September 6, 2011

Making the transition back to being a student

So I've been posting advice here for incoming students on how to adjust to Mount Allison. For many who were in my 8:30am Intro to Sociology class this morning I could tell it's been a tiring one. The first week of class for incoming students is an eased transition to expectations of university-level academics. Most professors teaching intro classes realize that you probably haven't slept very much the last week and that you're going to be late finding your classroom or find out you're in the wrong class ten minutes in. It's completely normal and expected for you to not know what exactly is going on your first day of class.

That being said, there's limited time that professors are going to be lenient. At the most you have until September 16th, the deadline to switch classes to be sure you're in the right class and be sure you're ready to meet all the course requirements. Chances are the first week you're not going to have a lot of reading or writing you NEED to do and you may be tempted to not do any work. The thing is, you can go ahead and do that now. There's really no 'getting away with it' at University. Nobody is going to call your parents if you don't do your work or come to class anymore.

You may also notice that a few professors say that you don't have to do all the readings on time, but you have to know them come exam time. You may be temped to try reading a 400-page history of ancient Greece on December 21st the night before finals but it's a bad idea. You'll end up much happier and get better grades if you study a little bit after class and cramming before the exam...unless you're like my friend who memorized his economics textbook the night before the exam and then got a congratulatory letter saying how all his hard work paid off and that he's in the top 1% of the department. But, chances are you're not like my friend and you need to read the text. This first semester is a time to learn how you study best and whether when/where/how you want to study. Some of the material may be similar to high school but you'll notice the expectations aren't and it's not up to me, your teachers, or even your parents to decide how you meet those requirements.

All that being said this is a transition for me as well. From 30 hours at the office to 15 hours in class, 30 hours in the library, and 15 working on the Argosy, helping to transition Amnesty International Mount Allison into the school year, initial meetings for ATLIS, and is often the case lately: a side project I'm not going to mention in any detail if/until it gets off the ground. For now good luck getting your classes in order and if you're going to first class bash (with Joel Plaskett) then have fun but be sure to set an alarm to be sure not to your other first classes tomorrow.