Balance, General, Get involved, Student Life, Study

A Little Help Goes A Long Way

Confession time – I’m a third year student at UofT, and up until now, I haven’t really used any of the university services that were specifically designed to guide students towards academic success. It’s time to change that.

Growing up, I have always had the “I can do it myself” mentality. This attitude held me back from reaching out to university services. But recently, I came to a realization that I should have taken advantage of these services.

A picture of a small milk carton, with a large opening, because I opened it the wrong way.

I denied my friend’s offer to help me open this carton because “I could do it myself!” Clearly, I couldn’t.

So what led to this realization? This year, I am a peer mentor for the first year students in my discipline. As a mentor, it is my job to answer any general questions about our program and its courses, workload, and events. So far, my mentees have asked for advice on course selection strategies, tips on time- and workload- management, and they have even asked for recommendations on the best food places around campus.

A picture of a square Belgian waffle topped with chocolate ice-cream and strawberries

Speaking of best food places around campus, Wafflian is my favourite place to get waffles

What do all these have in common? These are all things I wish I had known in first year.

However, “first-year Slesha” didn’t sign up to get a mentor because she believed she could easily navigate university life on her own. Unsurprisingly, “first-year Slesha” was wrong. There are times when you may think you don’t need any help – and maybe, given enough time, you could figure things out on your own – but having help would certainly make your life much, much easier.

Take this analogy for example. Suppose you have to travel 5km to get from Point A to Point B and you can either walk or take a car. Technically, you could just walk there. However, walking becomes harder in the face of adversity (rain/heat/wind/etc.). What if you took a car? You’d get from Point A to Point B much faster and with significantly fewer hardships. Let’s look at that same analogy from a different angle. Point A is where you are today in your academic journey. Point B is where you want to be. The 5km journey is the progress you have to make to reach your goals. The car represents the services at UofT that were put in place to help you succeed by helping you overcome obstacles hindering your progress.

A picture of a car-side mirror during a sunset

Let UofT services be your “car” in the “journey” of reaching your goals.

My point? Having help enables you to reach your goals more efficiently.

With that said, I decided to take advantage of these services this year – but first, I researched what was available. To start off my research, I explored what the Academic Success Center (ASC) had to offer. Here are some of my findings:

  • Drop-In Hours at the ASC – The Academic Success Center is located in the Koffler Student Services Centre building at 214 College St. During drop-in hours, simply walk in and you can meet with a learning strategist. A learning strategist is a trained professional who provides you with individualized support; they help you understand your learning style and guide you towards the appropriate strategies to maximize your learning efficiency. Drop-in hours for this Fall semester are:
  • Book An Appointment with a Learning Strategist – To book a 50-minute one-on-one appointment with a learning strategist, you can:

These are just a few of the many services offered at UofT – you’ll have to conduct your own research to find the services most suitable/useful for you. I will be booking an appointment with a learning strategist very soon, so I’ll let you know how that goes. And remember, if you ever find yourself struggling, reach out to these services. They are there to help you!

 

Until next time,
Slesha