BY SERENE NEKOUI                                                                                                                               ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR

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Image courtesy of Man Repeller, collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt

With September quickly slipping by (already!), there’s nothing better to settle the nerves than some points on how to maintain a successful year. Whether you’re just getting started with the Queen’s life, or if this is your final year in school, here on some helpful keys to succeed in a stress-free and thriving school year.


  1. Have a study space that isn’t your bed

It’s easy to open your laptop while you’re lounging on your bed and start researching for an essay. Believe it or not, using your bed as a study space decreases productivity, as well as disturbs your sleep cycle. Not only does the comfort of your pillows and sheets tempt you into starting a Netflix binge, your bedroom scenery disturbs your focus, as you associate your bed with relaxation and sleep time, prompting you to delay study and work time. If you’re looking to ditch the procrastination habit, find a study space outside of your bedroom. If Stauffer Library doesn’t do it for you, check out cafés like Balzac’s or Small Batch downtown, or even try your own living room!


  1. Keep a Planner

I know it seems like an obvious asset to any student life, but organization goes a long way. Keeping an agenda or writing your plans and important dates on a calendar leads to productive steps on a daily basis. Writing down a job that needs to get down allows you to focus on one thing, rather than keeping a whole list of errands that need to be done at the back of your mind. Dividing your day leads to productive time management and a less stressful build up of events, as you are able to actually see your tasks. Stop by at a book store to check out agendas or notebooks to keep your day in order, or log everything into your laptop’s calendar!


  1. Ditch the Distractions

I am definitely guilty of having my 5 minute study breaks turn into a 20 minute Instagram lurk session. Ditching the digital pressures promotes a swift work session with limited break times, and also increases focus. Apparently, it takes us 15 minutes to properly refocus when we get distracted, so picking up your phone every few minutes essentially sets you up for focus failure. The simplicity of turning of your phone during study hours or class time lessens distracted thinking, leading to successful time spent on school. Try a website blocker like StayFocused to increase productivity when studying.


  1. Work and Play Time

It’s important to understand that school time and play time should remain separate. If you are dedicated to school, your nights spent drinking with your friends shouldn’t be ruined by your unfinished readings haunting your thoughts. Leave time for both. As a student, self-care is just as important as our education. Take time in your mornings or in your evenings to dedicate yourself to your readings and assignments, but don’t forget to make time for a bite with friends or a shopping break at Urban Outfitters.


  1. Approach School With an Optimistic Attitude.

University life is what you make it. This is a short 4 years, make the most of it. Figure out what study tips work for you. If you like studying with friends, limit your study groups to 2-3 people. This way you are able to shoot ideas back and forth, but there aren’t too many distractions to get side-track. If studying at the library isn’t your thing, try a louder space, like Cogro. Talk to your T.As and professors. Talking to the people who want to see you succeed can really benefit your academic career. Having an optimistic attitude going into these first few weeks of school can influence your year for the better.

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