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Four back-to-school tips

Starting a new school year signals the beginning of many new things – classes, books, meeting new friends, and managing a new schedule. Staying organized will help your days run smoothly, minimize your stress, and maximize your academic performance. To give you the best possible head start, here are four tips to help you get organized so that 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, unpackage your bigger tasks or projects and break them down into smaller, more manageable bits. Baby step by baby step. Complete just one piece of the project every few days or try writing one paragraph each night.

Booking a meeting with your TA to help you with that tricky problem can help – aim to do this weeks, rather than days or hours, ahead of the exam. Can’t seem to get cracking on that essay? Write just the intro and ask to meet your professor for feedback.

Tip 2

Create a Command Center on the Go

While every mastermind needs a designated space to scheme and think, having access to a set space when you’re on the go with a busy schedule isn’t always possible. To maximize your study time, try studying while commuting, avoid time-waster activities (like mindlessly scrolling through your phone), and do your work during breaks between classes. Think of your knapsack as your capsule command center – organize it so you can easily find your books and notes. Keep your bag well-stocked with healthy snacks and a reusable water bottle. You need fuel to stay focused.

Tip 3

Prepare for tomorrow today

Arrange your clothes, books, supplies, and anything else you might need for the following day of classes 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. Find a way to unwind and de-stress that rejuvenates you. Think about whether you need to unwind alone, or with people. We asked Angela Xu and Dua Sohail, representatives for the Board of Ambassadors (BoA), how they like to unwind. “Sometimes you just need time to relax. For me, it is running. But maybe for you, it's reading,” says Angela.

For Dua, it’s all about getting involved in the community: “Getting involved not only helps you develop new meaningful relationships but also teaches you how to effectively manage a work-life balance and manage stress.”

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.