Sept. 14, 2020

Preparing for a new academic year

The beginning of the fall semester brings with it some mixed emotions. The idea of returning to something close to normal can be tough. Negative stress can lead to anxiety and lack of concentration, and it also makes daily life harder to handle. One way to tackle these trials is by making a healthy plan for success, and implementing it sooner rather than later. To help set you off on the right foot, try out some of these helpful tips:

Start your back-to-school schedule early 

During the pandemic, mental health experts have suggested maintaining a routine as much as possible to help with your state of mind. There are good reasons behind this advice. “Getting back to the grind” doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it can really help your health.

Try getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and setting consistent mealtimes. Think about what has worked for you in the past and use a modified version of it this month. 

Prepare for online teaching and learning  

The Student Success Centre (SSC) has information and workshops about online learning on their website. For more in-depth assistance, you can book an appointment with one of the SSC’s academic development specialists. 

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is also providing a variety of workshops focused on transitioning to teaching online. Knowing what to expect and having some tricks up your sleeve will help you plan for success in the new semester.

Stay informed and connected 

It’s important to keep updated on the current COVID-19 situation in our city. Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer is still providing updates on suggested measures to stay healthy. But spending too much time online can affect your mental health. Limit your daily social media intake by taking breaks and connecting with real people. With social distancing measures still in place, we have to continue to stay connected in other ways. Check out these top tips from the Canadian Mental Health Association

Keep updated on campus changes too. Check in with your faculty for specific events related to guidelines and expectations for the fall semester. We also recommend looking into some of the social events available online (visit events.ucalgary.ca to view them). Be sure to check your UCalgary email for updates sent by the university, and visit the fall 2020 FAQ website for timely information. 

Help others 

When we help others, we often feel better ourselves. Although you might not be able to be physically present, you can still find ways to be involved in your community. Check in with the campus community and clubs that you were involved with before the pandemic and see if there’s an opportunity to continue with your involvement. 

Apply to become a peer helper at the Student Wellness Centre or the SSC, and look into joining one the many Students’ Union clubs offered on campus. Volunteering some of your time can go a long way to refocusing your concentration on something different, which can help improve your mindset.