Top ten ways to cope with the beginning of another semester

Very calm, very cool. Nothing wrong here. Illustration: Siloam Yeung / The Peak

By: Maya Beninteso, Peak Associate

  1. Denial

What semester? This summer you’ll be tanning blissfully at the beach, laughing at the people signing up for another summer of the same school-related stress and poorly air-conditioned lecture halls. Instead of completing required readings, you’ll be reading a book — one that isn’t non-fiction and could double as a sleep aid.


  1. Cry.

Let it all out. Your summer of freedom should be mourned. So grab your favorite snacks and your guilty pleasure TV series that you’ve watched too many times, and have a nice cry. While scrolling through social media when you should be studying, you’ll likely come across posts (from peers you’ve never met, but their bio says they’re from SFU, so you added them to be polite) with this caption: take me back to beachy days. Keep those #hotstudenttears coming.


  1. Hit the gym

Ah, yes, coping the healthy way. Physical pain is better than the prospect of enduring another semester. Hit the gym and contemplate life between sets of exercises you’re 100% sure you’re not doing correctly. Either way, you may lift your spirits by doing some exercise*.

*Pro tip: combining #2 and #3 is an embarrassing, but oddly cathartic, way to cope. Have that sad boi hours playlist ready for your next gym session, folks. 


  1. Discover Google Calendar

Since the end of your summer is upon you, you might as well have a visual aid to remind you. This is my personal favourite way to cope as I can schedule everything, like lectures, tutorials, outings with friends, work-outs, and my “do I really want to be a psychology major or do I just want to work through my own trauma” sessions.


  1. Procrastinate

Ah . . . yes, good-old fashioned procrastination. Surely the most familiar concept for SFU students (because physical textbooks never take weeks to ship). This coping mechanism never fails to cause anxiety to run rampant. Will I be prepared for this semester? Who knows! Will I learn my lesson for the next semester? Highly unlikely! If you love the adrenaline rush of not knowing whether you’ll have all of your materials for the upcoming semester, this coping mechanism is for you!


  1. Hoard all the caffeine*

I mean it. Take a trip to your local family-sized-everything shop (ahem, Costco) or anywhere selling copious amounts of caffeinated beverages, and purchase your favourite source of caffeine. This proactive measure will surely get you through those all-nighters because you have, evidently, mastered coping mechanism number five.


*Use coping mechanism with caution. Recommended use only if a bathroom is in close proximity.


  1. Start journaling

Journaling is a way to reflect and process the events in your life. This can look different for everyone, but here is a sample I think will be helpful:


Dear stack of bound paper I refuse to call a diary, to no one’s surprise, I fucked up again. I willingly signed up for another semester. Totally unrelated, but something must be wrong with me. I am doomed to a semester of 300 pages of readings a week and a professor who I swear cannot intonate to save their life. 


  1. Conduct intensive research

This is likely the most productive method of coping. Research absolutely everything and make sure to pay attention to Rate My Professor, Course Diggers, SFU course outlines, and other relevant sources. The aforementioned resources will ensure you’ll be ready to tackle another semester. Thoroughly researching the enemy, AKA your courses, will render you prepared for anything the semester can throw at you: exams, papers, existential dread, and more!


  1. Find sources of support

Whether this be your group of friends, family, a literal support group, or other loved ones, find people that will be in your corner. All jokes aside, university can be mentally trying, so it’s vital to have people you can lean on when times get rough. If all else fails, SFU’s avocado will always be there for you (unless the avocado ends up leaving you, too.)


  1. Succumb

Reach acceptance. You signed up for another semester and you’ll get through another semester. It will, for the most part, suck, but schedule some fun if you can. Look on the bright side! Your friends will have to listen to you make jokes about some guy named Pavlov and his drooling dog as he appears on your syllabus for the fourth time. Everything in life will pass and, with some luck and preparation, hopefully you’ll pass your courses this semester, too.