Survive the school term

Graphic by Sarah Morassutti

As we begin a new term, it can be difficult to get back into the correct rhythm for school or work. With only 24 hours in a day and work, academics, extracurriculars and personal lives to balance, surviving a term is no easy feat. 

While everyone has a different way to deal with the stress of school, here are some tried-and-true strategies that could work for you.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead helps make sure that you’re prepared for what’s to come. Figure out as many of your current and potential commitments for the term as you can. What courses are you taking? Do you have, or are planning to get, a part-time job? What clubs and societies are you working with this term?  

Wherever possible, think about how much time a week, on average, you want to dedicate to each of these activities, keeping in mind that you would want to leave some time for self-care as well (more on that later).

Knowing how much time you should be spending on all your commitments helps you ensure you’re balancing them all. Of course, it is important to remember that plans change. You may find new activities over the course of the term and may drop other commitments, but it is good to have a general idea of what to expect. 

Develop a Routine

Every day is different, and it is always exciting to see what a new day brings. That said, developing a general weekday routine can be a great way to manage a school term. 

While a routine may seem to suggest a sense of monotony, it takes away the need to plan what you need to do each day. Moreover, if you have a similar schedule to follow every day, it may be easier to stick to it for a longer period (almost four months, for example).

Along with a daily routine, it might also be a good idea to develop a weekly routine. Think about what you would like to do on each day of the week. This would serve a similar purpose as a daily routine but would allow you to dedicate some time to all your coursework and activities.

Most importantly, having a routine doesn’t mean that it is set in stone, so if there are days you can’t stick to it, no big deal. However, it’s nice to know what you would like your average day to be like.


With so much to do in a term, you need to pace yourself. If you work too much at the beginning of the term, you may not have the energy or motivation to put in any work towards the end. Burnouts are very real parts of university life, and to avoid them you have to take care of yourself.

Self-care means different things to different people. Whatever it means to you, do it. Watch a movie, listen to music, go out with friends, have some wine. Spend time doing things that you enjoy and take your mind off all the work you have to do. 

It is often very easy to forget that even though we are students, we are also human beings who need to take care of ourselves, and nothing is as important as our mental and physical health.

Understand your needs and what works best for you

The most important thing to survive a term is to remember that every individual is different and has different needs. Your friends may have really rigid schedules that they follow to make sure they are managing all their work and activities, while you can’t seem to create a similar routine that helps you succeed. Just because something works for them doesn’t mean that’s what would work for you.

Figuring out your needs and goals is the best way to survive your school term. It is extremely important to determine what works best for you. Maybe schedules aren’t your thing, so what do you do to manage your time? Maybe your goals for the term are different than most students, so how do you accordingly adjust your plans?