So I was doing a general skim-through of the tweets related to U of T to see what students are talking most about and I couldn’t help but notice something different. The Twitter feeds I was seeing didn’t have laments over essays or exams or burnt out messages of needing saving from Robarts. Now I realize this could be because it’s still the beginning of the semester but no, this wasn’t it. There was a sense of hope and excitement in these tweets, which we all know by now isn’t characteristic of our general experience here. Something is definitely up. Sure enough, these were tweets coming from high school students filling out their university applications. Ahhhhh the memories! The optimism of youth! I remember it well. The university hunting. Taking tours of Queen’s, Carlton, U of T, etc. Seems like eons ago and here a new generation is hoping to enter into this university of ours. Oh, the things they’ll learn! The shocks they’ll encounter! The sleepless nights! The moments of desperation!!
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.