Woo! You survived your first week! Your first week back to class – first week of a new program – first week as an intern – first week back to work after wrestling the kiddies out of bed in the early morn – whatever the case, you made it!
Buuut if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling totally panicked. My first week of September usually hits me like a ton of bricks. What do you mean I have to get up at 6am again? Oh, what, my student loan hasn’t been processed yet? Um, did I accidently take a Spanish class or is that prof’s accent just like, super thick? I have like 102 papers due in the same week? – cool.
Here are my quick tips for breaking out of your first week panic mode:
Tip #1: Don’t spend too much time organizing.
Maybe this works for some people, maybe not. For me, I feel like I just hit the ground running when I do this. When I come home during the first week of school and try to jam all my syllabus dates in my calendar, colour code my binders, organize each according to chapter, and start my list of supplies I forgot to pick up or I suddenly realize I need, I just waste a whole bunch of time.
Why? Because things change, I’m still settling in and there’s so much to take in that I don’t really know how best to organize my days or my courses yet. I’ve learned that I need a little time to get my feet on the ground and get a feel for my new circumstances before I go all Type-A on them. Those texts you’re heading to the bookstore for? Chances are next week someone will have scoured the internet, found a free PDF in the depths of the dark side and posted it in your class group. Either that, or you’ll realize the last edition thats a million times cheaper could actually get you by just fine. Those binders you just spent hours organizing by chapter and colour coding? Well you may come to find out that most of the course work involves online readings so you really don’t have much to put in them and your computer just becomes the powerhouse.
I find that each course is different and my style of note taking, studying, and organizing is unique to each of them, and that just comes naturally after the first few classes.
So if you’re up to your ears in sticky notes, agenda pages, and to do lists, try to just take it a little easier and by the second week you’ll probably be in a much better position to get your shit together.
Tip #2: Don’t be too hard on yourself during the adjustment.
Depending on your situation there could be a lot of changes all happening at once this week – your sleep schedule, your living situation, your finances, your household responsibilities, the food in your fridge – basically everything! It can be really exciting, but it can also be pretty daunting. Please, please, be kind to yourself at this time.
I remember feeling like this about this time last year. I was on the phone with my Dad saying, “There’s only been one week of school and I already feel SOOO behind!!”
Since then this precious meme has come about, so I know you feel me.
You’re probably overtired from the change, probably underfed because you’re slowly stocking up on the essentials, and just foggy-brained from all the dates and assignments thrown at you during syllabus week. No doubt you will feel this physically, and mentally. Just try to keep in mind that this is natural and normal and will certainly pass. You aren’t doing anything wrong darling, and you certainly aren’t behind.
Tip #3: Socialize.
You know how they say people can’t take their own advice? Yep, guilty. For me, this is one I always have to remind myself because my professional responsibilities just naturally take priority. But I urge you, especially this week, to just say yes. “Wanna go to the opening football game?” Yes. “Hey, want to check out that new cafe in town?” Yes. “There’s some thing at the uni bar on Friday, wanna check it out?” Yes.
Yes yes yes yes. A big part of this week is re-connecting, or newly connecting, with friends, roommates, colleagues – the people that you’ll be sharing this year with. And sharing the year with them will be soooo much better if you make meaningful connections, and here is your chance. Later in the semester when work actually starts to pile on you might not always be in a position to say yes, so take advantage now while you can.
So there you have it, my short and sweet survival tips. If you’re feeling especially stressed, take a peak back at our collab post about managing stress here. (It is specific to the internship app process, but the practical tips shared by readers like you are applicable any time of the year!)
All the best!