My life as a first year health studies student at the University of Waterloo

My life as a first year health studies student at the University of Waterloo.


Sunday 15 March 2015

Places on Campus

I looked at the calendar this morning. I mean really looked at it, not just to count down the days till my next midterm but to try and make sense of how quickly this semester has gone by. It seems absolutely bizarre that there are only a few more weeks left before classes are over. Waterloo has definitely become a second home and I thought I would share some of my favourite places to spend my time with you ....
1.) Williams- every Tuesday and Thursday between my morning classes you can be guaranteed that you will see me there. It is in EV3 (one of the environment buildings) which is beautiful enough, so by the time you grab a chai latte or a smoothie and a table by the windows your day will be much better. If you are anything like me it is also a great place to pop in your headphones get some work done. 
2.) Residence - this is where I have been calling home for the last seven months so I suppose it is a good thing I like living there. As overwhelming as it can be to share a floor with 50 other students it is also a lot of fun and I am really going to miss it. My don (upper year who lives on our floor) is great and everyone who lives here is really friendly which has made the experience in residence awesome. 
3.) SLC - if you come to waterloo you will spend a lot of time in the Student Life Center. There are silent study sections to get some work done but also lots of tables upstairs that overlook the cafeteria and the cove (where break dancers and cabaret team can often be seen practicing). The SLC is open 24/7 and has places to get food, cash, school supplies, and just about anything else you could possibly need while on campus. There are also lots of events that go on in the great hall of the SLC, like club and volunteer fairs. It is a great spot to get involved and learn about what is happening on campus. 
4.) CIF - Columbia Ice Fields has a great gym with lots of cardio equipment and weights. Sometimes (especially in the nights) it can be packed but if you go in the morning or afternoon there is lots of space. Trust me a workout is a great way to start your day or take a study break, and CIF is the place to go. 
5.) M3 - is it silly to have a favourite lecture hall? Maybe, but I am not going to get too caught up with that! I have had a few classes in M3 this year and it is by far one of the better lecture halls; new, big and it has three projection screens. In the entrance there is lounge furniture and windows ceiling to floor so it is a great place to get some work done before class. 

Thursday 19 February 2015

Study Study Study

Hello everybody,
It has been a while since I last posted (I’m sorry). 

This week is reading week and I am really enjoying being home and spending some much needed time with family, and hanging out with my friends. I spent the last week of school before reading week doing lots of work so I wouldn’t have to spend all this week doing work; but despite my efforts it always seems like there is something else to do. Here are a few tips that to manage your time well and get all of your work accomplished (ON TIME).

1.) Turn off your phone - I know that this is an obvious one but actually following it is completely different. The next time you go to study don’t take your phone and I assure you the amount that you accomplish will be much more than if you were checking your phone.

2.) Reward yourself – Personally I find chocolate effective, I will tell myself that I can have a piece when I finish a chapter of my textbook readings. Splitting up the work into smaller pieces makes it seem more manageable… and you get a snack!

3.) Take breaks with friends- Even fifteen minutes will make you feel refreshed (and wake you up on those days you just can’t seem to stay awake while working). Let’s face it spending time with friends is awesome.

4.) Make a to do list- Just about every day I write down or make a memo on my phone of all the things I want to accomplish in the day. It will help you prioritize what you need to work on, and it feels really good to cross things off your list.

5.) Breath- Accept that sometimes you aren’t always going to be ahead of the game. You won’t always have your readings done ahead of time (or even at all). But no matter how busy you may feel there is always time to sit down and get things done, don’t stress out just keep working!

Monday 19 January 2015

Get Involved

I have been back to school for a few weeks now and I am starting to figure out what second semester is going to be like. This semester I am taking philosophy, psychology, and a course online which are all things I have never tried before. 

Trying new things is always a great idea, and the University of Waterloo is a great place to start because there are so many opportunities. My biggest piece of advice is to try out several different groups, while still being able to manage your work load with classes, to see what you like best.

This semester I have started volunteering at a fitness program once a week, I blog (which is something I have never done before), and I recently made the University of Waterloo varsity cheerleading team! All of the things I do not only keep me busy, but I have been learning lots and have met many amazing people. 

Sometime this week look up all the clubs, teams, and volunteering opportunities that the school offers and consider trying something, if they are anything like the groups I have become a part of you won’t regret it!

Happy Monday Everybody.

Monday 5 January 2015

Let the Second Semester Begin

I'm back, and a lot has happened since the last time I posted...

1.) Christmas break has come and gone. In my mind I thought that Christmas break was going to be much longer than the break I had in high school, but I finished exams just one day before high school classes ended. The break flew by and I definitely did not want to leave home and my family yesterday. Being able to relax with my friends and family and celebrate the holidays together was fantastic; I am truly blessed to have such an amazing group of people who love me.

2.) First semester is officially over. Marks were posted to my quest account the Monday after the exam period, and I could see if all my hard work payed off. It was nerve wracking to check all of my final marks but if you have been putting in an effort to do well you can probably guess your mark before you check, so don't spend too much time worrying and waiting for them to be posted.

3.) I have moved out of the residence room I moved into in September, to another room across the hall. After a few months of living with my roommate our living schedules were not compatible, which only added to be stress of being a student. One of the great things about university (and life) is no matter how stressed or confused you are about something, there are always options. Another girl on my floor and I decided to swap places, an arrangement that should work better for everyone.

Some of the most important things I learned last semester had absolutely nothing to do with classes or academics. When living with another person and on a floor with 50 people you learn so many valuable lessons about yourself, problem solving, and can clearly see the things that are important to you (and those things that really aren't so important). Here's to a fresh start of the new semester.

 Happy first day of classes everybody!

Monday 1 December 2014

Classes Complete!

Classes are over which is exciting because I can just focus on studying for finals, but it is also stressful because the exams that have been talked about since the beginning of the semester are coming up in just a few days.

Am I stressed? Yes.
Am I worried? No.

I may be premature writing this, as I have yet to write a final exam, however I feel the distinction between being stressed out vs. worried about finals is an important one. Being stressed means I am motivated to dedicate hours studying in order to refresh all the information that was jam packed into what may have been the fastest twelve weeks of my life. And while being too stressed isn't a good thing, a bit of stress is healthy.

Being worried about exams however doesn't help. Ultimately you have x number of days to prepare, and ready or not you will show up and write your exam. If you worry about how the exam is going to go you will spend more time freaking out and less time studying - so stop worrying and actually prepare.

That nagging thought in the back of my mind repeating...
 "study study study"
 "stop watching Ellen clips online"
"bring your food upstairs and read the textbook while you eat"
 "stop talking start studying"
"study study study"...
is driving me crazy, and will be the reason I do my best on finals. It doesn't mean that I spend every second of my day studying but the thought that I should be means I am putting in more study time than I would otherwise. And for the two weeks that exams last I am alright sacrificing a few games of heads up with the floor mates to study (not all of them.... But a few).
This is quite possibly the best app ever. 

Happy studying everybody (and remember- a lot can be solved with a cup of coffee and a deep breath)!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Lectures vs. High School Classes

The semester is almost over; in fact I only have five school days left before exams start. In some ways it feels like I have been a university student for a really long time, but there are still times when I can’t believe that I am not living at home anymore. Here is a list of the top five differences between high school and university classes.

1.) Marks on Tests
The only comment I have to make about marks is the lack of them; my chemistry midterm was 16 multiple choice questions, giving a total of 12 marks, and was worth 20% of my final grade. 

2.) Time
Time management is the key to doing well in your classes, it is not hard to understand the course content if you had the time to sit down and study for hours… but you don’t. University classes are filled with readings, tutorials, online quizzes, assignments, lectures, and pre-laboratory work (and I am not even in engineering). Being able to manage your time is crucial to staying on top of all the work there is to do, and ensure you have time to study (nothing is worse than having an assignment due and test on the same day, especially if you don’t start either well before the deadline).

3.) Reminders
Remember in elementary school you had to take your agenda home each night and get your parents to sign it so they knew what was going on in your classes? What about the constant reminders from high school teachers about the test you have in a week? Reminders in university don’t happen as often. It isn’t because your professors won’t tell you about a midterm, but they expect you to stay organized so you also know it is fast approaching. Make sure you stay organized so you don’t forget about upcoming deadlines.

4.) Multiple Choice
Every midterm I have written this semester (and the majority of my upcoming finals) has only multiple choice. Gone are the days of part marks for chemistry equations, and giving a short answer with four or five sentences restating the only point you actually remember about the topic. You either know it, fill in the correct bubble and get the mark… or you don’t. 

5.) Breaks
Mondays and Wednesdays between 10:00 and 12:00 I go to the 6th floor of Dana Porter Library. The two hour break is spent, Tim Horton’s coffee in hand reviewing and writing out my notes. Having a few hours in between classes is great; also, knowing I only have a bit of time before I have another class means I don’t  become frustrated with the work I am doing.

Even though there are lots of changes in university classes, if you stay organized and enjoy the classes you are taking you won’t have any complaints.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Don't Forget to Take a Break

My second round of midterms is over and I can not believe how quickly the semester has gone by.  All that I have left in my classes are finals and a few assignments before I head home for a three week break over Christmas. Everything with school is going well but I am very excited to go home. Unlike high school Christmas break is in between the semesters so I won't have any work to do for classes, which will be weird... and wonderful.

This time in the semester marks are coming back, assignment due dates (that seemed so far away) are quickly approaching, and trying to keep up with a social life can be overwhelming at times.  While my first semester has been great so far I have found November to be the hardest month yet; you start to anticipate Christmas break but it is still a month away and some days you just want to go home... that's normal.

My biggest piece of advice... Remember to take breaks, go out with friends and take your mind off of school for a while.

This past weekend two of my best friends and my lovely boyfriend came to visit, it was a great surprise and a much needed break from studying. We went to the mall, Uptown Waterloo and I showed them around campus.

The day was great and when I started doing work on Sunday I felt refreshed and ready to finish the semester off on a high note.

Remember, only 41 days till Christmas!

Wednesday 29 October 2014

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I live on a floor with some absolutely amazing people; everyone is friendly, funny and overall just awesome. However, one of the things that I think that makes us special is how ambitious we all are… So I started asking people on my floor in residence a question we have all been asked many times;
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I have to say that the answers I received made me love this group of people even more…

“With mechatronics it is on the forefront of technology so that’s pretty exciting, defense systems or hardware development (wearable technology) would be an exciting career choice.” - Mechatronics Engineering

“I want to be happy; wait I don’t want my answer to be that…” - Honors Biology

“I want money, that’s shallow but it’s the truth” - Honors Math (actuarial science)

“Oh I don’t have an answer… I have backup plans and I will not be a failure. They may cost more money but they will work out… hopefully.” – Kinesiology 

 “I want to be an actuary, and if not I am going into to go into mathematical economics because it is the second best thing, and if I can’t do that then I am going to stay in honours math for the rest of my life”    - Honors Math

“A forensic chemist” - Honors Chemistry

“I have five years I will figure something out” – Health Promotion

 “I don’t know… an adult” - Health Studies

 “A physiotherapist” – Kinesiology

“ I definitely want to make sure I am helping people and make them smile, but if I excel in university I want to go to medical school be become an anesthesiologist” – Health Studies

“An audiologist”- Health promotion

“I don’t know… probably a CEO of a petrochemical company or something… I don’t know… hopefully that.” - Chemical Engineering

“I want to work for google” – Computer Science 

“I think I want to be a geneticist” – Biochemistry

Wednesday 15 October 2014

The Poster Sale

The poster sale was in the student center last week and it was really cool. I had heard about it from my don and some upper year students, and to be completely honest I didn’t understand what all the excitement was about- I mean they are just posters. However now that I have been to the poster sale I understand what people were talking about, because while it is just a poster sale the student center was FILLED. I am not sure how many posters there were but if you name any celebrity, movie, TV show, animal or city I can guarantee there was a poster of it (at least one but probably several).