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.


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!