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5 mentor tips to help make your first term a breeze

Find your classroom locations, plan out a weekly schedule, put academic deadlines on your radar and tick off your university essentials.

The beginning of the term is here, to start off your first term on the right foot, here are 5 things I wish someone told me when I started at Concordia: 

Find your way around campus and classroom locations 

Becoming familiar with the buildings you'll have courses in is an important step when getting ready for school. You might feel a bit lost on your first visit, but you’ll understand the campus in no time!

  • Here’s an explainer of how to find your classroom locations – trust me on this one, it’s a life saver!
  • If you have time before the semester starts, come check out campus on your own or take a self-guided tour!
  • Remember that Concordia has two campuses, you may have classes at only one, or both. It depends on your program of study! Don’t worry, there is always the shuttle bus to move between them quickly. 
  • Even as a 4th year student, I continue to discover new spots on campus. My latest discovery was The Concordia Greenhouse (temporarily closed until winter 2025), an all-organic space with the best study spots, the Grey Nuns Reading Room for silent reading, and the 4th floor of MB. Mark these down!

Tick off your Back-to-School Essentials

Make sure to have all the essential supplies needed to kick off the semester. This includes purchasing stationery, course materials, and books. For me, it’s also super important to have a good bag to carry everything around:

  • For course materials and textbooks, stop by the Concordia Book Stop to pick them up or order them online. 
  • You can also get school supplies at the Book Stop or from other low-cost or office supply stores near campus. 
  • Make sure that you get your Student ID Card and OPUS Card (if you plan on using transit) early in the term.
  • If you haven’t already, take some time to activate your Concordia email account as of your first class to gain free access to Microsoft 365, including Teams and OneDrive! 

Plan out a weekly schedule and stick to it

On the first week of classes, I like to review my course outlines and take notes of important dates for each of my classes. I download the semester planner and the weekly study time grid from the Learning Services resources webpage and I put all of my deadlines, 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 this Time Management 101 video for more tips on how to stay on top of your planning game for the semesters to come. 

Get to know Concordia’s academic deadlines

I like to start my term by checking Concordia’s academic dates and deadlines and add the important ones to my monthly calendar. Important academic dates include any add/drop deadlines, 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 to avoid waking coming to university on a holiday (which happened to me before).  

Set up a study space and get a head start on course material

Set up 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.

  • Pro tip: always check your course outline and do some research on the topics and material that will be covered in the semester.

Personally, 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.

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