Skip to main content

First term didn’t go as planned?

Here are some tips to help you get back on track! 

A young, smiling woman sits on a couch while facing a laptop and taking written notes.

Alexandra is an undergraduate student who is currently studying psychology at Concordia. She is also a Welcome Crew mentor with the Student Success Centre.

Congrats — you made it through your first term of university! Hopefully you emerged with all the achievements you had hoped for in those first four months. But if it didn’t go as planned, don’t worry, it’s not too late to learn from your mistakes and right the ship. Here are some quick tips to help ensure your next term is a success:

1. We’ve all been there – it gets better! 

Your first term is over and you gave it your best. And whether you met all your expectations for yourself or fell short in places, it’s important to understand that how well you do in your first term is not always indicative of how things will be in later terms. University-level courses can be demanding and that’s why being flexible and constantly learning about how you learn best and what works for you, is so important in your first year.

Taking advantage of the many FREE and helpful learning resources has been a huge benefit for me. For instance, I highly recommend making an appointment with a writing assistant who can help with any stage of your writing or research process. In addition, math tutors and math review sessions can help improve your understanding of course material and practice problems.

2. Try different organization strategies 

Getting organized is key, especially if you have commitments other than classes such as work or volunteering. And sometimes you can download all the big organizing apps but end up with them collecting virtual dust on your home screen. What’s most important is finding an app that you can stick with. Here are some that I suggest looking at:

  • Google Calendar, or the iOS calendar app (on Macs and iPhones) are some of the best and most popular organizational tools. But if digital calendars aren’t your thing, you can use the good ole pen and paper method by printing out this semester planner.
  • Use a physical agenda and color code your tasks. For example, you can use red for deadlines and green for your classes. If you have other tasks that are not dedicated for a specific day, write them down on a post-it and move it around to different days as it changes.

3. Learn from peers who’ve been there!

Taking university-level courses without knowing what to fully expect from them is normal! For your future courses, I recommend that you meet your professors and TAs during office hours and ask them what to expect in the class and how to best prepare. Do this early in the course.

Another thing I’ve picked up in my time at Concordia, is to chat with upper-year peers who’ve already taken a course you’re interested in. This will help you get a sense of the workload involved and other particulars you might not have thought about.

Believe it or not, you can also find Facebook groups for almost any program of study at Concordia. Simply search the program name followed by “Concordia” and chances are there’s a group for your program! Here are some examples: The Concordia Undergraduate Psychology Association, the John Molson Accounting Society and the Engineering & Computer Science Association.

Best of luck in your next term at Concordia! Remember that you can always connect with a Welcome Crew mentor if you need assistance.

In addition to Alex's great tips above: We also recommend that you connect with your academic advisor to discuss your course sequence and strategies to protect your GPA.

Back to top

© Concordia University