Tag: College

How to Take Lecture Notes

I would like to start by pointing out that everyone is different and everyone has different ways of doing things. You may not agree with my tips but it’s vital that you know what works for you and what doesn’t. Kay, here we go!

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1) Write notes instead of typing them- writing notes helps you to remember them better. Also if you write instead of type there’s less chance of you being distracted by Facebook on your laptop.

2) Record notes so you don’t forget/fall asleep- I love recording my notes. It’s like having a PVR for lectures. You can listen to the recordings whenever you want as well as have a copy of precisely what the lecturer is looking for in essays and projects.

3) Take a rough draft first- Nobody has time for a perfect set of notes especially when you’re in the lecture. Write a rough set of notes that you are able to understand. You can clarify it later and make it look pretty. My notes always start off as a bunch of illegible words and some very neatly written reminders of how I want to sleep. No that’s not a joke.

4) Use colour- when you’re rewriting your notes use colour to make themes stand out. For my Human Resources class I had two different colours for the work that was tested as a question and the work tested as an essay.

5) Make sure that YOU understand- whether your notes are plain or coloured, neat or horrifying the most important thing is that you’re able to understand them. These are your notes and when exam time rolls around you’re the one who needs to be able to understand them.

What is your go-to guide for writing notes?

How to Choose Your Classes for College

Ah, college. The one place you can study everything from Marketing and Mythology to Cooking and Creative Writing. But how do you choose your classes? There’s just so many!

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1) Consult your handbook- The college handbook is an excellent guide for when it comes to choosing classes. It details the classes necessary for your degree as well as information about the method of assessment. Knowing more about possible modules can help you decide whether they’re worth choosing.

2) Choose the purpose of your electives- Do you want something fun? Do you want something that complements your degree? For me, I chose a mixture of both.  After all when else would you have the opportunity to study the kind of subjects offered at college? My modules consisted of Media and English (my majors at that time) as well as Criminology and Human Resources (simply for fun).

4) Have a plan B (and maybe a plan C-just to be safe)- Sometimes you may not be able to register for the class you want. In this case it’s a good idea to have a list of back-up classes. And then a back-up of your back-up just in case those don’t work out either.

How do you choose your classes for college?

College Tips for English Majors

Ah, English. We speak it everyday and chances are you’re passionate about it if you’ve decided to major in it. Or in some cases you had nothing else to choose (that’s hurtful but hey it’s true).
For me I chose English because I loved it in school and thought it would be a breeze. It’s not. It’s actually pretty difficult. Here’s a few tips for coping as an English major.

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1) Get Your Reading List Early- I’ve heard other English majors tell me how they love reading but personally I’ve always struggled through my assigned readings. It’s a good idea to get the list of readings early so you know what to expect when it comes to your workload. Email your lecture or the administration to ask for a list. Worse case scenario you get a refusal. Best case scenario you know the books you’re expected to read and can start looking for them early.

2) Compare Book Prices- My campus bookstore is always ridiculously expensive. It works out easier to either buy the books secondhand, online (Takealot and Readers Warehouse usually have reasonable prices for their college books) or even to borrow a copy from your campus library.

3) Read the Book- I’ve seen so many people simply ignore the book they’re studying and it just irritates me. Those people chose English as an elective but their lack of interest was disappointing. How do you expect to write a test or exam when you know nothing about the material being tested? No matter how boring the book is, reading it on your own allows you to form your own opinions that you can include and support in your assignments.

4) Practice Your Writing- Start a blog, keep a diary, write extensive notes. Do something to help improve your writing. Practicing your writing in even a small way allows you to express yourself better and makes for better essays.

5) Proofread Essays- Always check your work before you hand them in. If there’s an option for a lecturer or tutor to read over your work, take it! They’ve been around longer than you have and who knows what is expected of you better than someone in the department?

6) Use Sparknotes- Most of my lecturers take their slides and notes from Sparknotes. I don’t know if they’re taking it directly from the site or if the site simply has the same work but reading Sparknotes makes understanding work so much easier.

7) Take Advantage of Office Hours- If there’s anything you don’t understand, make an appointment to visit your lecturer or tutor privately. I’ve seen students make silly errors simply because of a misunderstanding of the text that could have been cleared.

Are you an English major? What are your tips for a successful semester?

How to Never Miss a Date Again

Girl on cellphone calendar

Few things irritate me more than having a deadline or appointment jump out at me from nowhere. It makes me feel like my whole world is upside-down and I need to take back control of my life. Here are a few tips to help you never miss an important event or date.

1) Buy a planner- I love Typo planners but they’re a bit too expensive for me. Instead I use an ordinary dated diary as well as my cellphone to keep track of dates.

2) Write down everything- First start with concrete events that you know won’t change such as birthdays or your weekly night out. Then enter in important dates such as deadlines for a project.

3) Plan a week in advance- I like to think of myself as pretty organised. Those dates that I miss are usually family events that for some reason my mother doesn’t tell me about (am I not family? Maybe not). To compensate for her serious error, I ask her well in advance if she/me/we has any plans for the week ahead. If she gives me an event we need to attend, I list it down. If not I simply plan my week around that.

4) Use your planner on a regular basis- You could have the most gorgeous (Typo) planner but it doesn’t matter if you’re not using it. Be sure to check your planner often to keep on track with dates and to add in new ones.

How do you keep track of everything? Have you ever forgotten an important date? (I forgot my parents’ anniversary once). Let me know below.

Why You Should Start a Blog in College

Okay, I know I might be a bit biased but I really believe that starting a blog is ALWAYS a good idea. Starting a blog in college is like the best idea. Here’s why:

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1) You have a record of your college experience- College is not something that is forever (honestly I wouldn’t want it to be either). A blog is a great way to keep track of your college experience. It’s been two years but I still like to read and reread the horror of my first year. I like looking back and marvelling at how things have changed.

2) You gain writing experience- You’re probably wondering why do you need writing experience. Well if you’re a student of humanities chances are that you’re going to be writing essays. Knowing how to write well is a great advantage to have in college. There have been so many occasions when I had no idea what I was saying in an essay but I managed to scrape together a pass.

3) You gain friends- blogging is a great way to make friends. You find people who are going through the same things as you. Being a college blogger allows you to meet other stressed college students who you can share your woes with.

4) You get a portfolio of writing pieces- if you’re interested in a job that involves writing, starting a blog is a good place to begin. You can gain writing clips simply by writing on your blogs. Some paying jobs actually look for blogging experience.

Do you have a college blog? What’s your favourite blog to read? I’d love to know!

Why You Should Take Advantage of Office Hours

Does anyone even care about their lecturer’s office hours? I know I certainly didn’t..until I started my third year of college and my classes clashed. If it wasn’t for office hours, I probably would not have graduated. This is why you should take advantage of them (preferably before you realise that you’re failing your classes)

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1) Your lecturer gets to know you- personally I don’t like the idea of my lecturer getting to know me. But if you want a letter of recommendation or help on an assignment, it’s helpful to have a lecturer in your corner. Knowing your lecturer outside of the classroom also allows you to expand your professional circle which can help when it comes to job hunting. (*Sends LinkedIn request*)

2) You gain a greater understanding of the work- most of my meetings with my lecturers were to discuss assignments or concepts that I didn’t understand. One meeting that was especially valuable was when my lecturer ran through concepts quickly with me. It amazed me how easily he explained everything and how easily I was able to understand. The fifteen minutes in his office did more for my education than the entire semester of classses.

3) You can find out exactly what your lecturer expects of you- The day of my driver’s test, I missed my last Criminology lecture as well as the scope for my exam. My lecturer was more than willing to meet with me to give me the scope and tell me what she was looking for. Since it was my first year at college and I had no idea how to write an essay, that was a really productive session.

4) It’s the lecturer’s job- okay this is a stupid reason to attend office hours but hey lecturers are around to help you! If you can’t ask a question in class, pop in to visit your lecturer and ask them in private.

Some of my best and most effective learning has been done during office hours. Whether it’s learning to write an essay, revising assignments or going through concepts to make certain you understand it, office hours are a great tool for college students.
Do you make use of office hours? Let me know below.

Healthy Snacking For College

As a college student, it’s difficult to find snacks that are both healthy and quick. So I searched all over the internet and here are a few of the snacking options I found:

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-Bagel or crackers with cream cheese
-Yogurt with fruit or granola
-Dried fruit and nuts
-Bran muffin
-Pretzels
-Cereal bars(these aren’t good for a meal though. I tried them for breakfast and was still hungry)
– Peanut butter sandwich
-Chicken or tuna salad(these both are really tasty and healthy).

5 Tips For Improving Your Productivity in College

My words to live by are “Work hard, party harder”. This is excellent advice especially if you’re in college. But how do you manage to be productive when you’re just not feeling it? Here are a few tried and tested tips to help you be as productive as possible,

1) Keep a constant routine- have a set time for sleeping and waking up. Try as much as possible to stick to this because it reduces the possibility of you falling asleep in class. Yes, we all want to sleep in class because it’s boring but that’s not very productive.

2) Pay attention in class. Always record the lecture- when I first started sleeping in class, it was totally accidental. First my mind would wander off, then I’d try to rest my eyes and then I would jerk awake. If you know you’re tired/lazy, record the lecture to listen to later. This works especially well for assignments since you can go back and play the recording to find out precisely what is expected of you. Also when you’re actually listening to the lecturer it’s easier to remember what’s being covered in class.

3) Write things down as soon as possible- use your school calender plus your syllabi (is that the plural of syllabus? I’m not entirely sure…) and note down important dates such as tests, projects, when campus closes and reopens as well as the last day for changing your courses. This will a) help you to see important dates and b) you’ll know when you’re busy with a pile of essays or tests.

4) Set your own deadlines- if you have your own deadlines preferably a day or two earlier than the actual due date you’ll get work done faster. You may also have enough time to get a tutor to edit your essay or cover last-minute concepts with your lecturer.

5) Start work as soon as you get it- I don’t mean write the essay or read 3 chapters for that test. Do something small just to make a tiny dent in your workload. List points for your essay or skim a chapter in the textbook. It makes things easier if you start off small. You’ll eventually be able to tackle the entire essay/textbook.

The Playground of Randomness Guide to College: Orientation

I remember my Orientation as if it were yesterday. Though in reality it was 2 years ago. Time really does fly!
Orientation or O-week as some call it is possibly the most exciting time for a freshman. It’s your first look at the campus when you know with absolute certainty that you’re going to be a part of it.
But try not to lost yourself in all the magic of the moment. Orientation is your time to familiarise yourself with campus and learn how everything works.

What Actually Goes On:
Some colleges may be different but my Orientation started with a long speech from the Chancellor(that I sat outside for since I had heard the same speech when I arrived for Parents Day).
Most colleges have a campus tour. Pay careful attention to this because not only will it prevent you from getting lost, it will help you understand how everything functions.
Handouts about courses are passed out some times. You may even get a handbook- guard it with your life! I have both an actual handbook and a pdf file. I also stalked my college websites and social networking sites for months before I was accepted but I don’t recommend that. I still feel very creepy about that. But my point is- I was super-excited about college. And you should be too.

What I Did:
(Or also known as ‘Mistakes I Made That You Should Avoid’)
I swear there’s gona be an entirely separate blog post on all my college mistakes but that’s for another day.
For Orientation my campus tour guide wasn’t audible to the people in the back of our 40-50 people group…so I skipped the tour and went with a friend’s cousin instead.
The plus of this was that she completed our registration for us(ie the part where you choose your classes) and we didn’t have to wait in a line. We also got our own private tour.
The downsides was that I didn’t receive a handbook(the copy I got was one that I found) and I also was lost about how to use the library and the computer labs.
Eventually, with the help of a few older students who were friends, I managed to figure out what needed to be done but I still have no idea how to use the library copier or how to print out anything should I need to.
I also missed out on fun activities. I knew colleges had events for freshmen to bond over but only saw the flyers once my first official week of college had started- which was too late.
Bottom line- do yourself a favour, attend your Orientation and pay attention! You’ll be grateful later on.
Xoxo

7 Things I Wish I Knew in College

The “real world” is completely different from college. Which is odd considering that college is supposed to be your first taste of independence and the world out there. Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I was in college:

 

1) Your grades don’t matter: This part hit me the most when job-hunting. No one cared that I had great grades or was part of a honour society for students in the top 15% of their field of study. In fact no one seemed to care that I had a degree at all. People just wanted work experience which I didn’t have (and couldn’t get because I had no work experience). Which brings me to my next point:

2) The importance of work experience: No one wants to employ someone with no work experience. Which is ironic because how do you get work experience if no one wants to give you work without prior working experience. It baffles me that this has been going on for a while now and no one has done anything about it.

3) How to work in a team: It’s not that I don’t know how to work in a team. It’s just that I don’t want to. Group projects in college were a total nightmare and we basically divided the entire project into individual parts and then got together to present the entire project. While I may love the team that I work up, it took the introvert in me five months to finally feel comfortable around them. I definitely wish someone had taught me the importance of working in a team.

4) It’s who you know not what you know: Like number 1 on this list, this also hit me hard. Finding a job seems to be more about who you know than what you know. So network network network. You never know who could lead you to your next job. My cousin found her current job because someone saw her searching career websites on her phone and they knew someone who was hiring.

5) You can’t stay at home from work just because you want to: There are many reasons to miss class in college. It’s too cold, too hot, it’s a Friday, you’re hungover, etc. Unfortunately you can’t do this in the real world. Come rain or shine, you have a job to do. While slacking off in college was okay, that kind of behavior could get you fired.

6) Treasure your free time: My holidays and weekends in college were spent complaining about how bored I was. My holidays and weekends as an employed adult are spent running errands or completing chores that I couldn’t do during the week. Free time is no longer a thing.

7) It’s all going to be okay: I was a neurotic wreck in college. I always fretted over the smallest of things (I once printed out an assignment three times because the ridiculous tutor kept changing her mind about the format of the assignment). I would love to tell my past self to relax and breathe, everything will be fine. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want it to and that’s okay.

What do you wish you knew when you were in college?

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