How To Survive College 101

Happy Thursday to all! And Happy (late) Canada Day to my fellow Canadians reading this. I started today out not really thinking about how I’ll be turning 22 in 3 weeks. And shortly after that I’ll be back studying at University. In fact, I just received an email telling me about my account balance for the upcoming semester.

I’ve always been that person that loved school and learning new things. Anyone else ever feel the same? No? Ok, moving on. As you start school from a kid until you graduate University, what you learn steers from generic and broad to narrow and specific. Which is probably why I love University – I’m studying EXACTLY what I want to learn about.

I’ll never forget the day I received my letter of acceptance into the program I wanted – nursing. I remember the excitment, happiness, and relief I felt when I opened the letter. My hard work had paid off and I was going to be studying the program I always wanted.

Every summer I think to myself, how did I survive that school year? Well, here’s what helped me.


Friends are great, aren’t they? They’re always there for you when you need it and they’re excellent study buddies. I found friends that i knew would help me (and I would help them) get through the next 4 years. Also, late night study sessions with a bunch of junk food with your friends is the absolute best. And for the nights you’ve got time, a little party never hurt anybody.


This is SO difficult with University. With payments coming from left and right, it’s hard to imagine actually having any money to spend. It’s important to spend some money on yourself, but only once in awhile. With University comes unexpected purchases. Between textbooks, tuition, and extras (I had to buy all my nursing equipment and lab fees), it seems like all our money goes to the University. So in every way you can, try to put money aside and mark it as “in case of an emergency.” Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing else than having no money and having a expenses pile up.


Life always seems to be a balancing act. Trying to juggle differnet acts all at once the best we can. In University, it’s important to work hard – by that I mean study and do your work. Take it seriously. Let’s not forget this is your career you’re talking about. Like I said before, it’s also important to indulge every once in awhile. So, in your hectic schedule, be sure to include time to spend with friends. Even if it’s going to see a movie, go for lunch, or even go for a cup of coffee to catch up.


Organisation is one of the keys to surviving University. When I went to buy my textbooks for the first semester of my first year, I bought a dry erase calendar that could be changed every month. I would sit down at the end of every month and plan it out. I would write down when I had lectures, labs, and exams. I even scheduled in when I would have study sessions with friends and when I planned to hangout with them. This helped me know exactly what I had in store for each day. Which, in University, is diffcult. With 5 classes and labs to go along with it, it’s hard to keep track of it all.


Just like planning time with your friends, it’s also just as important to plan time for yourself. Universtiy can become overwhelming and stressful, but even taking a 5 minute break from all your work can be just what you need. In my first year, this is what helped me: going for a walk around my neighbourhood, meditating for 10 minutes, scheduling in breaks while studying, even cooking a nice home-cooked meal. It takes your mind off of what you were doing, even if it is just for 5 minutes.

Well, with just over 2 months until the upcoming semester, I’m ready to start preparing since I’m now in nursing with a minor in biochemistry. But, for now, I’ll enjoy my time off until I actually need to get stuff done.


Alex Newton is a nursing student and mental health advocate. She grew  up in a small town and plans on moving to London, England one day and  open up her own health practice. She has a cat named Maya who she  adopted whilst going through some difficulties. She’s a daughter, sister,  and warrior who enjoys a nice cuppa tea.

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