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Feeling a bit,,,,overwhelmed?

A photo of missaudacious009 missaudacious009
I guess a with a few weeks to go before starting first year of university, I'm realizing I'm not really sure how to "prepare" for university, especially as far as what to expect academically. I know high school courses are supposed to prepare you for that, but I'm wondering what kind of assignments and stuff you get in university? Is it just essays? Is it alot of reading and tests?

(I'm worried about the essay part, because I did English 30 year before last - I feel a little rusty, so how helpful are those "writing centres" they have on campus?? :))

Any tips anyone, on the best way to prepare going into this?
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A photo of rldus921 rldus921
Hey! I know how you feel. I went through it last year. Now, it really depends on what faculty you're going into. If you're in Science, you will have exercises problems and labs to keep on top of. If you're in Arts, I really emphasize that you consistently keep up with your readings (there's lots) and make some side notes on the readings so that you have SOMETHING to refer to when preparing for exams. As for essays, start early and seriously plan and research. Don't be discouraged by your first essay mark though...just giving you heads-up. (Sorry don't know much about the other faculties too much.) Marks tend to drop compared to high school by they way, it's normal. Trust me, it's part of the experience.
As for the "writing centres", they're really helpful. For the one at Queen's, you have to book an appointment. They'll go over your papers, whether it's for chemistry or politics. It's also a really good idea to get your TA (teaching assistants, they generally organize the tutorials) to proof-read your essay. They will give you feedback. But the thing is, if you want to get all this help, you're going to have to finish your essay at least a week before the due date.
But as for going to university...it's a new experience. I remember asking university students about first-year when I was in grade 12. They couldn't really describe it. Sadly, neither can I. It's a blur, really. The key is to go in with an open-mind, but most of all, remember to have fun and try things that will scare you. (Yes, cliche...but so true!)
Hope that helps...
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A photo of missaudacious009 missaudacious009

@rldus921 wrote
Hey! I know how you feel. I went through it last year. Now, it really depends on what faculty you're going into. If you're in Science, you will have exercises problems and labs to keep on top of. If you're in Arts, I really emphasize that you consistently keep up with your readings (there's lots) and make some side notes on the readings so that you have SOMETHING to refer to when preparing for exams. As for essays, start early and seriously plan and research. Don't be discouraged by your first essay mark though...just giving you heads-up. (Sorry don't know much about the other faculties too much.) Marks tend to drop compared to high school by they way, it's normal. Trust me, it's part of the experience.
As for the "writing centres", they're really helpful. For the one at Queen's, you have to book an appointment. They'll go over your papers, whether it's for chemistry or politics. It's also a really good idea to get your TA (teaching assistants, they generally organize the tutorials) to proof-read your essay. They will give you feedback. But the thing is, if you want to get all this help, you're going to have to finish your essay at least a week before the due date.
But as for going to university...it's a new experience. I remember asking university students about first-year when I was in grade 12. They couldn't really describe it. Sadly, neither can I. It's a blur, really. The key is to go in with an open-mind, but most of all, remember to have fun and try things that will scare you. (Yes, cliche...but so true!)
Hope that helps...



Thank you!! - Yes, that was very helpful :) I think it helped me breath a little bit easier now
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I've done a year, and the best thing to do is to not fall behind (admittedly I did and paid for it). It's not like high school, where you can just cram right before exams, or get a top notch assignment result despite starting the night before. Don't think of time off lectures as free time - treat it like a 9-5 job, so maybe anytime you're not in lectures between 8.30 and 5 you're studying. It's not that much work, and then when you go back to residence/apartment/whatever, you're free to do what you want!

The uni student mantra is work hard, play hard. Study hard, and then enjoy all the stereotypes of what uni social life is like lol WOOOP
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A photo of CatRunner CatRunner
Definitely make use of whatever resources your university has: writing centres, study help, etc. Guelph has a special centre for first year students to help them adjust, as well as all kinds of resources on studying for different types of courses and different types of exams. If your university has those types of resources available, make use of them!

As others have said, the main thing you should focus on is not falling behind. Try not to leave your assignments, or your studying, to the last minute. Try to keep on top of everything, and have a schedule with things planned out, so that you are prepared for the "hell" week - when it seems like you have an exam or an assignment due in every single course.

As I first year student I would advise you to go to all your lectures. You will learn which you can skip and which you can attend, but I strongly suggest attending all of them. Even if the prof posts their full lecture notes online (and none of mine did) or if there are podcasts of the lectures (I didn't have any) GO TO CLASS. You can learn so much more from the prof in person than you can from notes. You can see when the prof is emphasizing a point. You will learn to pick up on their body language as to what they consider important. And you can bet if a prof mentions something several times, it is something important, and will probably show up on an assignment or exam. So pay attention.

If you can write fast enough, try to take notes the "old fashioned" way - by hand. There have been studies that show that we retain information far better when we write it down as opposed to typing it out. Also, if you don't have a laptop in class, you won't have the distractions of facebook, youtube, email, and other web sites. If you absolutely have to take notes on a computer, then focus on that, and not on anything else on your laptop.

Also, try to get enough sleep (which can be hard) and try to do some sort of physical activity - whether it is going to the gym, taking a fitness class, going for a walk or run, participating in intramurals, etc. Doing something active will help you have more energy overall, and you will want it!

Good luck, and don't be afraid to make use of the resources that are available to you. Ask for help if you need it. Your TAs and your profs are there to help you - just don't wait until the last minute to ask for that help. Some profs/TAs even have policies that they won't answer any questions 48 hours before an exam or major assignment. They don't want to be inundated by people scrambling at the last minute. So try not to leave things to the very end.
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