The First 6 Weeks

It has been a turbulent few weeks for me as the school year has begun to gain momentum. I’ve struggled with adjusting to my new roles, likely as a result of the requirements laid out by some commitments that required completion within one or two weeks of the year kicking off. While I know that a deadline means that completion will come eventually, it has been difficult to see beyond those deadlines at times; however, some have passed, and I am able to feel the ability to manage my life returning to me.

The first six weeks of being at school is a time of transition and readjustment for all; but those weeks are outlined as a particularly critical period for residents and the residence advisors, because those six weeks will set the ‘tone’ for the rest of the year.

Amidst the requirements of my positions, I have some personal goals for the first six weeks:

  1. Schedule my hours until my routine develops.
    I have been struggling with finding the motivation to sit down and establish my study routine, and I believe that some structured study time – as informed by a calendar schedule to-be arranged – will help me return to a natural study rhythm. Additionally, time for my extracurricular requirements will be structured around that time to ensure that I don’t forget about them.
  2. Be conscientious of my eating habits.
    Throughout my health journey over the past two years, I have become much more aware of the way my body feels and performs in response to consuming certain things. During my stresses and anxieties of the first few weeks of school, I have acknowledged my body’s cravings and responses – and promptly ignored them several times. My eating habits are far from the horrors they could be, but when I eat a primarily vegan diet, exercise daily, and have spent months making my body accustomed to a certain “cleanliness” of diet – my body desires good things, and responds poorly to my neglect of it.
    I need to eat meals that fill me with fibre, protein, and enough carbs to keep me mentally active. My snacks should be primarily clean ones with minimal “fake” components (for example, not indulging too often in my love of Mio-enhanced water). Fluids are a must, and will ideally be a nearly-even split between tea and regular water.
  3. Plan ahead.
    It has become apparent that if I am planning ahead, my life is generally in a manageable state. My thoughts are that if I plan ahead regardless of my life’s manageability, I will produce a manageable state! At least a little. It will give me more opportunities to see what is ahead, and at least not be totally caught off guard by obligations and events that are coming up.
    – Calendars
    – Day planners
    – Looking at class schedules

With these simple strategies, I think I will find the remaining 3/6 weeks will come to a more peaceful and less chaotic close than the first 3/6 weeks have passed by in a flurry of.

Here’s to hoping!


Somewhere over the last few weeks, summer vacation became August Advisor Orientation, which became September and the beginning of the school year.


My new role in residence both feels natural and surreal at the same time – I have been diligent in applying for the position despite two years of challenging almost-but-not-quite returns on my efforts. Something changed along the way, and now I am positioned where I have tried to be – a residence advisor!

Along with this new role come new commitments and challenges that I must embrace and overcome, as they are not what I am accustomed to having in my schedule. Furthering this newness, I have new classes that require more reading and writing than I have ever previously needed to do for courses at school; another set of challenges to take on. Finally, I have my extracurriculars (beyond advising): The NRHH, HerCampus, my job, and my favourite extracurricular – my personal life! An item which, in itself, has also required adjustments due to new circumstances.

The first few weeks of returning to university have always been somewhat hectic for me, but this year in particular has, so far, felt like an adjustment that hasn’t been made very quickly (or completely). In light of this, I have taken steps to better ensure that I at least stay afloat in the ocean of obligations I feel I’ve found myself in, until I am able to settle down a little.

  1. To-do Lists:
    I have always taken pleasure in checking off items on my lists; but the lists these first couple of weeks have been extensive and full of new meetings/quotas/requirements/travel times. I consider myself “on top of things” when I can get through a minimum of 95% of my to-do lists (a high-standards percentage pulled out of the air), and I have been scraping to get 75% done recently. Slowly, I can see the items being checked off, and I can tell that the initial adjustment phase is nearing its end.
  2. S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
    Most students in my circles have encountered this phrase at some point in their educational career, I find. I find goal setting useful in reminding myself what I want to do and what needs to be done (even if those don’t always overlap). 
    S    –   Specific
    M – Measurable
    A  –  Attainable
    R   –   Realistic
    T – Time-based

    I am going to set a SMART goal here as an example of what it looks like, and to get me in the goal-making groove: I want to complete all of the readings for Monday’s classes before class on Monday.

    Specific – Refers to the readings due on Monday.
    Measurable – I will be able to measure my success by how much of the readings I have done.
    Attainable – This objective is very doable.
    Realistic – Self-explanatory.
    Time-based – This has a deadline: Before class on Monday.
  3. Stepping back every so often.
    This one is tough when I really want to get everything done, but it is really important (for me, at least) to take a moment to step away from the books, the appointments, the campus in general – and to remind myself that I do exist beyond all of my obligations.

Until there is more time to establish more steps for staying afloat, these steps will be my main area of focus for the time being.

Back to the books…