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How to Be a University Girl-Boss

As a student, once the midterm season hits, coping with school can be a challenge. The more stressed you get, the less often you are able to find motivation and faith in yourself. Many watch their grades begin to suffer because of this.


We have all been there. In my program, I feel pressure every day to juggle academics, clubs, and other commitments that will help me find a place at a grad school. This pressure has become my motivation, but it used to be my demise. In my first two years of university, I struggled because of the pressure I put on myself and saw my grades drop as a result. However, after turning my academic career around, I have become a self-proclaimed university girl-boss. This is how you can become one too (guys included):


Set goals for the day.


The workload of a university student is daunting. But if you break up your workload day-by-day and set goals, it becomes easier to cover all material and stay on top of your work. Setting these little goals will mean there will always be little wins for you throughout the semester to help you remain motivated.


Get an agenda.


Agendas are a lifesaver in university. Not only does an agenda ensure you are on top of your deadlines, meetings, and more, but it is an effective way to keep track of your daily goals. You can plan what you will work on each day and check it off, creating a clear path to success. And if you’re really crazy like me, you might even make a spreadsheet breaking up your days hour-by-hour, to stay on schedule.


Wake up earlier.


Waking up becomes much more painful in university as you struggle to find your independence while simultaneously succeeding. But getting up early is a necessity you soon learn. It is better to get up and hit the ground running than to waste time sleeping longer than necessary. There will be more time for you to complete work, helping relieve stress and improving your sleep when you actually need to be sleeping.


Get your 8 hours.


Even though getting up early is important, sleep is just as important overall. Nothing solidifies your learning like sleep, while also helping you avoid catching that mid-semester plague going around. Getting up early also does not mean you have to sacrifice sleep, it just means you have to get to bed at a good hour. As a night owl, I suggest at the latest going to bed around midnight and getting up around 8 am. If you are on top of your studies, you will not only need but deserve 8 hours of sleep each night.



Eat as well as you can.


Food is fuel. And if you want a well-functioning engine, you need premium gas. I am not advocating you change your diet entirely, but instead of making chicken nuggets for the 100th time, consider a sandwich or a salad. Instead of eating chips, cut up some cucumber. Instead of buying some poutine on campus, pack a wrap for lunch. Little changes make all the difference. This being said, don’t feel bad for grabbing some take out now and then. Sometimes, there isn’t time to eat in university, just make sure this doesn’t become a habit.


Get some exercise.


It is really hard to make time for exercise when you have a million assignments due and feel exhausted. But even committing to one exercise class a week, or buying a gym membership you use twice a week is much better than nothing. This will also help boost your immune system! Remember, your body is a temple, so treat it well.


Go to your professor’s office hours.


This one is directly aimed at marks and networking. Connecting with your professor(s) is an easy and amazing way to improve your learning experience. As intimidating as talking to a professor may seem, they are human. Going to office hours and introducing yourself can sometimes mean the difference between an A and a B. It can also make it clear where you may be going wrong. If you are interested in grad school too, making these connections can open many doors. All you have to do is go and introduce yourself! It also never hurts to attend a networking night.




Stress is awful and unavoidable in university. Even doing as much as possible to stay on top of your workload, it will sometimes not be enough to stop the tears. So go for it. There is nothing wrong with having a good cry, as it will help you release that pent-up frustration. But always remind yourself after you’ve cried that you have got this. You are only human, let yourself remember that for a second, but always keep pushing.


Stay disciplined.


Staying disciplined is the most challenging part of school, but it is also the key to success. Being as organized and disciplined as I have become was at first a struggle as I have a very go-with-the-flow personality type. But being disciplined really is everything in university, which is why it is worth going against your nature if it will help you achieve your dreams. It’s time to grind, and grinding will be much easier if you stay dedicated to spending time on your studies at least a few hours each day. Everything you need to do can be accomplished with a little self-discipline.


Keep your dreams in mind.


The number one best way to stay motivated in university is to keep reminding yourself of your dreams. It will all pay off as long as you keep pushing yourself to be better. Just keep picturing yourself in your dream job as you are going to get there. It is just a little further across this bridge.


Make sure you take time for you.


By far the most important thing to remember about being a girl-boss (or boy-boss), is to take time for yourself. Maybe this means taking a bath at the end of the day, hanging out with friends, watching some Netflix before bed, or going home for the weekend to see your family. It could even just be that trip to the gym. Whatever it is, make sure you find time to do it. You are only human and deserve to live your life. And if you find your physical or mental health begins to deteriorate, you have to TAKE A BREAK. No dream is worth punishing your body or mind for. I do promise, however, that if you stay on top of everything, you will still have time for yourself and the stress will be more bearable. So stay realistic, stay motivated, and most of all, keep taking-care-of yourself. Because above all else, those moments for yourself are what will prevent you from going crazy on this bumpy ride.


I am a fifth year student in the Honours BA Psychology program, minoring in Political Science at the University of Guelph. Over my first four years as a student I have learned that nothing helps relieve stress like a creative outlet, especially if you are an overly creative person in the social sciences. Growing up in an artistic household, I learned love, happiness, and any other emotion or experience could be expressed productively through various mediums. I learned to draw, paint, dance competitively, take pictures, and, most relevant to this situation, write, all thanks to my super creative mother. As a result, HerCampus is an amazing outlet for my creative side while I bear the pressure of meeting graduate school requirements. I can't wait to see what my final undergrad year with HerCampus has in store!
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