Secrets to success from the editor of Maclean’s On Campus
This was first published in August 2011.
This probably isn’t the advice your mother would give you. She’s going to tell you to get involved as much as possible, to do all of your readings and to stick with whatever degree you’ve chosen. But as someone who graduated with a master’s degree in 2010, I think I know better than mom about what works and what doesn’t. Here are the Top 10 things that I wish I’d known in first year.
1. Meet your professors in person.
Guess how many e-mails a professor who teaches your 600-student course receives each week? It’s a lot of e-mails. That’s why it’s important to make personal connections by visiting them during office hours or by asking them questions after a lecture that particularly grabbed your interest.
Inside the war against risky drinking on campus
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
When outraged members of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee called a news conference in September to protest the suspension of their fraternity due to allegations of strange and excessive alcohol abuse, two words sprang to mind: Animal House. The news conference, immortalized on YouTube, is so unintentionally bizarre that it could be mistaken for an outtake from the subversive 1978 frat-boy comedy that launched a million toga parties and countless hangovers. The press conference—featuring a bow-tied, dead-serious Southern lawyer backed by an angelic legion of fraternity members in their Sunday suits—was called to refute allegations that one of their own, 20-year-old Alexander P. Broughton, had indulged in “butt-chugging” massive quantities of wine. While there was no denying that Broughton was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a night of fraternity drinking games, the idea of an alcohol enema is “repulsive” to Broughton, his lawyer said. “He is a straight man.”
Students are doing extraordinary things with video cameras
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Andrew Cohen sat near the window of a south Vancouver coffee house, scribbling notes on flashcards to study for an urban geography mid-term. The fourth-year University of British Columbia student grew restive, so, naturally, he took to watching YouTube videos.
Before long, he came upon a video made by students at the University of Victoria. It was a so-called lip dub, a style of video in which students dance and mouth the words to a popular song in an enthusiastic show of school pride. Cohen put his books away within seconds.
“I stopped studying,” recalls Cohen more than a year later. Now 22 and done school, what he saw that day inspired him to become a filmmaker in Vancouver. “That totally changed my life.” He immediately started planning his own lip dub for UBC.
Struggling is what teaches you the habits of success
As you cram for midterm exams and freak out about November’s essays, consider this story from the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. You’re not the only one who is struggling.
In the late summer of 1999, I drove with a friend from Calgary over the Rocky Mountains to Victoria, where I was to start university that fall. I was 18 years old. My hair was tipped blond and I had the collected works of James Joyce in my suitcase. I hadn’t read any Joyce at the time. But I wanted to be a writer. And I thought his collected works were the kind of thing a writer should have when he goes off to school.
Writing novels—being a novelist with a capital “N”—was what I had always wanted to do. Reading defined me as a kid. It was what I did better than anyone else. What I didn’t do back then, at least not outside essays, was write. No short stories. No plays. Nothing to indicate a budding creative talent. And once in university, my dream of becoming a writer lasted all of four weeks. After nurturing the vision through a decade’s suburban childhood, I gave it up after less than 30 days of actual work. What happened was this.
I was enrolled in the University of Victoria’s creative writing program. In first semester, that meant one creative writing class. One night, not long after starting, I sat on a landing in my residence building grinding through an assignment. What I had written was a mess. It was supposed to be an excerpt from a short play, but it had no characters and no plot. It was just awful dialogue about nothing. So I dropped it. Not just the assignment: the whole class—and program. My first piece was terrible and so, I figured, was I.
Are these students the best dressed yet?
Jessica Darmanin’s ninth Campus Style gallery is from her trip to Queen’s University in Kingston. Dare we say that these six students are the best dressed we’ve seen so far? We found a guy who made the blazer, jeans and bowtie combo work, plus a girl whose pearls, floral skirt and purple rims popped. The common thread in their threads? Confidence. After clicking on each of these photos, why not share yours? Tweet your fall fashion to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
See what students are wearing this fall
Guelph doesn’t shy away from its agriculture and veterinary school roots, so it’s no surprise that leather boots and leather jackets are in style. Unlike at some schools, it seems Guelph guys can get away with hoodies and shades. These photos are from Jessica Darmanin’s campus tour where she’s keeping one eye out for campus style. Click each photo to make it bigger. Then, why not show us your style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Wolfville, N.S. fashion in photos
East Coast surfer style is all over Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. But when they’re not in Hurley tees or Billabong hoodies, they’re at least looking more relaxed than Dalhousie kids. Check out the shots Jessica Darmanin got on the final stop of her tour of Atlantic Canada where she captured campus fashion. Click each photo to make it bigger. Then, why not show us your latest style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall. Next up: Ontario.
Our latest fall fashion photos
Earth tones, scarves, leather—that’s what’s in this fall at Mount Allison University, the top-ranked primarily undergraduate school in the Maclean’s University Rankings. Sackville, N.B. was photographer Jessica Darmanin’s third stop on her tour of Atlantic Canada where she’s kept one eye out for campus fashion. Click on each photo to make it bigger. After that, why not show us your style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Our latest fall fashion photos
Summers are short in Newfoundland and the sun sets early—7:00 p.m already tonight! To escape the darkness, Memorial University students are brightening things up with neon pinks, passionate reds and Batman yellow. St. John’s was Jessica Darmanin’s latest stop as she tours Atlantic Canada with an eye on campus fashion. Click the photos to make them bigger. Then show us your campus style. Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
In the face of challenges, Canada’s business schools adapt
Peter Thiel’s career is the stuff of business legend. He co-founded PayPal and was the first outside investor in Facebook, paying future CEO Mark Zuckerberg $500,000 for 10 per cent of the company back in 2004. When the social networking giant held its IPO earlier this year, Thiel took home $640 million after selling off part of his stake. Since then, Facebook shares have lost half their value, but Thiel still managed to recently pocket $400 million after a regulatory lock-up agreement for insiders expired. In other words, while just about everyone else lost money on Facebook shares, Thiel made out like a bandit. It pays to get in first.
A timeline of injuries, deaths, scandals and crackdowns
Graphic by Jessie Willms. Text by Josh Dehaas.
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A grad’s survival guide
If you choose to drink, there are a few things you need to know. We’re not talking about the legal drinking age or the dangers of drunk driving, which society has justifiably drilled into your head since you were old enough to finger paint. Instead, Yuni Kim, a recent graduate of York University who is currently in teacher’s college, offers you 10 things every student should know about drinking.
1. Keep emergency cash for taxis. At some point, you will stumble out of a bar, feel the slap of the chilly Canadian air in your face and realize you’re nowhere near home. It will be 2 a.m. and public transit won’t be there to save you. Many cab drivers won’t take debit, and there’s not a single ATM on this sketchy street. You’ll be glad you have that spare $20 to whisk you away.
2. Pick up the tab once in a while. Be cool enough to buy a round of pints for your friends whenever you have the cash to spare. This ritual builds camaraderie and chances are the karma will come back to you just as your bank account hits zero around Thanksgiving. With that said…
Tips from a student who couldn’t wait for orientation to end
This time last year I was nervously anticipating orientation, also known as frosh week or “Week of Welcome” here at the University of Alberta.
I thought that the first week would be an accurate indication of how life would be over the next few years. I was wrong and I’m glad about that, because while there were parts of orientation I enjoyed, I honestly couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Here are five reasons my welcome week sucked and what I wish universities would do instead.
1: Quit it with the blaring house music!
Before my first day of school, I’d never heard Party Rock Anthem before. That changed fast. At first it wasn’t that bad, but after LMFAO announced that “Party Rock was in the house tonight” in almost every building I set foot in, I nearly lost it. Hearing that song over and over again was especially inconvenient when I was trying to talk to people I’d just met, or concentrate on academic stuff.
For the sake of we non-party-rockers, why not keep the club atmosphere all in one area?
Student narrowly escapes crash
Jay Mangat, a Bachelor of Natural Science student the University of Calgary captured this incredible footage showing a highway sign bobbing up and down on the Deerfoot Trail in Calgary on Tuesday afternoon. The sign collapsed shortly after he passed under. He says he feels lucky to be alive.
Halifax graduates turn to the underground economy
By Veronica Simmonds
Jess Ross graduated from Dalhousie University in 2009, straight into one of the worst economies in a generation. Her degree in anthropology hardly made her a standout in a Halifax job market with an unemployment rate nearing 15 per cent.
“My only options were to go back to the job I didn’t want to go back to, work for a catering company, get a master’s degree, or just do something on my own. Which I guess was the moment I tapped into my entrepreneurial spirit,” she says.
She and some friends set up a farm stand on Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End neighbourhood and started selling her homemade, German-style bread. They conduct their business under the table, without concern for the legalities of zoning or taxation.
Female gamers face harassment and contempt online
Republished from Macleans.ca.
When Lianne Papp started playing shooter games like Counter-Strike online 12 years ago with complete strangers, she noticed something immediately: not only were the majority of those strangers men, but they really didn’t like playing with women. The 27-year-old game developer from Edmonton lists “Show me your t–s,” “I’ve got something for you to sit on” and the more traditional “Make me a sandwich” among the sexist remarks and obscenities she’s received as she played on the web. “Online gaming is plagued with juvenile gamers who sling insults at everyone they can,” she says, “but the harassment women have to deal with is seemingly worse.”
University students connect with their childhood entertainer
Emily Slofstra, 24, is one-fourth of the Tra La Las, a band of Wilfrid Laurier University graduates who sing about the environment, income inequality and police brutality. “One of our songs is called Harper is the Root of All Evil, if that gives you any indication,” says the Occupy supporter, who grows her own veggies on an urban farm.
The Tra La Las attend plenty of shows in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. But without exaggeration, Slofstra says 65-year-old children’s entertainer Fred Penner gave one of the best.
Like so many twentysomething Canadians, she grew up singing along to hits like Sandwiches and The Cat Came Back. Now the man who crawled through the log on CBC’s Fred Penner’s Place each weekday from 1985 to 1997 has made a comeback by playing for people who heartily embrace his messages of sharing and environmental respect.
What profs at 59 Canadian universities earned in 2010-11
Every student has heard at least one professor complain that he or she is overworked. At certain times, that’s no doubt true. But the annual Statistics Canada report on full-time faculty salaries shows that along with the big workloads come big salaries. The average full-time professor earned $115,513 in 2010-11. The average full-time employee in Canada earns just $50,000.
Does that mean we should all enroll in PhDs? Not exactly. The number of PhDs is increasing rapidly, while the number of professors hired in 2010-11 was up just 0.8 per cent over the year before. The professoriate is graying: the average age is 50.
Students can’t blame tuition fees for low enrolment
Clearly, 1969 was a great year to be going to university in Quebec. The province was in the process of detaching itself from its church-dominated past, priming the demand for an educated class. Prospective university students could also take heart in knowing that, because of a tuition freeze that year, they would pay $500 a year throughout their studies.
Having been in effect for 32 of the past 43 years, the tuition freeze has been as enduring as it is economical. As a result, students today are getting an even better bargain than their forebears. A Quebec resident attending university today pays $1,968 a year—or just $311 in 1969 dollars. And as the months-long student boycott of universities across the province shows, low tuition is something of a sacred cow here, like cheap electricity and beer at the dépanneur. The student movement says the provincial government’s plans to increase tuition to $3,793 will hinder access to higher education.