What a balancing act: good luck managing assignments, extracurricular and a social life. PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK

Can you handle this load?

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Nicole Schmidt 

You have a group presentation tomorrow, an essay due next Tuesday, a test coming up on Friday, and six chapters worth of readings to catch up on. Welcome to university, a place where the textbooks are no longer free and the amount of homework you have is going to make you want to cry.

Making the switch from high school to post-secondary isn’t easy for everyone. For starters, most professors won’t buy the whole “my dog ate my homework” act, so you’re going to need to come up with a more convincing excuse for not having your assignment done.

You’re also going to want to brush up on your multitasking abilities, seeing as all of your free time is about to vanish before your eyes. Read a textbook while dribbling a basketball, write your essay during family dinner, or sleep during class. Maintaining balance is key.

If you’re worried about the course load, don’t be. It’ll get easier eight months from now after your last exam.

At times, the pressure can be a lot to handle. In extreme cases, it can feel like you’re being crushed by a giant foot (or another heavy object). but there are ways that can help take some of the pressure off.

“There is help and support everywhere on campus, from professionals, academic advisors or from upper year students. If you need anything at all, always always ask for help,” said Niyati Shah, a former arts and contemporary studies academic link.

If you have questions or need extra assistance, stalking your professor or T.A is always a valid option. If you’d rather not chance having a restraining order filed against you, they also have office hours every week.

“Sometimes students think making connections to professors is hard because of class sizes, but they’re sometimes surprised to find that it’s actually easy to interact with their professors,” said Romina Ishani, the academic coordinator for professional communication.

Other resources like the learning support centre can also be of use. They offer math assistance for those of us that still use our fingers for counting, as well as writing help for anyone who probably shouldn’t have passed grade nine english class.

Resources can only go so far. When it comes down to it, it’s completely up to you to determine whether or not you flunk out of school after two weeks.

To some extent, failing is actually pretty easy to do. You have to remember that in university, there’s a heavier focus on inde- pendent learning. This means that there’s no longer going to be anyone hounding you to turn in your papers, or to yell at you to get your ass out of bed and get to class.

So as long as you show up to the occasional lecture and write your assignments in english, you should manage to survive your first year courses.

“There is no short cut to [a heavy course load]. You have to give priority to your school work, but you still have to make time for other things,” said Shah. “As school begins, you’ll learn to develop a strategy to balance school time, personal time and playtime.”

Quick and dirty study tips


by writing all of your info on in- dex cards, you can study on the go. Read them over on the subway, in the elevator, or on the toilet (no one needs to know).


Figure out what you’d like to accomplish in a night and reward yourself once it gets done. This will give you some incentive.


When jumping off a tall bridge begins to sound more appealing than reading another chapter, give yourself a 15 minute break to help clear your mind.


If you’re working on writing an essay, turning off your Wi-Fi will prevent you from wasting time looking at photos of kittens on Reddit.


Try reading your notes out loud. Research has shown that this method can help your brain store information more effectively.


This one is pretty straight forward. If you study in your bed, you’ll be tempted to go to sleep. You’re in university now. Sleep is no longer viable.

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