The life and hard times of a Concordia student

Graphic by Wednesday Laplante

Here are some tips on how to become a better version of yourself this semester

Welcome all Concordians, old and new, to the fall semester! As a new academic year kicks off, the campuses are buzzing with students as we swarm the halls and classrooms. Some of us are back to conquer yet another year, and the rest of you are beginning your journey as a Concordian. Either way, after a long summer off from school, we all need some time to mentally prepare and readjust to student life.

I don’t know about you, but even after a few weeks, I’m still having trouble accepting the busy semester ahead. But denial won’t get me anywhere. The semester is here; there is no stopping this train. After five years of experience as a Concordia student—I’m finishing my master’s in environment—the best advice I can give you is to dive in head first.

Now, some of you might be afraid to do this. You may be wondering if you’ll sink or swim. That is a valid question, but my answer is simple.

How can you sink when you’re surrounded by life preservers? If you’re struggling to stay afloat and on top of your academic work, just reach out and grab one. We’re surrounded by so much support, you just have to know where to look.

First thing’s first: Get with the program, literally. We may dread, at least a little bit, the idea of starting another semester, but at the university level, we’re here because we want to be. And if you’re going to do anything, do it right! It’s important to remember we signed up for this life of learning, and we’re so lucky to be in an environment that allows us to grow intellectually, socially and personally.

To take advantage of a full Concordia experience, here are some tips on how to excel as a Concordia student and tap into your inner nerd.

Start by balancing your social and academic lives. You need to be able to do both in order to stay sane. Detach every so often and redirect your energy so you can perform better when you return to  your studies. Try joining a student club or association, attend campus events, or volunteer. These are great opportunities to learn new skills outside of the classroom. Get involved in something you enjoy.

Take care of your physical and mental health. As students, it’s easy to live off of coffee and Timmie’s bagels for extended periods of time. But a healthy body and mind will help you with your studies. Be mindful of what you eat and how much you’re sleeping.

As for dealing with the inevitable roller coaster of emotions, stress and anxiety that come with being a student, know that you’re not alone. We’re all going through the same thing, and what you’re experiencing is normal. You can also check out Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services for more tips or if you want to speak with a professional.

But before all else, to excel as a student, you must adopt a student mindset. Get back on track, stop procrastinating and do those readings. Be the best student you can be. Be curious and dare to ask the questions no one is asking. Think outside the box and challenge your professors. Understand that they are people too, and they’re not always right. Be open to other student’s perspectives; you can learn a lot from your peers. And take advantage of the services available to us for help in all areas of student life. If you’re not sure what help you need or where to find it, stop by the Welcome Crew offices on either campus and a student mentor (maybe even me, if I’m on shift) will be happy to help.

Lastly, make the right friends for the right things. Who you hang out with and when is key to being a good student. Form study groups for your classes, and find like-minded people to motivate you through your studies and push you to do better. When studying, embrace your inner Concordia nerd. Remember that sometimes (not always) there needs to be a distinction between the friends you have for your academic life and the people in your social life. Your study friends are your study friends and your Reggies friends are your Reggies friends, but you’ll need both to kill it at Concordia.

Graphic by Wednesday Laplante


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