All Posts Tagged With: "university success"
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.
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.
10 tips for university success from Prof. Todd Pettigrew
Across the country students have either just begun or are about to begin their first week of classes. If you are a first year student, it may be a surprise to you how fast things move at university. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can lay the groundwork for a successful semester in the very first week. Here are ten ways to do just that.
1. Make sure you’re in the right classes. Partly this means that you should make sure that when you tried to sign up for psychology, you didn’t actually sign up for physiology instead. Similarly, make sure that the course is what you think it is. I once had a friend who took a course called “The Art and Craft of History” and sat beside a confused kid who couldn’t understand why the prof wasn’t talking more about arts and crafts. Finally, make sure that the course is right for you. Many courses — such as language courses, for instance—expect a certain level of competence in the subject. Don’t fake it: you won’t make it.
Hippocrates offers students seven timeless truths
Recently I was reading a very old book, John Cotta’s Short Discovery (1612), and I came across a list, attributed to the ancient physician Hippocrates, of the things necessary for serious, advanced learning. I was particularly struck by the fact that though Hippocrates lived nearly two and a half millenia ago, his list still constitutes good advice for anyone who wants to make the most of a university education today. Hippocrates’ list is as follows: nature, precept, fit place for study, study, institution, industry, and time.
Nature, in this case, refers to the nature of the student. Before investing all the time and money and effort that university education requires, you should ask yourself if you are cut out for it. Do you really want to go? Are you really prepared for the long hours of work? Would you rather be doing something else? I often hear people lament that “people think everyone should go to university.” I don’t know what people they’re talking about. Not anyone who teaches at a university, that’s for sure. We know that lots of people should have thought twice.