askastudent

your student life specialists

Archive for the ‘studying’

Jan18

6 responses + a rant

Hey Aska! I’m a Turkish student and I’m in grade 11. I’m filled with
so many questions because I whole-heartedly want to study at UofT. I
researched a lot of things and still have tons of questions. So yeah,
let me begin 😀

My first question is about admissions. With %86-87 average in grade 11
and %93-94 in grade 12, would I be able to get into mechanical
engineering? (Also consider that I have decent SAT scores ad medium-
to-decent extracurriculars.) I really want to know if I even have a
chance.

+What about scholarships?

+Does Innis collage and UC require anything when applying? (I know
that Innis should be ranked 1st if you wanna be accepted there.) Which
has a better community in your opinion? And which should I choose as a
newcomer?

+Is it that hard to get good grades at UofT? I personally love
studying but I don’t know if I’ll be overwhelmed.

+Are international students treated differently really?

+What are the parties like?

+It is a very big school, will I be able to form close relationships?
If so, how?

Thank you soooo much in advance, and sorry for mixed questions. I
sincerely hope that I can be a part of the community. Take care!

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hello!

first of all, you’re adorable and i love your enthusiasm. you’ve asked a lot of good questions and i commend you for taking the initiative to reach out so early! this is probably the longest post i’ve ever written so bear with me.

on getting accepted into mechanical engineering

at this point in time, the website says that you need a mid 80’s average to get into the mechanical engineering program, but it would be best to check the updated average when you actually apply in 2 years. engineering programs are competitive and it is very likely that these averages will change by the time you apply, since they tend to fluctuate from year to year.

with your awesome grades, you definitely have a chance of getting into the mechanical engineering program, but keep in mind that this is just a general cut-off guideline for this year’s applicants. by saying you have a chance of getting in, i’m not saying you will get in.

on scholarships

scholarships are described at length in this link where you will also see a complete listing of all the scholarships available at u of t. keep in mind, since you will be an international student, you will only be eligible for a small number of scholarships. if you scroll to the listings at the bottom of the page, under availability, if there is a blank in the column instead of the words “domestic students”, that means international students are eligible. there are also admission scholarships (which you are eligible for, yay!) which you will automatically be considered for when you are admitted to the school.

on UC and innis

university college is large and old whereas innis is small and new. to get into innis, you are absolutely right, you do need to rank it first (good job!) but UC does not require you to rank them first. innis requires you to rank them first mostly because they are so small in size and very popular.

which one to pick? that’s the ultimate question. there are many factors that you should consider, for example: are you going to be living in residence? what kind of residence style are you looking for? do you want to be part of a big college or a small college?

i’m not exactly allowed to tell you which one i like more (and believe me, there is one) because i’d probably get destroyed, and it’s really up to you to do your own research and decide which one is better for you. i can provide you with the resources, but the rest is entirely up to you.

on getting good marks

is it hard to get good marks at U of T? yes. very hard. i have yet to get good grades at U of T. don’t slack off, study hard, and go to class. i made the mistake of not doing any of those three things in my first three and a half years and have paid dearly (emotionally and monetarily). we have a scary reputation for a reason. if you’re thinking of coming here, be ready to work your ass off.

on the treatment of international students

*disclaimer* aska rant on international student culture and discrimination

i thought a lot about how to answer your question about the treatment of international students. on one hand, i wanted to answer: international students aren’t treated differently! it’s love love love all around! but i would be lying. the aska motto is to deliver the cold, hard truth, so here goes: (it might seem a little controversial and blunt, but that’s askastudent for ya!)

international students are treated in the same way they treat other people. as i’m sure is common at every university, there are groups that i will refer to as ‘cultural cliques’. cultural cliques are groups of students who stick together because they come from the same culture, usually when english is not their first language. i’m not saying this is a bad thing. it’s actually great that these students can find friends who speak a common tongue! how awesome! however, sometimes, students will ignore everyone else outside their clique and as as a result, they get ignored back. this is perfectly fine if neither groups want to mix and mingle, but it does sometimes result in some differential treatment. the most common thing i see is people getting mad about international students speaking their native tongue instead of english.

as someone who was not born in canada and can speak a second language, i can sympathize with both sides of the story. an international student might have a difficult time with english and find it easier to communicate in another language, yet a domestic student, might find it rude that other students are speaking in foreign language. often, this stems from the domestic student’s insecurity that the international student might be crap-talking them in a different language. of course, this isn’t always the case, but it does happen! heck, it’s happened to me before! someone tried bad-mouthing me when they thought i didn’t understand the language. well, joke was on them!

many will also argue: “you’re in canada! speak english!” but this argument isn’t exactly valid. i’m sure lots of people who go to countries like japan don’t spend years learning japanese before they decide to go. canada is known as one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and it’s truly unfortunate that not all cultures are as widely accepted as canadian culture.

bottom line, discrimination can happen, but i guarantee that it won’t happen if you treat people like you want to be treated. my advice to you is to keep an open-mind. be friendly and warm to people if you want them to be friendly and warm to you. if you find people from turkey at U of T that you want to be friends with, that’s awesome. if you want to form a turkish clique, even better! make the most of your university life and spend it with people you care about.

*aska rant over*

on partying

i’m not much of a partier, so i can’t reveal too many juicy details about that. just based on the parties i’ve been to, they can definitely get pretty rowdy at times, but also be super lame. a gathering of people involving beverages and loud music usually constitutes a party at U of T, and i imagine, everywhere else! sometimes there’s dancing and sometimes there are games. sometimes ambulances are called, and sometimes the paramedics get a night off. sometimes people fall asleep and sometimes people stay up all night. hope that answers your question!

on forming close relationships

i have hit the 1300 word count so i think it’s safe to say that we, in some way, shape or form, have formed somewhat of a close relationship. U of T is ginormous. you are again, absolutely right.

you can definitely form close relationships at U of T. in addition to studying your ass off, you should be making time for late night mcdonald’s runs, jam sessions and spontaneous city explorations along with friends. again, treating people like you want to be treated applies here. treat someone like a friend and chance are, they’ll treat you like a friend and then BOOM! you’ll have a friend. that’s how you make friends. how nice. you’ll meet people in your classes, in residences, and at various events on/ off campus! everyone else will be looking to make friends as well, so don’t sweat it. some of my closest friends have been people i met at school, so you’ll be fine. trust me.

did i answer all your questions? if not, comment below and i’ll do my best to get back to you.

good luck, chill out, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

peace and love,

aska

Oct07

nom nom nom

Are there places on campus where I can plug in my laptop and also eat my lunch? I don’t wanna get caught being sneaky in the libraries!

———————————————

hey there,

fun fact: Kelly Library is the only library on campus where you’re allowed to eat, so if you find yourself on the east side of campus, you could go there! there are also outlets available by study tables- though there’s sometimes a bit of a battle for them around midterm time.

there are also barstool-type things at Robarts that have outlets on the counter. you can grab food from the food court, park yourself on one of those high chairs, and you’re all set for food and power.

the Bahen Centre has a similar setup, with a row of stools and a counter that has outlets. you can grab food from The Cube and sit there until your next linear algebra class or whatever.

finally, the Exchange in the Rotman building has outlets, tables and food – the holy trifecta.

happy eating and interneting!

aska

Dec04

how 2 study for exams

it seems like it’s always the time of year when everyone’s saying “it’s that time of year again!” exams never really go away, do they? even when they’re not happening, you still carry around the weight of them somewhere deep in your soul.

that’s why people have exam nightmares up until the age of like 90 or whatever. they let exams seep into their very bones, like a coca-cola?stain in a carpet. that stuff’ll never wash out.

since exams are going to happen whether we want them to or not, here are some tips about how to get through the exam period alive. last year askastudent released this monolith of text?which is all about study tips. this year, i thought i’d write a follow-up of EVEN MORE HELPFUL tips. because the second time has always got to be BIGGER and BETTER, or so my friends in marketing keep telling me.

TIP #1: SELF CARE.

uoft has really tried to emphasize self care recently. i think that’s great. it’s important to take a break from studying so that you can feel energized when you get back to it. whatever you can do to de-stress is great. for example, there were recently therapy dogs at Sid Smith for people to cuddle and play with.

i’m fatally allergic to dogs, so a CUTE TWIST on the therapy dog idea for myself, personally, is to go to one of these student spaces that are suddenly filled with dogs, stick my face into one of the puppy’s faces until it licks me, and then DIE.

then, all i have to do is fill out a verification of illness and injury form, and i don’t have to write my exams! hashtag use your resources.

TIP #2: CALL YOUR FRIEND WHO IS NO LONGER AND SCHOOL AND DOES NOT CARE TO COMPLAIN

“hey, madison? what’s up? *sniffle*”

“oh, nothing much, i just finished a 17-hour shift at work and i am absolutely exhausted. i had to get off the subway a stop early ’cause this guy was rubbing himself up against me. now i have to walk two blocks extra before i get home. i can’t feel my legs. my rent is due in two days and i don’t know how i’m gonna get the last $150 together because my roommate moved back to texas with her ex-boyfriend. i don’t even remember the name of the last guy who didn’t call me. anyway, what’s up with you?”

“oh, i just…i’m just kinda stressed with…you know, exams and stuff…”

“dude. i may have to sell my kidney to pay rent. you live with your parents. you’re studying instead of working at a horrible job you hate. you can buy food using OSAP money. stop complaining and get back to studying.”

“o-okay…love you, madison.”

“don’t call me again. i may not be able to pay my phone bill.”

TIP #3: CRY

here is my personal playlist of songs to cry to around exams!

1. American Idiot, by Green Day

2. Idiot, by Coldplay

3. Dumb All Over, by Frank Zappa

4. Dumb, by Jason DeRoulo

5. Tonight I Wanna Cry, by Keith Urban

TIP #4: GO INTO A CAFFEINE-INDUCED FRENZY 24 HOURS BEFORE THE EXAM. STUDY WITHOUT SLEEPING. STUDY SO HARD YOU GO A BIT CROSS-EYED. STUDY UNTIL YOUR EYEBROW STARTS TWITCHING. KEEP STUDYING EVEN AFTER YOUR EYEBROW FALLS OFF AND LIES IN SPASM ON THE FLOOR. GO INTO YOUR EXAM THE NEXT DAY WITHOUT SLEEPING. WRITE FOR THREE HOURS AS THE WALLS OF THE EXAM HALL CURVE?INTO YOU LIKE BENDY STRAWS. DON’T REALLY REMEMBER HOW YOU GET HOME. SLEEP FOR FIFTEEN HOURS INSTEAD OF PREPPING FOR THE NEXT ONE.

and those are aska’s four TOP TIPS about how to prepare for your exams! tweet me @askastudentuoft letting me know how YOU study for exams!

xoxo,

aska

Dec05

aska’s study guide wow amazing

hey there,

so you’ve come here to read up on something. who knows why? maybe i just answered your question and you’re reading my BRILLIANT INSIGHT. maybe you’ve come to leave an angry comment about how my advice is ALL WRONG on a certain post (which you definitely should do. i mean, i’m wrong a lot. it would be cruel of you to let me bumble through the world without helping me out a little). maybe – and this is probably the reason – you’re just procrastinating.

whatever it was that brought you here, you’re here now, and i appreciate that. it makes me feel warm inside, having us this close. i like it when we’re close. shall we just cuddle a little? can i…oh my god, i’m so sorry. are you uncomfortable? did i…yeah, for sure. of course i can stop breathing on your neck. no, i’m not offended. don’t worry about it. i’ll just…shall i just step away? yeah. okay.

anyway. the reason i’m writing this is not because i think that you don’t know how to study, or that i know how to study better than you. it’s just that i sometimes do some unusual things in order to study, and maybe you’ll feel like trying one or two of those as you prepare for exams. try something new. whatever. it’s just a bit of fun, okay?

it’s not fun, is it? you’re bored already. whatever. i don’t need you. YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM.

so here we go. aska’s list of things she does to study:

1. firstly, how i study for an exam depends on what kind of course i’m taking. if the course is problem-based, like a math or chem course, my studying is based exclusively on doing problems. i redo problems in the textbook/reader, i redo problems on assignments, i redo my midterms, and i do practise exams/tests if they’re available.

i think a lot of people make the mistake of just trying to memorize formulas. that’s never worked in my experience, because just knowing the equation isn’t going to do you any good. if you do enough problems, you’ll learn the formula, believe me, AND you’ll also know what to do with it.

2. ?when it comes to courses that are knowledge- instead of problem-based – biology, history, political science, what have you – i have to go at it from a different angle. what i do – and this is the only way i’ve ever studied for these kinds of classes, ever since grade 9 – is type out my notes, colour-code them, and then memorize them, page by page. there are several benefits to this:

–> 1) writing out your notes forces you to read them word-for-word at least once. even if you’ve got your music in and seem to just be typing on autopilot, like i tend to do, you’re still reading them a little bit, and that helps you learn them, even if it doesn’t feel like it. trust me.

–> 2) colour-coding has the benefit of being fun (yes it is fun shut up ok i was an indoors kinda kid), which gives you a nice break from the monotony of typing out notes, and also it makes the notes wayyy easier to read when you’re actually studying them. what’s that? you want to hear what ALL MY COLOURS stand for??? well, if you insist (note: i’m a synesthete, so don’t challenge me on these colours ok?).

– Pink: numbers or dates

– Orange: proper nouns (like, historical figures or places)

– Blue: quotations (i’m an English student so i have a lot of stuff in blue)

– Yellow: general other important info

–> 3) memorization. now, this is the one that people may object to. “oh, memorizing is so shallow, it doesn’t let you REALLY UNDERSTAND.” look, you have to know the stuff to understand it, kay? once it’s all in your head, you can reflect on it and make brilliant extrapolations on the exam. but first, memorize. i don’t care what you think. i’ll stand by it.

that said, memorizing is hard as f*%#. what i like to do, whenever possible, is find an empty classroom with a blackboard during exam time, make sure no one’s using it, and then try to write out my notes from memory on the blackboard. if you can copy out your notes verbatim without looking at them, you’re doing great. also, writing on a blackboard is fun, so you won’t get too bored.

if you’re more of an aural person (or if there’s no blackboard available), i find that saying your notes aloud – ideally to another person who can correct you if need be – is also really helpful. at this point i should probably give a shout-out to my long-suffering sister for listening to me babble on about every subject under the sun for innumerable exams.

so those are my MO’s for how i study. then there’s all that extra stuff about being in the right frame of mind to study, etc. etc. like i said, this isn’t for everyone, but these are some of the things i do.

3. i always shower before studying. it just makes me feel refreshed, y’know?

4. i usually have music on in the background. if you can buy (definitely don’t download illegally no that would be very bad and wrong) an entire soundtrack for a movie, something that lasts a couple of hours, that’s the best, because you won’t get distracted by picking the next song every three minutes.

5. this one’s really subjective but: i never study around people. study groups? no. even if the people are really work-oriented. careful memorization and problem-solving just doesn’t work in a group. besides, you do your exams on your own, so study on your own.

6. working out before studying is good for clearing your head. it also makes you feel more inclined to study, because at least you’re not on that DAMN TREADMILL ANY MORE.

7. i usually study for exams in like six to ten hour blocks, so i find that a couple of twenty-minute naps within those keeps me from going crazy.

8. i almost always study right up until i have to go to bed. i find that sleeping on everything you’ve studied really helps cement it in your mind.

9. FINALLY, don’t let yourself get caught up in worrying about marks and how well you’ll do on the exam and stuff. that’s just a waste of nervous energy, and if you do badly, it’s never the end of the world. so do your heart a favour and don’t freak out, ’cause all that adrenaline isn’t good for ya.

so i hope that was at least mildly interesting/helpful. please let me know in comments how you study. i mean, i probably won’t follow your advice because i’m too grouchy and set in my ways, but it’ll be cool to hear! and you could help out each other! wow. doesn’t that sound great? (also you can tweet @askastudentUofT with your studying tips holla that might be cool).

xoxo and good luck studying,

aska

Jun13

places to study past the ttc on the way to your exam

Aska,

Where are the top 5 best places to study on campus EXCLUDING Robarts!

Thanks!

———————————————

Yo yo

Am I right to assume that somebody has exams coming up?

Anyhow, thanks for the question. I quite like this question. 😀

So here are aska’s five favourite places to study on campus in no particular order.

5) St. Mike’s, the coop — I wrote like four essays here and studied for a couple of exams. Now what I like about the coop is the lack of total silence. So if you’re a person who needs a liiiiittle bit of buzz around them to study, this place works. It’s essentially a large empty room with giant windows for two of the walls so there’s a lot of natural light. I suppose that can be a little distracting though if you’re the kind of person who needs to raise their head every time someone walks by…

Also, there’s a Tims just down the street on Bay, and a sushi place I like to frequent just on Charles St. But yeah since it’s not exactly a “legit” study space, there aren’t many tables/chairs. I’d say that’s the only drawback. I mean there’s a sweet vending machine right outside to fulfill your Frito fix.

4) Gerstein — I have a special place in my heart for Gerstein. It was the first library I ever sat around in while waiting to pass that boring one hour between Narrative and Intro to Sociology at con hall. I always liked the spot towards the end where there are bunch of windows so you can look out at the trees. (As an aside, this post is making me realize my weird love of windows.) Granted, I think something was wonky with my laptop at the time because then, for whatever reason, I just could noooot get wifi — or like, it kept going in and out until I got fed up and went to medsci.

But aside from that spot, there’s also the room on the left-hand side. Um I think it was called the “reading room” or something like that, but yeah, it’s really pretty. Basically, it’s in the older part of the building. I like the quiet and the wide desks for my many disorganized papers.

3) Pratt Library, where the heck ever — This is the place to go if you want utmost silence. Seriously. If you go to Pratt and like… cough, prepare to be on the receiving end of some dirty looks unless you’re in that open area on the bottom floor. But once you pass through the glass doors, it’s nice and quiet, assuming that’s what you’re looking for.

For starters, there’s the bottom floor. As you know from the past two places, I like giant walls of windows to fulfill my daily quota for people creeping. You can get a nice individual carrel here to sit quietly and work your butt off.

But if you’re too lazy to venture down the stairs, you can always stay on the main floor and go to that big room on the right-hand side. You can either use on the of the tables and spread your stuff all over even though you won’t use half of it (that’s how I get comfortable haha) or you can head past the shelves and hope there’s an empty little nook in the wall. I’d say the only downside of those spots is that sweet baby Jesus, the lights there are reaaaaaally bright. Granted, I tend to go to the library like first thing in the morning… hm.

2) Munk Centre — It’s just so pretty. And serene. And pretty. Did I mention pretty? Now it’s soooort of gated off so I’m not particularly sure who gets access to it, but I know I did for the past semester because I had a class there. Granted, said class required me “signing in,” but for the most part… if you must “sneak in,” just don’t look sketchy and all should be fine. But yeah, it’s just so lovely.

This particular place is an outdoors one. So if it’s a warm April — which I suppose we haven’t had in a while — or you just want to do some reading in September, or heck, you just have summer classes, this place is nice. I like the sound of the water from the fountains just drowning out the zooming cars on Hoskin and the construction on Devonshire.

But yeah, like I said, this place’s perfection totally just relies on the weather sooooo.

1) Innis College, third floor carrels — This would have to be my favourite place if I had to pick anything on the west end of campus. I’ve spent the past three years heading here between classes just because I find it to be incredibly overlooked!

Now it’s a liiiiittle quiet, but for the most part, I tend to listen music anyway. You get a large carrel all to yourself, a nicely padded spinny wheely chair, and best of all, diiim liiiights. I think my favourite part of the place has to be the dim lights. It’s just such a cozy place. I suppose its downside is the fact that said coziness also makes you want to fall asleep. Then downstairs, there’s the Innis Cafe with its delicious chicken kebabs and fresh orange juice.

And there you have it — aska’s five favourite study nooks on campus. Or well, some of them.

There are a lot more like the little roomie things around the staircase at the Bahen Centre, the fifth floor of Robarts (granted, you said no Robarts), the grass outside of Robarts by Sussex and Huron, second floor of Kelly Library, Wymilwood Cafe at not-lunch hours, and so on.

It’s kind of hard to tell YOU where to study since finding that perfect spot comes with soooo many factors.

Where is the nearest bathroom? How quiet is it there on a scale of Pratt lower level to Kelly Cafe in the day time? Can I eat there? Is there any coffee shop/machine/whatever around? Are we allowed to talk? What are the chairs like? How big are the desks? Outlets? Good wifi connection? Lighting? Temperature? What part of campus? Blah blah blah.

There’s just so much to consider!

But or some other ideas, take a look at this three part post by Life @ UofT on “the best quiet spots on campus“! They have a loooot to look at so I’m sure that’ll be helpful too.

hoping you find the perfect spot,
aska

Mar02

i … oh wait… have…. uhh … procrastinating issues

Hey aska!
Ok, so I basically go to utm, and ummm I really don’t know how to ask this because I know a lot of people read this lol. Ok, so my problem is CHRONIC procrastination.So far I’ve considered admitting myself into a mental asylum to talking to a psychiatrist to dropping out. I’m actually procrastinating while I’m writing this hahaha, so I really need help. I really want to change…but I just don’t know how, and I’ve already dropped a full year course and I’m getting a 2.7 gpa at the moment. Somehow I always end up procrastinating and leaving things off by using facebook or doing something else on the net and I always feel like I don’t have time (that’s probably because of the 4 hours of commuting each day). I really don’t want to risk what I otherwise would have learned or the marks that I could have got if I was actually learning.
Thanks soooo much in advance 🙂
A faithful aska fan

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Sorry it took my so long to respond, I was procrastinating.

Is this a new found procrastinating skill or have you always had this trouble. Personally I sometimes find myself watching entire seasons of Six Feet Under before even looking at the essay due the next day.

As it is always more fun to blame our flaws on medical reasoning, I’m going to suggest going in and talking with a doctor.

Upon analyzing my medical journals (House and wrongdiagnosis.com) here are some possible medical reasoning behind your distractions:

– Stroke

– Brain Tumour

-Epilepsy

– Alcohol Overdose (most likely)

– ADD (second most likely)

Honestly, there is no easy way to stop procrastinating. You are just going to have to start forcing yourself to do your work. I would suggest giving yourself an award for every hour you steadily work. Think shots, dance party, booty call …what ever makes you happy.

forever and always,

aska

Feb14

a neuroscience love/hate relationship

Hey there,

I am in my second year and I am taking HMB200 for this winter semester. It is a required course for my Neurosciece Specialist program. My question is how to study for the mid-term?? The midterms and the finals are all short-answers questions with an essay question (2 essays for the final) and there is so much physiology involved. I really love neuroscience but as it turns out this is not the only course I am taking!!! The bulk of material that needs to be memorized is just very overwhelming!!
Do you have any advice on how I can go about to prepare for this course and gain the most out of it?

Thanks
neuropsycho

———————————————

Hey neuropsycho,

This seems like one of those situations when you should just study a bit everyday. Review the terms and definitions frequently, so when it comes down to studying you’ve kind of already started. Yeah yeah I know this is easier said then done. Personally I find using colourful markers helps to focus my thoughts, coffee, reviewing material with buddies (think turning memorizing facts into a game show) and romps in the stacks as a study break.

Check the old exam repository and see if you can find your exam and use it as a practice after you’ve studied.

For the essay question I would suggest looking at reoccuring and connecting themes. If there is a certain section that you have spent a lot of time on or a point that the professor emphasizes over and over, there is a good chance that an essay question could be made out of it. This way you can start outlying important points and evidnece to support them and be prepared for that section.

Hopefully this helps a bit!

love always,
aska

Apr27

tips for “full-assing” your work

Hey, I don’t go to the University of Toronto, I am still in high-school at Northern Secondary school, but my question is beyond general, so maybe you can help anyway. Ever since I can remember, I have had difficulty handing assignments in on time, but lately its gotten exceedingly worse. Things have gotten to the point where that majority of my assignments are either late, or are not handed in at all. On top of this, almost all of my on time work is “half assed” and done the night before. This results in screwed up sleep patterns, lack of concentration in class, and constant stress. To make matters worse, the assignments I actually get in are usually high eighties to mid nineties, so my parents push me extra hard to replicate it. I am also a member of a band, and have been having difficulty balancing the two. On one hand, I know that school should always be my priority, and on the other, I don’t want to become that band member who’s always the one who has to be caught up to speed. As I type this message I have a major assignment half a week over due, two presentations coming up, a DBQ due for American History, and months overdue annotated bibliographies and one Thesis statement, also for american history. What do you suggest?

—————————————————-

I’m glad you asked me that question, despite the fact you’re not from UofT. I’m guessing you were probably procrastinating on Google and stumbled upon this site and, dazzled by my beauty, decided to reach out to me.

Anyway, I don’t think there are any concrete solutions to your problem, but here are some suggestions.

1) Take a step back. With your extra-curricular activities and schoolwork, there seems to be a lot on your plate. Is it possible that you’re overloading yourself with work, and are feeling stressed out as a result? When I was in first year, I undertook a highly ambitious schedule: I took 6 courses, had almost 30 hours of classes (that’s a lot for a University student), and was an executive member in a choir. Though I was pushing myself more than I had ever before, this exotic blend of courses and extra-curricular activities left me more unmotivated than I had ever felt in my whole life. Plus, I had no time for social or family life. So, I think you should ask yourself: are my current goals realistic? Would cutting back a course or two help? There are times when school life will have to be compromised, and times you’re your social life will have to be compromised. Only you alone know where your priorities lie and what you value.

2) Set goals. One thing I learned this year is that it is really important to set goals for yourself. Keeping a calendar/agenda and marking down the due dates of your assignments might help you plan your best mode of attack on your pile of work. Try to set more goals for yourself, and do your best to see them through. Be systematic. Perhaps you could set aside hours in which you will concentrate only on your homework, and nothing else. Also, I know it’s probably difficult to catch up now, but I think you really have to work really hard to meet deadlines. Once you miss one deadline, it?s very easy to start thinking that it’s okay to miss another deadline, and another, until you barely even care about when assignments are due anymore (*insert ‘once the ball gets rolling’ cliche here*).

3) Sleep. Tell yourself, “I’m going to try to sleep at 12 am every night this week”, and actually stick to it. It might sound silly, but a regular sleeping schedule REALLY does help. Take it from me. Last year, I constantly slept at 2 am or later; this year, I made it a goal to sleep every night at 12 am, and I felt so much more concentrated, and so much less stressed. Health is of utmost importance, and school shouldn’t compromise that.

4) Seek help. Emailing me was a great first step. Is there anyone else you can talk to? Counselors at school? Teachers? Parents? Siblings? Don’t think, “Why would I do that?”, because that’s your ego talking. There’s nothing wrong about seeking help. In fact, I think it’s very important to talk to others, because it challenges your own perspective, and if you don’t challenge your perspective, you’ll never change.

To top this post off, here’s a link to some tips from the academic success centre at UofT, and here’s a nice Aqua song with a nonsensical music video that has nothing to do with this post. Enjoy.

Feb16

mirror, mirror on the wall…

Hi, simple question which may or may not make sense to ask.

I’m borderline passing 2 courses only out of horrible work ethic which until now I didn’t know I had. However I’m too lazy to fail so I do plan to bounce back. Basically lets just? say I got 55% on 2 term tests so far for each course, what are my chances of passing with a B in general if I was to, let us assume, ace the next term test and final? Or, an A? I’m aware there are course factors but just in general, would you consider it possible, and how possible? Basically, have I already screwed myself over completely or not?

Thanks

—————————————————-

You know, you really haven?t given me enough information here. How much are each of the tests worth? If your tests were worth 10% each, then sure, it?s definitely possible to pull up your mark. If your tests were worth, say, 30% each, then it would probably be mathematically impossible to achieve an A.

The real issue herehttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bOFhWdGnm_A/R4fgAu-tvyI/AAAAAAAAAQg/zJYDWszx74c/s320/magic_mirror_on_the_wall.jpg though (in my opinion) isn?t really whether or not it is mathematically possible to pull up your mark. I think you really have to reflect on what?s happened so far and ask yourself why you have been getting these marks. It?s easy to say ?I?ve been lazy, so I?ll work harder in the future and get better grades?, and I?ve heard many a student say that. But realistically, students rarely go from D’s to A’s in a short period of time. I really think you have to go one step further and ask yourself what you can do to turn things around.

If you?re a first year student, is it because you?re having a difficult time adjusting to the fast pace of University courses? One of the things that people often say about University courses is that unlike high school courses you have to not only know the material, but you have to understand it well. You have to practise a lot and develop intuition for it. If your low marks are because you haven?t been understanding the course material well, can you do something to change that? For instance, perhaps you could start doing more practice exercises. Also, it might be a good idea to set up an appointment with your professors (be polite!), tell them frankly that you haven?t been doing well in their courses, and kindly ask them what they think you could do to improve.

If you don?t think that?s the problem you have, then is it because you?re not getting enough out of lectures? If that?s the case, how about seeking out a note-taking workshop from the Academic Success Centre?

If all else fails, you can always drop the courses and make them up in the summer, but heads up ? 1) not all courses are offered in the summer, and 2) you?ll still need to find some way to improve your work ethic, because summer courses are quite demanding. The deadline for dropping courses without academic penalty is March 7th, but be sure to make an appointment with your college?s academic advisor before you do anything hasty.

Well, that?s my advice to you, really: take initiative, and don?t be afraid to use the resources that you?re entitled to, as a University of Toronto student (your professors, your academic advisors, the success centre, ?).

Feb09

fear of commitment

Stupid UofT is having its way on me at my back, in the tests. I seriously think I did study a hell lot but I still can’t stop its violence. It’s not happening only once or twice, it’s now a habit. What can I do? Should I suicide?
(more…)

Feb02

i love libraries?

My friend and I are looking for some study space, something with a WINDOW where we can talk, good lighting, that’s kind of secluded, with a desk and a table, and possibly comfy chairs.
Does such a place exist?
We’ve looked into Hart House, the Map Room, but the chairs were too comfortable. Can you recommend some nice study space that isn’t too prison-like? (WINDOWS PLEASE!)
(more…)

May23

I’m too young to study

Hi: Hopefully with this stressful time upon us, you can help me. First of all, I am 40 years old and a first year undergrad student. There’s problem number 1 already! I have a hard time memorizing stuff and thankfully I only took one course this year, but it happens to be Intro. to Anthropology. My question… how in the world can I be expected to remember 8 months of lectures and notes for my exam next week? I’ve pretty much taken the year fine, my tests, although have not been that great, at least I’ve passed them. I did get 88% on my first university essay so I am pleased with that. Despite buying a new home, having my oldest daugther quit university and move to Montreal, life is pretty much stressfree! Right! So you can see my problem; an older student, who is married with 2 kids, and she is trying to do what she should have started 23 years ago! Any suggestions on how to study without pulling any allnighters, would be very much appreciated! Thanks guys!
(more…)

Jan17

learning to study on the train

I travel 2.5hrs each day to and from school. When I get home am really tired and I just want to sleep. How do I find time to study? (more…)

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