To say it’s only been a while is only going to bend the facts to make this whole thing look less bad! But honestly, I could not find time to breathe, much less write… but believe me, there were numerous times when I wanted to blog, but really couldn’t! It felt as though quizzes, homework, midterms, projects, etc. were just lining up in my life, demanded to be tended to one followed by another! I actually had to keep another blog for school, which wasn’t very fun since we had to blog on articles…
Anyways, let me just fill in the blanks. Some of you already know that I started my first year in university…and I guess today marks the first day I’m free from classes! I survived first term! However, this break I’m having right now is supposed to be studying for my finals, and God knows I’m looking forward to those. I decided I’m going to talk about what I learned in university, hoping it will help those of you going into it.
1) No more time!
One of the things I noticed most was the lack of time I was left with. As I said earlier, work just kept coming, and of course, not wanting to fail, I had to tackle them. I found it hard to balance seeing friends with seeing family, while getting my work done! The weekend flies by faster than ever, and it is during weekends when profs assign regular homework, usually due some day next week. So you end up doing homework during the weekends, or studying for some midterm.
Oh yeah, talking about midterms…they don’t actually occur in the middle of your term. Honestly, I have had three midterms for a class, and averaging on two for most of my other ones. So really, it should be called a biweekly exam or something. =.=
3) Space out your classes!
One of my biggest mistakes was taking 6 courses in one term. I had to take a total of 10 this academic year, and somehow, I scheduled six into my first term at university. Of course, if you’re going into engineering or something, six is perfectly normal. But, when everyone around me was juggling five, I found it super hard to keep all my marks up for the six I was doing! So please, spread out your timetable! You, and your marks, will thank you for it! And also, I didn’t really have breaks between a majority of my classes, and it turns out that certain classes were really far away from each other. Oh well, I got to work out and run to my classes like a madwoman.
4) Your professors
Dear university teachers,
I don’t call you “professor” out of respect. I do it because it makes me feel like I’m in Harry Potter.
-Sincerely, University Student.
What you will learn real quick is that with 300 students to a class, your professor will not be there to baby you like your teachers did in high school. Didn’t do your homework? They really don’t care. At times, I wondered why I was paying them to only get a hour or so of plain talking, mostly about stuff I can read on my own…but you learn that that’s university. However, having said that, they usually have office hours when you can go visit them—whether they’re there or not is another matter. You really have to learn to fend for yourself and go seek for what other resources there are that can help you. At UBC, there’s free tutors and help, but don’t forget you also have friends who probably understood he material better than you! Oh and there’s TAs, but of course, as Professor Gateman kindly points out, TAs are only students, so teaching-wise, they’re not overly experienced.
You know when you’re feeling down, or just plain bad, and then you really start to see the people around you? I guess it’s not just in university that this happens, but for me, there was a period during my first term when I truly was depressed. There were some people who were there, some who didn’t, even if I really needed it. Of course, I’m not holding it against them or anything, because it is no one’s obligation, but for those who were there, you guys truly made life livable. Looking back, I still remember being depressed, and I hope I don’t go through it again. But again, make friends because then you can have someone to catch you up with stuff you missed in class, teach you material, or just plain be there for you to talk!
6) Commuting…Ohhh TransLink.
I guess commuting wasn’t that bad, especially since I get rides to school in the morning. But, when you really want to return home after a long day, the bus ride seems forever. I takes me around an hour to get home, and since I can’t really read or do anything productive on the bus, I just have to find some way to get through it. I’ve seen lots of people sleeping on the bus, and I have wanted to do it countless times. But I’ve always been too worried about missing my stop, so I end up just staying awake. I recommend you find something you can do on the bus, so that you’re not wasting time. For me, though I can’t read textbooks, I can read novels, or something that I really get into. I usually become so absorbed I don’t even realized I’m on the bus anymore. Then, I got a chance to escape and when I get home, I get down to work. Okay, I am not really that productive…but still, I get home and look back, I realize I did get a bit of time to relax on the bus.
If you want to avoid public transport, or money for gas, live on campus. But for me, it’s not really an option because I’d miss my family too much! And I feel like I’m already spending to little time with them. ☺
As you can see, I didn’t talk about how to study, but I believe that it depends on who you are. I have friends who study on campus, then return home when their work is done. I can only study in my room, which I learned in Psychology is bad. I need to study in a familiar environment or else I end up being low on productivity. But my studying habits have definitely changed from when I was in high school.
One last thing: Would I suggest buying a textbook?
I don’t like carrying my five hundred pound textbooks to school, especially when I’ll probably have to lug them around all day. (Well, I do have a locker, but the lack of breaks makes it impossible for me to retrieve stuff from it.) I really like my textbooks that come with an online version of the text, so I can simply read them on my MacBook. OH! And since we’re talking about MacBooks, it’s true that like 80% of the laptops I’ve seen in school are MacBooks.
Anyway, back on topic, I like studying off an actual book more than off a screen. But, there are some courses where the textbook really is unnecessary. If you feel like you’ll be studying the book a lot and constantly referring back to it, get it. If not, you can always purchase a cheaper online version of it..or attain in through other means 😉 and then read it on an e-reader.
I hope I’ll be blogging again soon! The holidays are right around the corner, so I’ll have more time!