5 mentor tips to help you prepare for your first term
Tick off your Back-to-School Essentials
Khalil Koudary: At the onset of a new semester, I make sure to have all the essential supplies needed to kick off the semester. This includes purchasing stationery, course materials, and books. If you have assigned textbooks or coursepacks, make sure to stop by the Concordia Book Stop to pick them up or orde them online. As a student, it is often too easy to get overwhelmed with various expenditures, ranging from food and rent to shopping and entertainment. If you’re like me, I highly recommend creating a preliminary budget to plan your semester ahead. It will give you peace of mind knowing that you’re entering the semester financially confident. For tips, the Financial Aid & Awards Office (FAAO) is a great resource that offers personalized, in-depth advice on budgeting which you may find useful.
For first-year students, it’s a great idea to make sure that you get your Student ID Card and OPUS Card (if you plan on using transit). In addition, take some time to set up your Concordia email account and access Microsoft 365 Education package for free. Lastly, if you’re feeling nervous and don’t know where to start, the Welcome Crew and new student group events are here to help!
Get familiar with campus buildings
Guilherme Sperb Pereira: Whether you're already in Montreal or planning to arrive sometime soon, becoming familiar with the place where you'll have classes is an important step when getting ready for school. Knowing both Concordia campuses before the first day of classes can help you discover the services that are offered to you and where to go for what, whether it’s the Welcome Crew office on the 7th floor of the Hall Building or the International Students office on the 3rd floor of GM. There’s plenty to explore! Even as an upper-year student, I continue to discover new spots on campus. My last discovery was The Concordia Greenhouse, an all-organic space with the best study spots. Mark that one down!
If you would like to get a tour around Concordia, take an immersive 360 tour anytime or attend a virtual faculty-specific tour guided by the Welcome Crew Mentors. Concordia's own YouTube channel also has videos of both campuses (Sir George Williams and Loyola) as well as the different Montreal neighborhoods.
Plan out a monthly schedule
Juliette Gigon: before the beginning of the semester, I like going through my course outlines and taking notes of important dates for each of my courses. I put them all on my semester planner and my finding time to study grid to plan my weekly extracurricular activities, work schedules, and other appointments.
When you find a time management strategy that works for you, it becomes clear the number of hours you can dedicate for your studies throughout the week, and the days you can go on social outings. Check out this Time Management 101 video for more tips on how to stay on of your planning game for the semesters to come.
Familiarize yourself with Concordia’s academic deadlines
Khalil Koudary: before the start of a new semester, I always check Concordia’s academic dates and deadlines, and add the important ones to my monthly calendar. Important academic dates include the Did Not Enter (DNE) deadline, the Discontinued (DISC) deadline, holidays, first/last day of classes, and when examinations start/end.
Having all the important academic dates laid out is helpful to make sure you won’t miss out on any crucial deadline and avoid waking up early and coming to university on a holiday (which happened to me before).
Set up a study space and get a head start on course material
Juliette Gigon: before classes start I prepare a workspace. Somewhere stress-free, distractions-free and with enough room for me to stretch. Having this study space allows me to focus on the moment and be fully alert no matter what. It’s really important to have that space especially if you don’t live alone.
Before the start of each term, I always check my course outline and do some research on the topics and material that will be covered in the semester. I think having a background knowledge helps me engage and participate in my lectures. Anything to give me a boost of confidence and have an interactive classroom experience.