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Fall, a Season for Harvested Thoughts, Introspection, and Preparation

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

The very best moments in your life come when your body and mind are stretched to their limit- but not beyond,” Elaine Fox, Switch Craft.

Elaine Fox’s thought-provoking quote, from her recent book Switch Craft, has embodied the core values around my preparation for this upcoming school year. 

September comes and September goes. Each one brings its own level of excitement and fleeting motivation. At the beginning of the school year, most students strive for perfection, which leads them to develop unrealistic expectations of their performances. 

I have fallen into the trap of perfectionism and toxic productivity many times in the past. It was only when I took a curious interest in healthy productivity and mental agility that I came across Fox’s page-turner. Year after year, I wondered if the coming Fall semester would have a better turnout than the last. It had to be. How could it not with my new overpriced Indigo coloured pens and sticky notes?

Sooner than later that beautiful planner was filled with the gribouillie of all my overdue assignments and intimidating exam dates. I often felt overwhelmed, as would anyone in my position. 

To break this pattern, I researched everything about productivity, mindset, and the psychological aspects of success. The most recent self-development book I read marked an interesting turning point in my journey. Elaine Fox’s Switch Craft is not a productivity book, but it has valuable and practical advice.  

If you relate to this cycle, it is time you change your approach by implementing a few simple adjustments in your fall preparation ritual at the beginning of the year.

Instead of wondering where it all went wrong on a cold November evening in the middle of the school year, you will begin to see things from a different perspective.

Fall is a season where the autumn leaves fall dry and crispy, making room for new opportunities for growth. As such, it is also the perfect season to let go of unrealistic expectations and perfectionism, and create room for a successful year – however you choose to define it. 

Mental agility

Mental agility is the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and circumstances with an open mind and a solution-oriented approach to life’s problems. 

During your preparation for the Fall semester, it is important to work on this skill. This will allow you to be flexible depending on the circumstances you are in at the time. 

This can look like being okay with taking a break when school takes a toll on your mental health. It can also look like staying a bit later than bedtime for one night to finish an assignment due the next day.

Mental rigidity is a mindset that lacks a healthy level of flexibility and adaptability in situations where they are needed. You want to avoid that to avoid long-term burnout.

If the initial plan A you drafted in September falls short in November, you don’t feel overwhelmed. You are able to adapt to your circumstances by logically assessing your workload, your mental health, and your social life. This teaches you the wisdom of yourself, as well as the compassion and grace needed to move from point A to B without getting burnt out.

Unexpected deadlines, surprise quizzes, or a work phone call. These are just a few road bumps that you will face in life. Responding to these situations with an agile & solution-oriented mind, will save you a lot of time & energy. 


The term Fertile Void was first coined by the German psychoanalysis Fritz Perls to refer to the difficult space we experience while transitioning between the old & the new.

It is an important time & space to reflect and evaluate your values and realign with this next season of your life. 

Fall is the perfect time to do just that. You can choose to have a fertile void in your general transition from the playfulness of summer, to the mental sobriety the fall semester brings.

Fertile Voids are also necessary for a smooth transition between tasks in our day-to-day life. If you have trouble separating your academic life from your social life, make sure to have a buffer in between your classes where you accept the transition. This can be as simple as sitting quietly with yourself or taking a walk. 

If used appropriately, this will allow you to grow each aspect of your life without feeling overwhelmed.


Once you have developed an agile mind and implemented Fertile Voids throughout your day, we can now focus on establishing an effective system that lets you track the different areas of your life. 

I use simple planning tools that let me juggle the different responsibilities I have during the year.

I use a productivity app called Notion, where I keep track of not only my assignments, but also my monthly grocery list, my budget and finances, tasks to accomplish for my part-time job, and a few types of article trackers. The list goes on. 

To plan my day-to-day activities and tasks, I use One Calendar, a digital tool similar to Google Calendar and Apple Calendar

Using any of these tools is a great way to organize the different aspects of your life. However, it is important to note that flexibility and mental agility are essential when using them. Life has many unexpected turns. Your mindset while facing these challenges is what allows you to move forward and succeed in your goals. 

Abyssinia Abebe is an Associate Editor at Her Campus Carleton (HCC). As part of the editorial team, she strives for excellence without robbing the writer of their voice but instead by committing herself to clarity, balance, and accuracy in every story she interacts with. As a second year journalism student minoring in law, Abyssinia is passionate about the media world and the art of storytelling through different mediums. During her time at the Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) as a Media Assistant, she wrote media releases and media advisories, as well as updated and maintained media lists by conducting research on media outlets and journalists. Experiencing media relations from a policy-making angle has allowed her to broaden her understanding of the media world as a whole. In addition, Abyssinia is a volunteer reporter for The Charlatan at Carleton where she learned to work collaboratively with editors on student-focused reporting. During the early summer of 2023, she worked as a Community Worker at Skills for Change where she helped newcomers to Canada find sustainable jobs in the field of their choice. Throughout this experience, Abyssinia developed a keen sense of fulfillment in helping others with the resources that she has. Shortly after, using her interest in audio journalism she created The Raven’s Orbit, a podcast that guides first year students through the first few months of their arrival by providing them with resources that Carleton has to offer. [Check it out! ;) ] In her free time, Abyssinia enjoys experiencing the calming aura that comes with a cozy rainy day. She loves listening to music that takes her back in time and feels fulfilled when reading psychology-based self-development books that help her be a better person to those around her.