Summer has flown by and if you’re about to start your first year of university, you’re probably bursting with a mix of excitement and nerves! Have you started preparing for back to school? There’s the usual boring checklist of doing paper, paying tuition, and back to school shopping, but here’s 4 things you might not think of to do before the term starts:

Find the Right Resources

In my first year, I was so eager that I pre-ordered all my textbooks from the school bookstore and spent way too much money. Now I know that textbooks listed on the syllabus aren’t all necessary and there are better (and cheaper) resources out there. Even when textbooks are needed, it is often cheaper to buy them used and/or online. Used textbooks even come with free notes and highlighting from previous owners! I’ve learned to never buy textbooks in the first week of class. You should also check out other resources that you might need. If you know that math isn’t your strong suit, you can start reviewing before school starts or find an app like Minute School that will help you learn and practice when you get stuck. I’ve found that online resources are often much easier to understand than my expensive assigned textbooks.

Set up your Calendar

Setting up a schedule seems like a one of those boring tasks you need to do but it can be quick and easy if you get it over with before school starts! In university, you alone are accountable for remembering deadlines. Having a visualization of what you need to get done in the next few weeks is a must for time management. Your school likely has a webpage that lists important dates and some of your courses may already have their syllabus posted. Whether you’re using a normal calendar, a planner, a DIY bullet journal, or a digital calendar, you will thank yourself later when you almost forget about something important when school starts getting hectic but your calendar saves the day. If you aren’t the type to check a calendar, try using an app that will send you reminders for upcoming events. With the Minute School app, you just need to input your test date and it will automatically remind you to study and even generate entire study sessions for you!

Declutter your Junk!

Moving out for the first time is exciting but it’s hard to separate yourself from all your belongings. But university means that you’ll be sharing your space with roommates, you may not have much storage space, and you likely have to repack and move again at least once a year. So no, you do not need to bring the entire Harry Potter series with you to collect dust and take up space. When you’re packing, think hard about whether you’ll actually use the item and whether it can be borrowed or shared (like kitchen appliances) or whether your school provides it (like printers). Check out our list of what to pack and what not to pack when you’re moving into a residence! You should also check with your roommates to make sure you don’t end up with 3 mini fridges and 4 rice cookers. And while you’re packing, it’s a great opportunity to declutter by making a pile of things for donation or the trash-bin.

Explore your Campus

Once you get on campus, the number one thing you should be doing is checking out your new home for the next few years. This means skipping the guided tour and exploring yourself. This is a great chance to make friends; just invite along roommates, floor-mates, or other people you meet. All first years need to figure their new campus and it’s more fun to do it together. Your top priorities should be finding: your classrooms, campus resources, the best study spots, the cafeteria with the best food, and the nicest spot to take a break and relax (nap) between classes. It’s also fun to find the shortcuts and underground tunnels to get between classes faster. You should also try to find some places outside of campus where you can study or relax.

These tasks should keep you busy and productive before your first day of classes. We wish you luck for the upcoming year!

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