The end is near…or the homestretch as they say. It’s usually at this time of the year that’s the most brutal to post-secondary students. With final exams to study for, assignments piling up that are due at around the same time, applying for summer jobs, and managing to get just the right amount of sleep, keeping the momentum to finish the year off with a bang is no picnic. Not to mention that summer mode mentality is probably kicking in at around this time and this is all you probably want to do:
Lately I’ve been reflecting upon my first-year university experience and thought about the things that I’m glad I did, things I should’ve done and what I want to change and improve for next year.
Things I’m glad I did:
- Readings! In my Psychology class in particular, a chapter is around 40-50 pages. That might not seem like a lot but the textbook is huge and it’s definitely a lot of information. I can tell you right now that I’ve read just about every single word in that 700+ page textbook and it paid off as I’ve never gotten anything below an 85% in my exams and those are worth 25% each! The concept of a test being counted that much for a class is foreign to me as a first-year student.
- Not giving up. Around mid-October of first term, I received my first test for one of my classes and what a disaster that was. I’m embarrassed to say that I barely passed a test that I really had no reason to do badly in! When I reflected on what I did wrong, it was that I didn’t review my notes nor read the textbook, foolishly thinking that the class was “easy” and “common sense”. Instead of whining and crying about my mark, I decided to change my habits and started participating more to improve my mark, reading the textbook, and putting more effort. Next thing I knew I was getting 90’s on my tests and assignments! I’m proud of myself for sticking through it and turning the situation around to a positive one! It even became one of my favourite classes 🙂
- Showing up to every class. I know that at times it’s hard to be motivated to go to class, that people get sick, and that personal circumstances happen. Fortunately, I haven’t missed a day of class (or tutorials) and the benefits of doing so are obvious: your tests will most likely consist of topics that are not in the textbook but are mentioned in the lecture and vice versa. Showing up to class and giving it your full attention also helps you do well as you are immersed in that environment and you can learn a lot from class discussions!
Things to improve on:
- Get more involved. Part of the university experience is what you do outside of your classes. I joined a few clubs at the beginning of the year but I’m definitely planning on participating in newer ones next year. I’d really like to become a Glendon e-ambassador! I love writing and this blog is the perfect platform for that 🙂 I’m also really considering becoming a D-Frosh and writing for Pro-Tem (my school’s newspaper).
- Visit professors during their office hours. A lot of students don’t take advantage of office hours and I suspect that it must be because they’re intimidated or too shy to ask for help (I’m clearly projecting). I think it’s important to develop relationships with professors as they can give you advice, help you out on material that you need clarification on, and they’re interesting people to get to know as well! Not to mention, they can be great references for letters of recommendations in the near future. They’re not that scary…professors, they’re just like us…but with PhD’s.
- Make new friends! I’ve met some really great people this past year during Jumpstart orientation, Frosh, and in my classes. I’m excited to make more friends next year! They make university all the more fun 🙂
Farewell first-year of university, you were a year filled with lessons and worthwhile experiences. Here’s to a couple more! See you in September, Glendon. À bientôt!