So here we are. Another year at university for some, and the first of many for others. Whether you’re the unsure first year, or the “experienced” upper year student, I’m sure we all have a list of things we would like to accomplish this year. There are the generic ones like getting good grades and having a good time. But… what does that really mean to you? “Good” grades and “good” times are going to mean totally different things for everyone. Really, university will be a completely different experience from one person to another, which is totally fine. University should be an individualized experience, which is why I’m going to encourage each and every one of you to write down a list of things you would like to accomplish this year. That’s right; make a university bucket list!!
Break it down into a few categories: academics, extra-curriculars and fun social ‘stuff’.
So first, academics. Yes, set some academic goals for the year because when it’s all said in done, your grades and academic experiences will count for something. Think to yourself, what do I want to get out of this year academically? Try not to think about what grades you want to get. As cliche as this is, just do the best you can. If you are putting your best foot forward in your courses, then your marks will positively reflect that. Let the grades fall where they will fall. At the end of the day, even if you were unsatisfied with your mark, you will have still learned something. Society tries to define our intelligence by our GPA, but that’s unfair. We all learn differently and at different paces. So you do you.
Some techniques to consider that will increase your academic success.
- Time management: write out your own personal schedule of courses, assignment due dates, tests, midterms and all other things academic. This will help you space out your work evenly and know when your heavier/lighter weeks are.
- Remove distractions: if you get easily distracted by your roommates, music or your phone then maybe put them off to the side to increase your concentration. Take little breaks between work to catch up with friends or check your phone.
- Note taking: take notes during class, but make sure to avoid writing everything down. Instead, try to decipher what the main point of the topic is, or what the professor is pointing out.
You can visit http://www.academictips.org/ for more helpful information regarding academic success.
Second, extra-curriculars. Getting involved with a club, students’ council or volunteering are great ways to get to know the Western community better and build skills for real life. Plus, future employers and grad schools LOVE to see you getting involved during your undergraduate years. Keep yourself posted for upcoming academic socials, volunteer opportunities and club positions that become available.
- Western’s USC has an entire website devoted to the clubs offered here on campus, so check it out. http://westernusc.ca/clubs/
- Check Western’s CareerCentral frequently. There are many volunteer, even paid, opportunities posted there on a daily basis. That’s how I got involved with Western’s LAMP program and Western Serves. It also features an upcoming events/workshops tab worth checking out. www.westerncareercentral.ca
- I know personally that I also like to be involved in extra curriculars like dance and choir. That being said, these out of class groups don’t have to be entirely committed to building your resume or networking so to speak. They can even be fun, or good exercise for that matter. These are all important factors that contribute to a balanced student lifestyle.
Lastly, save time for some events outside of school life. Take a day each week to physically remove yourself from Western’s campus. Go out with some friends, spend a weekend at home, go shopping, see a movie, do something SPONTANEOUS! Anything to get your mind off of school. Treat this as your stress relief for the week. We can all, so easily, get caught up in the rush of university life and forget to unwind. I think this is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a student. If you’re not taking time to relax and have some fun, it becomes far too easy to be consumed it all. This is the part of your bucket list where you can let loose. Be free. Go a little wild…But not too wild 😉