Starting the Term Off Right with SAVY

Posted by Deea Deb on January 11, 2022

Academic Success | Student Life

Image of a laptop with the eclass screen and textStarting the Term Off Right with SAVY

Welcome back, Lions! It’s time to get back in the game and ace the Winter term. After a super productive Fall term, this #YUBlog guide is here to help you keep up the momentum and approach this new term with better strategies, and this time around, SAVY is here to make things easier.  If you don’t already know, SAVY is York’s new Student Virtual Assistant, that helps you get connected to resources for academic success, health & wellness, student life, campus services and career development! You can access SAVY through eClass or by using the quick launch button on the Current Students homepage and other York websites.

The SAVY logo on eClass

Below are five useful tips for starting the term off right with SAVY!

Set Goals

Screenshot of SAVY with a response to the question "How to set goals?"
Setting goals with SAVY

The best way to succeed in academics and life is to set SMART goals. In other words, ensure your goals are:

  • specific;
  • measurable;
  • achievable;
  • realistic; and
  • timely

Setting goals helps you to solidify what you want to achieve over the next few months. I recommend writing down your goals on paper and keeping them within your eyesight. Not only is it a great source of motivation, but your goal sheet is also a handy measure of your progress! Sound boring? Get creative and make a vision board with images of what you want to work towards (Pinterest is a great space for inspiration!).

Need more help? Ask SAVY: “How can I set goals”

Prepare Early for Class

Screenshot of SAVY with options for important dates
SAVY can give you all the important dates that you need to keep in mind!

Before your workload piles up with assignments and tests, get a head start on your classes by preparing ahead of time! Don’t know where to start? Here are some suggestions:

Take note of important deadlines by writing them down in a planner.

Ask SAVY: “Tell me all my important deadlines.”

Before you buy textbooks, it is good to check with your instructors about which books are required.

Ask SAVY: “Where can I buy a textbook?”

Make it a habit to prepare for each class beforehand, whether that means completing pre-readings, going through the lecture’s slideshow or completing the practice questions. This way, you will be able to follow the lectures and course material better!

If you are new to York (welcome!), you should take some time to familiarize yourself with eClass. eClass is a platform where instructors post all course-related information like office hours, lecture videos (in case of asynchronous lectures), discussion forums, syllabus and more. If your online class requires other systems or tools, spend some time getting to know them too!

Learning Skills Services is offering their workshops virtually to help students with time management, notetaking, memory, exam prep, and many more skills to ensure effective university learning. 

SAVY can also help you find virtual events that are happening across York!

Create a Schedule

Whether you use a digital or paper planner, it is essential to map your schedule in an easily accessible place. An excellent place to begin is the My Class Schedule web page, which outlines your courses along with their times. If you prefer digital calendars, Google Calendar is a good online calendar where you can block all your commitments, no matter how big or small, along with your classes, assignment deadlines and personal obligations.   

Microsoft Teams is another great platform if you need to organize your work, chat with your team and collaborate with people. It is also widely used by York instructors and employers outside York to manage collaborative work. The best part is that York provides you with free access to Teams and many other Microsoft applications.

Screenshot of SAVY with a response to the question "How do I get Microsoft Office?"
York offers free Microsoft Office apps to students!

Ask SAVY: “How do I get Microsoft Office?”

If you need a more robust (and free!) digital planning and scheduling application that can not only manage your university work but also your job and personal projects, try out  Notion. It is an all-in-one customizable project management tool that allows you to create to-do lists, databases, projects and tasks, notetaking and syncs across all your devices. Below is a screenshot of my Notion dashboard. I started using Notion last September, and it has completely upped my productivity game. I highly recommend it!

Want to know more about planners?

Stay tuned for our upcoming post on “Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Planner”.

Start Healthy Habits

University can get very hectic, and while your grades are important, so is your health. It’s all about finding a balance and sticking to a routine. Keep the SMART-goal outline in mind as well – if your new healthy habits aren’t specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, you probably won’t keep them around for very long!

Some quick healthy habits you can try are:

  • Don’t skip breakfast! By keeping your breakfast options simple (like oatmeal or muesli with fruits and nuts), you avoid being intimidated by the process of making breakfast first thing in the morning.
  • Eat healthy food – staying at home can promote stress eating and bingeing on unhealthy food. Ensure that you buy snacks that are healthy and can control your hunger for at least a couple of hours.
  • Stay hydrated – students often get headaches because they aren’t drinking enough water. Those of you who don’t like the taste of plain water, make it interesting and tasty by adding citrus fruits and berries! A neat trick is to mark your water bottles to track your daily intake.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep – if you don’t let your brain recharge, you won’t be working at your best. Reduce screen time before bedtime.
  • Take time off from studying to relax – read a book, watch your favourite Netflix shows or YouTube videos, or listen to a Podcast.
  • Don’t forget to exercise!
  • Don’t forget to schedule a time for personal wellness in your planner.
Screenshot of SAVY with a response to the question "Give me some health tips"
Use SAVY to get some great health tips!

Need more health tips? Ask SAVY: “Give me some health tips.”

Stay Connected with your Academic Advisor!

Although you can get all course-related information on your degree progress report, advisors can help you understand what courses you need to satisfy your major/minor, general education, and elective courses.   It is ideal to consult your advisor before the start of every term so that you can rest assured that you are taking the right courses/credits that you need to graduate. Remember to consult an advisor from your Faculty to receive better assistance.

SAVY can help you find some answers!

Screenshot of the SAVY chat screen with the question "I want to speak with an academic advisor"
Find out more about Advising from SAVY!

SAVY makes information easily accessible and is super fun to use. However, remember that it is still learning and the more you use it, the better it becomes. Let us know some of the questions that you asked SAVY in the comments below!

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York U on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents , Instagram @studentlifeyu , and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

If you have any questions or any more tips on making the most out of our e-classes, feel free to comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents. We wish you the best of luck this school year, Lions!

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

See other posts by Deea Deb