SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online header. This one says "Welcome to University."

Independence

Photo of a student in a lecture

Hey Marauders!

We are so excited for you! Coming to university was a really special experience for both of us. We started cooking and shopping for ourselves, following our own budget and scheduling our own time. One of the spookiest parts of all this was that we were suddenly in charge of our own learning. No one was taking attendance anymore, it was up to us to go to class every day, complete readings and schedule study sessions. This difference was a shock to us. That’s why today we’re here to talk to you about a few different ways you can master independence.

Buying groceries

For many of you, this will be the first time that you are grocery shopping for yourselves. Whether you are on- or off- campus, it can be a challenge to eat properly and take good care of yourself, especially when it feels like all that you have time for is school. Proper nutrition is not only important for your general health, it can also help you perform better academically. We encourage you to follow these tips in order to eat well in your first year:

  1. Buy local produce from Mac Farmstand (an on-campus booth that sells local produce, And yes- they take student cards)
  2. Visit Fortinos or Foodbasics on Tuesday for a 10% student discount
  3. Visit Shoppers Drug Mart on Thursday for a 20% student discount
  4. Eat from the salad bars and Bridges (an on-campus vegetarian cafe) throughout the week. Our boss also recommends the buddha bowl from TwelvEighty .
  5. Go to events on campus that are held by clubs like the Food Collective Centre for affordable and healthy meals.
  6. Think ahead. It is always a good idea to have a go-to plan for breakfast on the go. We also find it helpful to keep snacks in our bag so that we are less likely to buy the more expensive snacks on campus.

Sleep schedule

In university it can be quite common to have a less than desirable sleep schedule. Students find themselves studying late at night or experiencing so much stress that they either can’t fall asleep or stay awake.  It is important to remember that sleep is vital for your health and well-being, as well as your academics. Therefore, we thought that we would compile a list of our best sleep tips:

  1. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime
  2. Avoid technology close to bedtime. (The blue-light from your devices prevents the production of sleep hormones and keeps your brain alert)
  3. Try a bluelight filter, like f.lux (https://justgetflux.com/)
  4. Try to sleep and get up at consistent times.
  5. If you need a nap throughout the day, visit the nap room on the third floor of the student centre.

Scheduling

In university, you will have to create your own academic schedule for the first time. Even though there are tools to help with this (in Mosaic) it can still seem daunting. You’ll find that there are some things that no one is going to double check for you, so you need to:

  1. Make sure you are taking the prerequisites you need.
  2. See an academic advisor if you feel confused or overwhelmed about something. They will be happy to help!
  3. Leave yourself enough time to eat and study throughout the day.
  4. Be careful with how you balance your schedule. Having two days of classes a week is fun until you have 3 midterms in one day.
  5. If you are still feeling overwhelmed you can also participate in a time management workshop here at the SSC.

Going to classes

In university, the amount of surveillance will severely decrease. No one will call home if you don’t go to class, and your parents won’t get updates on your grades. Therefore, you’ll have to take on the responsibility of getting yourself to class and holding yourself accountable for your academic performance. As a result, we thought that we would provide some advice that may encourage you to go to class:

  1. Make a realistic class schedule. If you are the type of person that can’t wake up before noon, avoid scheduling 8:30 a.m. classes.
  2. Remember that you’re paying for these classes, so it is literally a waste of money if you don’t show up.
  3. Going to class, even one that you find uninteresting can help you to perform better on tests and reduce the amount of review that you will need to do for assignments and exams. So being consistent throughout the semester can save you a lot of stress towards the end.

Getting accommodations

In high school, certain accommodations might have already been arranged for you by your teachers or your guardians. In university however, it is your responsibility to arrange accommodations yourself, if you require them. Speak to your professors about your individual needs. Nobody is going to approach you; you need to approach them. But don’t be shy—the majority of professors are kind and understanding.

  1. Seek accommodations right away if you need them, this isn’t something you want to put off.
  2. Find out how to register with Student Accessibility Services
  3. Go to SAS events during Welcome Week to learn about accommodations in post-secondary.

Maintaining relationships

Whether you’re expecting homesickness or joyousness when leaving home, you’ll probably still want to make time to talk to your hometown friends and family. Here are some tips:

  1. It’s really easy to put this off, so we recommend you schedule time into your week to call home.
  2. Trying using Facetime or Skype, as opposed to simply calling, to alleviate homesickness. Seeing people’s faces can make the distance feel smaller.

It is important to know that one of the biggest challenges when starting university is learning how to care for yourself.  A lot of students have never lived on their own, paid bills, or gone grocery shopping for themselves. These newfound responsibilities can be hard to juggle but it is extremely important that you continue to take care of yourself. Self-care is the most important thing, regardless of what stage you are at in your life, and this does not change during your time in university.

Tomorrow we will be talking about some of the things that you can cross of your checklist throughout the summer before arriving here at Mac in September!

 

Your Pals,
Tabatha, Tory, and Emily

Welcome to the first post in a series from Student Success Centre (SSC) Academic Skills! The next seven weeks will include daily posts to welcome you to university and help you learn many important academic skills that you will need throughout your time at Mac. As we welcome you to university in this first week, we’ll discuss all of the things you need to do before September and what to look forward to this year.

Coming to university was a really special experience for both of us. We started cooking and shopping for ourselves, following our own budget and scheduling our own time. One of the spookiest parts of all this was that we were suddenly in charge of our own learning. No one was taking attendance anymore, it was up to us to go to class every day, complete readings and schedule study sessions. This difference was a shock to us. That’s why today we’re here to talk to you about a few different ways you can master independence!

When people talk about university, they throw around a lot of acronyms. Here at Mac there are so many new terms that it can be overwhelming. When we were in first year we found it very difficult to navigate campus and it was sometimes frustrating, especially when we would ask for directions and they were given completely in acronyms that we didn’t know yet. As a result, we hope to help you avoid this confusion, so in this post we will try to give you the gist of the acronyms and terms that you will need while you get comfortable here at Mac.

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