Category Archives: Surviving Post Secondary

Surviving Post-Secondary: Goals + School Year Resolution

Setting out goals is very important in the journey to success and this is especially true of university. And when I talk about goals, I don’t just mean ‘my goal is to do well in school’. Goals need to be a little more concrete than that. You need to put it in specifics, things that you can measure and hold yourself to such as time or amount. A lot of students hope for the best, deal with the worst and don’t do enough to prepare. Instead of excelling, they’re just holding on and getting by. I was one of those student, “was”…

I want to stress how important it is to look at school not just in the view of tomorrow’s class, or the test coming up next week but instead as a semester, as a whole year. What do you want to accomplish this year both academically and personally. Maybe you want to join a new club, make some friends, try a new restaurant in town, go out to the club one friday night, attend a school football game, get at least a B+ on your essay. Maybe its even simpler than that. Maybe it’s getting up at 8:00 am every morning, remembering to eat breakfast, doing your laundry every other week, attending each lecture. Whatever it is, write it down, put it somewhere you can see it and keep it on your mind and within reach. Don’t let another school year slip by. Make it count.

Similar to that of a New Year’s resolution, there is also the idea of a School Year Resolution. For students, their years follow the Sept-April schedule. That’s certainly how I determine another year gone by. And with the start of a new school year, comes an opportunity for a fresh academic start. Whether you failed a course last year, didn’t get involved in anything or barely went to classes, this year can be totally different and you can transform yourself into the student you’ve always wanted to be.

I could have initially written about this earlier on in the month but I wanted to give people time to settle in, get used to their classes, figure out their schedules, get involved in a few extra curricular activities and the general framework of the school year. Now that that’s over with, it’s high time that you made a resolution or some resolutions for yourself. As with any resolution in life, they don’t have to major things but they need to be tangible so that you can be held accountable at the end of the day whether you managed to succeed or determine where you went wrong.

Don’t know what to resolve? Well allow me to go first.

My school resolution is to go to every tutorial assigned by my courses each semester.

I’ve had difficulties with attending lectures sometimes but nothing beats my bad habits with regards to my tutorials. Something about the forced classroom environment, a blast from the high school past, that makes me choose to stay home in bed. Either I wasn’t interested in the course, annoyed by my T.A. or was just plain lazy, I hardly ever made it. But that’s going to change. This year I’m going to go to tutorials, every last one. It’s beneficial for me that my department has changed the policy to every other week as opposed to weekly tutorials. It actually gives me time to read and be prepared for our tutorial gatherings.

So there’s mine. Fairly tangible and definitely able to hold me accountable, I hope to keep good on my resolution. What will yours be?


A new school year + some advice on surviving university/college

I’ve survived yet another first week of school. I’ve only got one more of these scheduled in my life thus far. Makes me kind of sad when I think about it. I’d become a professional student if I had the money to do so. The possibilities in school seem endless; the adult working world…not so much.

I was reading someone else’s post on her first two weeks of school in her first year of college and some of it rang true with me. Add on the fact that I actually have a younger sister who’s going through her first year of university and it makes me reminisce on my starting days and the wisdom I’ve accrued since then, about not just my courses and academics but general life, moving from that high school naive mentality to (hopefully) an adult mature outlook on life.

I’ve been a pretty bad student these last few years; partly due to personal outside circumstances and some of my own bad doing. So here are some of my memories, observations tips and general advice on how not to be the bad student I once was. Take it for what it is, but keep in mind, I’m a 4th year student, 3rd year in my program who’s seen the highs and lows; I’d like to think I know a thing or two. Maybe together we can succeed in this new school year, whatever year you may be in.

**Once I started writing I realized my explanations/stories were getting a bit lengthy so I decided to do this in parts/series so stay tuned for future posts to get more advice on things like homework, profs, clubs, essays…etc

1. Go to class!/Do not skip!
It seems so blissfully simple but you’d be surprised how needed it is to be reminded of this on a cold rainy dreary November Friday morning with an 8:30 class looming a mere half an hour from then. It’s so easy to hit the snooze, pull the covers over your head and sleep away your troubles. I know I’m guilty of this regardless of time of day, course subject or  weather but if there’s one piece of advice that’s most crucial above all, it would be showing up. I also know I’m not the only guilty party because on the occasions that I did show up, I noticed a considerably smaller attendance than the first day. It’s your only job and your #1 responsibility. It’s what you signed up for so for goodness sake, get your butt to class.

2. Stay awake/Don’t be late
So you’ve made it to class, congrats. Trust me, that’s a big step already but you haven’t made it out just yet. What’s the sense of being there if you’re just going to sleep through it anyway? Might as well have stayed in your comfy bed instead of embarrassing your ass in class when someone suddenly taps you on the shoulder and tells you to keep your snoring to a minimum. As my bio teacher in high school used to say, if you’re that tired to the point of being unable to stay conscious, its best for you health and for everyone’s convenience to stay home.

I’m not even asking you to be engaged in the classroom (that rule will come later). I’m just asking you to sit there and attempt to absorb in the lecture or at the very least listen to what’s the prof is saying. Even if only 2% of the information gets in, that’s more than what you started with when you woke up this morning. Don’t you love just getting by?

Now, showing up is better than not showing up, even if you come in 30 mins late but I beg of you not to make it a habit. Personally I don’t suffer from this specifically. I show up  typically half an hour or so before lecture (I’m an eager beaver when I want to be) or I don’t show up at all because being late is mortifying to me. It’s a personal peeve of mine/fear. But on a more general scale is disruptive and disrespectful. A traffic jam, a broken down tire, buses being late are clearly out of your control but lazily getting out of bed just to waltz in 30 mins is a bit much. It’s a life lesson to be on time for things; no better time to learn than now.

3. Get the notes
If you’re going to be late or miss class entirely for whatever reason, do yourself a favour and at the very least get the notes from someone else. I was responsible enough of a student to at least do this so despite missed classes, I always had the notes. Whether you get the from a friend or a kind stranger, be up to date and informed with what’s going on in the class or else you’ll suffer dearly come test/mid-term/exam time when everyone else is stressed and less likely to help you out. Proper note-taking and upkeep on your studying is essential to success and there’s no way to get around it, so stop fighting the system and join the rest of us students.

4.You’re an adult, act like one!
I think one of the biggest transitions, and certainly one that my first year profs stressed to us over and over again is that you’re full fledged adults now. You’ve entered a new ring, a new playing field and the rules have changed. No teacher is gonna chase after you if you’re homework is incomplete. No easy access guidance counsellor to steer you in the right direction. No parents (typically) to remind you to clean your room, take a shower, eat your vegetables and sleep on time. There are no mid-semester updates to show you how well or how bad you’re doing, what your average is and how you’re stacking up to everyone else. Your life is your own now. You could choose never to step foot on campus if you really wanted, as highly stupid of a choice that would be. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your choices, for the things you decide to do or not do. So make wise decisions, especially at a time when everything counts for your future career. Don’t lose sight of that end goal because your years in post secondary education come by quick. Graduation day will hit you and unlike every time before, there’s no next school to move onto. For the majority of us, there’s just a cruel, unstable, tough world waiting for us. I’d suggest you get prepared, and quick.

Get the notes