By Nick Clark
Hello everyone and welcome to Concordia University of Edmonton. I’m Nick Clark, the Editor-in-Chief of The Bolt: our student news publication. If you’re returning to Concordia this year, you probably know all about The Bolt and everything that’s going to be going on over the next while to kick off the year. If you’re new this year however, this issue is full of information for you!
As you’ve probably noticed, Concordia is a pretty small school (though it’s growing more every year), so whether you’re transferring from another institution or this is your first year of university, we have some tips to help you make the best of your time here.
At larger schools it can be easy to feel like you’re just a number or a face in the crowd of a lecture hall. The professor might not remember you from one day to the next and if you have questions, they can go unanswered sometimes. It’s not like that here.
My first piece of advice to you is to get to know your professors and let them get to know you. If they know who you are, what you’re like, and what it is you’re hoping to accomplish by coming to university, they can help you a lot more effectively than if they just have to guess. This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget the resources you have available to you when you’re already overwhelmed with assignments and homework to do.
My next suggestion is to evaluate your studying techniques as soon as possible. I know the way I studied in highschool certainly didn’t translate all that well to university classes when I first started, and it took me a while to figure out what the problem was; it wasn’t comprehension or volume of information, it was figuring out what to study in the first place. If you’re the same way I was, you may find this helpful: in class, don’t stress out over copying notes from the slides at the front of the room or rush to take down a professor’s words verbatim. That’s going to give you a lot of information that’s not only going to be difficult to remember but will also make it difficult to determine which parts were important. Instead, use your class time to listen carefully and think about what the important parts of the lecture are. As you get deeper into the year, you’ll start reviewing certain topics. Once you start reviewing, use your class time to make a note of the topics you know and the ones that need more work, then use that information to prioritize your study time later.
That’s a good segue into my next tip: READ AHEAD. If you can consistently know what’s coming up next in class and have a general handle on the subject before the professor begins to teach it, it will be a lot easier to keep up. You won’t have to scramble to take down little bits and pieces of information and you won’t be forced to stay up late every night playing catch up with the textbook. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of being able to say, “Yes I did the reading” when the professor asks. That will make them like you and that is something you definitely want.
Good relationships with your professors can help you a lot. It starts with getting to know them and continues with being a good student by keeping up with reading and putting in a worthy effort. How does it end though? It goes beyond trying to get your professors to like you so they’ll give you better grades. You might find that your teachers are very connected people, and if they see you as someone reliable, who works hard, and knows how to get along with others, their connections might become your connections, whether that be in the form of an internship, a foot in the door during an interview for a job, even a good letter of recommendation. Besides all that, getting along with people is a good way to go through life in general so try not to be too shy when you can, you never know who you’ll meet.
My final piece of advice comes to you from a great deal of my own personal experience. Eat lunch. This one is something I’m still working on. I don’t think I’ve eaten lunch at school in a year and a half and trust me when I say: food helps you stay awake! Coffee may be the water from the spring of life itself but its powers are limited when it comes to sustaining you for a whole day. Even a quick snack half way through your day will keep you from having your eyes glaze over during your last class and forgetting everything you talked about in it. You’ll probably find that you have a handful of professors that even don’t mind if you eat during class as long as you’re not disturbing anyone. That said, there’s always someone who shamelessly brings a tuna sandwich or a bucket of egg salad into class and forces everyone to endure it with them as soon as they crack the seal; don’t be that person if you can help it. Apples, oranges, bananas, and trail mix are your friend.
Well that’s about all I have to advise you on for the time being. I hope your first week goes well and that you have a great rest of the year to follow it up!
The Bolt releases a print edition bi-weekly so check back later in the month for the next issue. If you’re interested in writing for us, either send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know or fill out the form on the back page of this edition and bring it down to our office in L279 (that’s in the library).