for you. Try something you've never done, or maybe never even heard of. You never know if you might just find yourself liking it.
19. Make friends in your program
The beauty of picking a program is that you're choosing what you love, and so is everyone else there. Making friends in your classes will not only let you meet nice new people, but you'll be able to share your passion with others, which is a great feeling to experience.
20. Have fun
These are going to be your best years. While you need to focus on your studies, that doesn't stop you from having a social life. Go watch movies, or go clubbing, or whatever it is you like to do. Let yourself experience what makes you happy.
21. Learn how to manage your time
Time management is a key lifeskill that you'll need to develop now. You can do this by scheduling an appropriate amount of time for your assignments on your smartphone or in your agenda. You can also do a little at a time, maybe dedicating fifteen to thirty minutes a day per course for a quick review, aside from your homework. This way, you won't need to worry about cramming everything and overwhelming yourself over something you could have avoided.
22. Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you don't understand your material, or you need an extension on a paper, or you have a personal problem that you need advice on, just ask. It's definitely easier said than done, but your teachers won't know that you're struggling unless you speak up. It's unfair to you not to vocalize your needs. It's okay to ask for help; that's what the staff at your school is there for. Profit from the services they're offering to you.
23. Don't be ashamed of who you are
You're different from everyone else, but that's what makes you special. Everyone adds something different to the classroom, but if you hide your individuality both you and your peers will lack the ability to learn from your contributions.
24. Always remember your end goal
We all have a dream. You might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unable to cope. You may be on the brink of failing your class. During these hard times, remember your dream. Remember why you're going through all of this in the first place, and that will help you to keep going.
25. Never. Give. Up.
No matter how hard it gets, just keep going. You can't give up on what you love. If it isn't hard, then it isn't worth it.
This is my advice to you. Take it if you wish, and good luck with your upcoming year!