Tips for Surviving Second Semester

by | Feb 29, 2020 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

Are you swamped with readings that you feel you will never catch up on? Are midterm exams piling up? Do you have five papers due in March? Second semester is upon us and so is the stress of surviving the rest of the school year. With just a few more months of school to go, and so many essays and exams, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus and motivation. With the help of students across Hillel Ontario’s campuses, here are tips to help you conquer the final few months.

Don’t Procrastinate. Start Now!

Remember last semester when you had 3 months to write a 15-page essay, but you still waited until the night before to start? You may not have a ton of work in the first couple of weeks, but before you know it, work will quickly start to pile up. The best thing to do is to start early and try to work ahead before school gets crazy busy. Going ahead in your readings, doing practice questions, and getting your notes in order are all things you can do to work ahead before you’re actually assigned anything big. Sarah, Queens Hillel

To help you stay on track, Noam from Guelph Hillel, suggest you get a planner! “Writing it all down helps you manage your time and stay organized!”

Give Yourself a Break

Reading Week is the perfect time to catch up on your school work while also taking well-deserved time for yourself. “Rather than scrolling through social media mindlessly for an hour, schedule a more substantial study break. For example, go on a walk, hit the gym, blast your favourite music and have a dance party, get creative in the kitchen, or do some art. This way you’ll feel refreshed, happier, calmer, and you’ll be much more productive and efficient once you start working again.” Rebecca, McMaster Hillel

Make Healthy Meals

When we are stressed, we are more susceptible to getting sick. Avoid colds and flu by taking care of yourself and by eating healthy meals. “ I always find I thrive when I take 30min to make a healthy balanced meal rather than buying food on campus. It helps me focus on my work and keeps me energized for the rest of the day.” – Nicole, Hillel Waterloo/Laurier.

Ask For Help

If you are struggling to keep up with your coursework and are feeling overwhelmed, seek help. Don’t let the situation escalate and go through it alone.. If you don’t know where to go for help, start with Hillel staff. They are always eager to listen and to provide students with guidance and support. Hillel is also a great place to find a community of students who support each other during stressful times at university.

Countdown to the end of the Semester

You’re almost done! Think about how good you’ll feel when you hand in your last assignment and take your final exam. Summer will arrive before you know it, so start planning now.If you haven’t registered for Birthright yet, what are you waiting for? The trip will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life.“Second semester can seem super long, dragging on as if summer will never come. Having something exciting planned for summer can help give you something to look forward to. Get planning on that trip, or apply for your dream internship, it will make time pass so much quicker!”- Leah, Western Hillel

We hope these tips will help you tackle the rest of the semester. What works for you? Let us know your tips; we would love to hear them. Good luck!

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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