Lessons they should’ve taught you in high school…

After two and a half hours of helping an ickle EngSci froshie with choosing her electives, it finally dawned on me that I was actually in fourth year. Not that it really means anything superbly important for that matter (except for maybe that I should start figuring out what I should do once I graduate) but for now, being in fourth year means that I’ve left high school behind a long, long time ago. Looking back, I’ve realized that most of high school was a waste of time and that instead of calculus and career studies, they should’ve taught us the following in order to prepare us for university:

1. The art of BS – because part marks are your best friends

Whether you’re an arts student or a science student with an arts elective, learning to write as if you know everything without knowing anything at all is a crucial skill. If you’re already a master of BS, take it to the next level and learn to coherently word vomit – in other words, having the ability to write coherent paragraphs/essays by spitting every single detail you’ve learned in class because you’ve completely blanked out on a question.

2. Knowing how to slack off in a smart way

Face it, sometimes, it is actually impossible to get all those readings done. Now, I’m not telling you to go procrastinating and slack off all the time, but even the best of students find themselves buried in a pile of readings that just can’t be done. There are some classes where lectures won’t be worth going to (trust me, all of you will have a class like this) or readings that have absolutely no value to your exams and essays. Instead of just plain skipping these classes or readings, try organizing a study group that takes turns taking notes for class or readings. Read the notes before tutorials/exams/whenever. In first and second year, doing your readings for tutorials are a big part of your marks so if you’re really pressed for time and haven’t read this week’s readings, read (or at least skim) the introduction and conclusion of your readings. They should give you a rough outline of what it’s all about.

3. Learning to be nocturnal… and go to class in the morning

Sleep? What’s that? Now, if you’re done asking me stupid questions, I’d like to get my coffee.

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First Year Experience – Week 3

University can take quite a large toll on your energy and stamina.

After only two weeks of traversing a fraction of the university, and walking/TTC-ing/GO-ing to return to my home, I have to say that there are some days when you really need to just lie down and rest before doing all the homework, assignments, and doing all the reading.

If anything, university teaches you one very, VERY important thing – PRIORITIZE. This ain’t high school where the teachers will go easy on you, or give you a make-up test if you are suddenly sick for one day without any reason. You have to take responsibility! I learned that the hard way when I came late for an ensemble practice earlier this week, and got the short end of the stick from my classmates and prof. I did have a legit reason, but I still felt terrible for not being there for my fellow students. Oh yeah, for the non-music majors, an ensemble practice is basically when you and a handful of other musicians meet together to practice your set list.

You also have to be really organized with your time, or you’ll end up having clashes with your schedule, much like what I had. It’s not very pleasant..

Other than that, university life is tiring. But it’s the good tired! It’s the tiredness that makes you go home and sit down in front of your computer while thinking to yourself, “Wow, I did a lot of amazing things today.” There are days when I’d step outside of the classroom from choir practice, and really just stand there in awe. There was no way I was in that choir group, contributing my boring voice to the angels in there. But there I was.

Anyways, some advice to my fellow undergrads to top this all off: Get plenty of sleep, and use that free agenda. It’ll help a lot.

First Year Experience – Week 2

Whew! First week over, and 11 more weeks to go.

The number itself seems small, but it’s a LOT. I’m amazed at how many things a professor can cram into one or two hour sessions.

Overall though, I’m getting quite a good feel for the classes – profs are cool, classmates are great, and the lessons themselves are quick, short, and to the point. But I have to always remain at the top of my game – I can’t lose focus or I might veer off to something that’s totally out of the point.

Classwork is…an interesting point when it comes to university. Never do any of the professors claim that they’re going to bug you to do something – if you don’t, then you don’t get the mark. This brings me to a strange feeling that I’ve been experiencing for the past week. I always feel that I am forgetting to do something, even though I’ve already done all the readings, note taking, and homework. It’ll pass hopefully, but in the mean time, I’ll have to keep up with my studies.

The major side effect of this, however, is ending up home being really, really tired. So I apologize in advance if my post is quite boring.

…Wait, why am I apologizing when I’m almost done?

..Ehh.

I’ll roll with it.