Week Two of SSC Academics

Reflection 101

Dear Marauder,

I’m sure you realise by now that reflection is important to managing your time and finding balance. I hope you have found the posts in this week’s series helpful and that you’re looking forward next week! We will think about learning in lectures next week and we will talk about things like note-taking and distractions. As a final thought this week, I wanted to keep encouraging you to reflect. Starting with self-awareness gives you the space to consider if how you already spend your time lines up with how you want to be spending your time.

Let’s hear from our global voices about their experiences with finding balance:

Photo of a student.

Jayda Hunte (St. Lucia), Engineering

During my first year at McMaster it was difficult to adjust to the weather and being on my own. I’d describe myself as ‘The social butterfly’. Coming from the Caribbean, partying is a lifestyle, and I was great at it! After being in McMaster Engineering for a term, I realised the party lifestyle I was used to would have to be adjusted to ensure I kept up the grades. That was very much a challenge for me, but my advice for keeping a perfect balance is don’t be afraid to change up your regular routine to try something different and prioritise.

Photo of a student.

Gustavo Chen (Brazil), Engineering

Right after Welcome Week, I struggled to find balance. However, after a couple of weeks I realized that the key for me to do well in first year was to manage my time properly. School is a priority, but you also need time for yourself.

Photo of a student.

Katherine Grace (Indonesia), Engineering

I identify most with the academic burnout (too much focus on academics)—I would say that I do not have the balance yet, especially because I’m in the engineering program. I make sure that my academics goes first, as this is what we pay the most for. I socialise by doing group study; we will go eat together, do projects together, discuss about life together, even though we’re staying in the library. Also, make sure you are in at least 1 community or any group outside your study, whether it is religious, choir, language group, whatever. Meeting up once a week to work on your interest will help you de-stress and improve your life quality.

You probably won’t find balance overnight, and that’s totally okay! You will have the space and encouragement at university to learn and grow, and this will include your ability to manage your time. I remember what it felt like before getting here, and I wish I could tell myself that I had the tools in front of me; I just needed to figure out how to make them work. If you trust yourself and apply the tips you see here and elsewhere in a way that makes sense to you, you will find success!





Which of the three engagement imbalances from Monday’s post (The Social Butterfly, The Academic Burnout, or The Homebody) do you identify with? Had you already thought critically about how you spend your time?


Congratulations to last week’s winner, Nataly Balanovsky!

What makes balancing your engagement with academics, people, and events difficult? How can you do it? Read more about this in Balance 101!

How should I approach scheduling? What do I need to include? Are to-do lists actually helpful? Scheduling 101 has the answers!

Should I buy all of my food on campus? What can I make for myself that will actually be quick and easy? Is it worth it to make some of my own food at all? Get answers to these (and other) questions in Food for Thought 101!

2 thoughts on “Reflection 101”

  1. I feel like I’m the academic burnout. It’s been really helpful to know that I’m not the only one and that it is possible to find a good balance. I had thought about how to spend my time but it always seems to me that there isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do.

    1. It sounds like you’re already thinking about these things now, which is great! You’re definitely not the only one who feels this way—one good thing about university is that it really helps you build on this self-awareness to figure out how you work best!

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