The Five Things I Learned In First Year

With finality, the 2017/2018 chapter comes to a close. My first year in post-secondary is over. Well, save for some exams. It’s said that first year is often the worst and the best, and there’s a lot of learning done in the first 8 months of university about our own personal tactics for academic success, and I can see how this is true.
The city of toronto skyline at sunset
Our beautiful city, with UofT at the heart of it, has really made my year more exciting.
In the beginning of the fall semester I possessed a lot of assumptions about what I had to do to get good grades, but as the assignments and tests passed by, my outlook and approaches changed with them. I’ve learned a few things about how I can start to be the best student possible, and feel I’ve grown as a person, which is exactly why I signed up for post-secondary. Here’s a list of the five things I’ve come to realize make me a better student:
  1. Take more notes on what the professor is saying, rather than what’s on the slides. In September, as soon as the Prof clicked that tiny button, my hands were on my keyboard firing away. Slowly I began to realize that every class I was in posted the class sides on blackboard right after, and that stressing over getting it all down was wasting my opportunity to receive some more clarification and important information that the prof was elaborating on out loud. Since I’ve started doing this, I find the terms and themes have begun to make more sense to me
  2. Make sure to have a snack every few hours. I learned this lesson the hard way. I figured I’d save more money if I just didn’t bother with food altogether during my days of multiple consecutive classes and just ate at home after. This did not work out, and I suffered the nauseous consequences of going all day without eating. For next semester, I’ve decided to start packing carrot sticks and crackers.
Winnie the Pooh saying "what could be more important than a little something to eat"
wise words from Winnie
3) Turn off your wifi in lectures. I noticed that when my wifi is on my laptop, I can’t resist the temptation to check my social media and end up taking in less of the lecture and writing fewer notes, which does not come in handy when it’s time to study for the midterm.                                                                                                              4) Work at your desk and sleep in your bed. This has something to do with the classic intro to psych unit on Pavlov and classical/operant conditioning. If you do homework in your bed, you’ll start associating the space with concentration on homework, and it will become more difficult to relax come bed time. Also, constantly doing homework at your desk will make it easier to get into the focused mind frame when it’s time to settle down for a good four hours. I've found this to actually work, and highly recommend it 5) The best way to study is with application questions. At least in my case, I find it much easier to retain information for an upcoming exam or assignment if I can find a way to apply it to my own life. Yes, I did also learn this in intro to Psych class. Understanding something in terms of real-life-context makes it much easier to store for later use. And that’s all I can think of for now, I hope they help you in some way! I’ve really enjoyed writing for this blog, have learned a lot about the amazing U of T community as a result and highly suggest doing this in the future to anyone who might be interested in applying next year. Good luck on exams everyone, and have a lovely summer. Robin Williams saying "Carpe diem. SEIZE the day. Make your lives extraordinary"

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