Readjusting after an academic disruption

It can be challenging to readjust when classes resume after an unexpected disruption like a strike. As we learn about remedial changes to the semester, you may feel added pressure or stress with a new compressed academic timeline - you likely have amended due dates, busy weeks with rescheduled assessments, or other unique challenges.

The following steps can help you face the changes that come with readjusting after an academic disruption:

1. Create a new plan

As the shape of the semester has changed, the first step is to make (or re-make) a plan to help you keep track of new assessment dates and any changes to the content to be covered this term, as what you planned for in January is likely no longer relevant. Once your instructor has communicated any modifications to your course, add all important dates and deadlines to a central calendar to help visualize the remaining weeks. 

⇒ Our Semester and Weekly Planning resource will guide you through creating a new plan that can help you prioritize your tasks and balance your coursework and other commitments while still giving you time for yourself.

As a bonus, this resource includes an updated Semester-at-a-Glance calendar that reflects key changes to Winter 2023 semester dates. 

2. Set realistic goals and consider your options

Once you have a plan mapped out, you will have a better idea of what the second half of your semester looks like and be able to identify your busiest days or weeks so you can prepare accordingly. It's important to be realistic about setting goals and prioritizing tasks to help you stick with your plan and have it work for you.

⇒ Try using tools like Wake Forest University's Workload Estimator to get an idea of how much time you need to schedule for tasks, then break down larger projects or studying material into SMART goals you can incorporate into a weekly learning plan

On top of a new semester timeline, you may also be presented with options that are not part of the typical university semester - such as the ability to drop a course until the last day of classes (April 10th, 2023) with a full tuition refund, or the choice of an alternative grading system (e.g. pass/fail versus a numerical score). Understanding how these options factor into your plan for the semester is essential, as these changes can allow you to make new academic decisions.

Looking for more information about grading systems? Check out the Labour Relations Academic and Course Information FAQs
3. Try some new learning strategies

A disruption in the semester can be an opportunity to reflect, take stock, and make changes to shake up your study routine. As we regroup for the second half of the semester, there is still plenty of time to try new strategies that can help you succeed.

For example, if you find yourself with a lot of reading to catch up on, try the SQ4R method - it's a study system that helps you read effectively, take notes, and create a study guide that future-you will be grateful for during final exams. Or, if you find yourself with a lot of material to cover without much motivation to focus, try some strategies like Pomodoro or monotasking as outlined in our Overcoming Procrastination resource.

⇒ The Academic Success Centre has many learning skills resources that can help you find new study strategies that work for you.

4. Ask for help

You're never in it alone. All students - and instructors, too - are facing these unexpected changes to the semester.  

Your instructors and instructional staff are there to help and are your primary resource for the specifics of your course. If you need more clarification about the plan to resume your course, changes to assessments, or modifications to content, be sure to reach out to your instructor sooner rather than later. If you need some advice on how to do just that, check out our Communicating with Instructors resource for tips on composing an email or utilizing office hours.

⇒ Peer support can also be very beneficial in these times - your classmates are in the same boat and are a great resource, as a study group can help you stay motivated and learn from others.

Our Group Work & Study Groups resource has tips on forming a study group and how to get the most out of working together.

If you're in a PAL course this term, check with your peer leader for session details to take advantage of free Peer-Assisted Learning study sessions.

There are many other resources available to help you readjust as we continue the Winter semester, such as: