There’s nothing quite like getting brand-new school supplies for back-to-school. Fresh year, fresh start. But new stationery alone isn’t enough to get you organized. To give you the best possible head start, here are four tips to help ensure you (and your grades) don’t fall behind.

Tip 1


Plot all your upcoming deadlines, homework, extra-curricular activities, work and social commitments in your planner or calendar. Now, take your bigger tasks or projects and break them down into smaller, more manageable bits. Baby step by baby step.

Dua Sohail, a representative of our Board of Ambassador program (BoA), recommends creating a to-do list at the beginning of every week, outlining your goals for that week. This will help you meet your deadlines and help balance your work over time.

Overcome by a grim feeling every time you think of that end-of-term project? Schedule into your planner to complete just one piece of the project every few days, or try writing one paragraph each night. That should help make that large project feel less overwhelming.

Tip 2


Every mastermind needs a designated space to scheme and think. Assign a place at home where you can work for extended periods, without interruption. This should be off-limits to anyone but you while you work. Use a desk in your room, a corner of a dining room table, your parents’ study, a space in the basement. If you share a room with a sibling, negotiate a few times a week where you can be in there alone, without distractions.

Bonus tip: at school, think of your locker as a command center capsule. Organize it so you can easily find your books, notes, and gym clothes with ease.

Tip 3


Arrange your clothes, books, supplies, and anything else you might need for the following day of school in the same place. This will help you feel less frenzied during the mad morning rush.

Tip 4

Take a breath and enjoy yourself

Last but not least, try to keep things in perspective. As Angela Xu puts it, “Be present and live in the moment! Before you know it, four years will be over, and you can't go back. Take all the opportunities you can get and try new things.”

Angela Xu and Dua Sohail are representatives of the CPA Ontario Board of Ambassadors (BoA) –  an advisory advocacy group comprised of top business students from over 20 university and college campuses across Ontario. The BoA also functions as a student council for CPA Ontario’s Post-Secondary Ambassador Program (PSAP), and as a professional development program for tomorrow’s business leaders.