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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Putting the YOU in university: Securing your education

January 15, 2021

This post is a part of a five-part series to help you make the most of your university experience. I have been able to put together some suggestions you could use to shape your university experience to be great (and great for you). Check out the introduction to this series and then come back here to read part one… securing your education. 

I often tend to see people who treat activities in the semester on a case-by-case basis which often baffles me. Before giving you practical ways on how you perform better in your academics, it's important to show you a mindset that will allow you to actually implement these tips the right way and encourage you to always look for more tips.

Imagine if you had a $40,000 investment that could either exponentially grow into $400,000 or squabble down to $40 based on how you treat this investment. Would you prepare yourself for the worst of economic circumstances in order to protect your investment or would you wait till bad economic circumstances hit until you react?

Now imagine, if your total tuition fees per semester were $5000 and you spent four years in university. This would roughly be a $40,000 investment ($5000 * eight semesters). Would you wait until a week before your midterm before you prepare for it or would you do your best to stay on top of your game to make sure your investment grows instead of squabbles?

I’m not asking you to look at the price tag. I’m asking you to look at the value of education because education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Create a game plan

The first week or two of school is usually the perfect time to evaluate each course you’re taking. The next step is to create a game plan that you will follow. What I usually do in my game plan is that I write down every assessment area for each course I’m taking (it might take a while but it won’t feel long if you take five mins in each lecture to do this), how much it’s worth out of 100 and set a target for what you would like to achieve in that segment. If you’re very meticulous like me, you can break down each assessment into the number of instances under that area. This means if the assessment is a midterm, the instances would be Midterm 1, Midterm 2, etc.

Let me give an example in case that boggled your mind. 

I had to take Statics (MECE 2230) in my first semester. There are four assessment areas in Statics: 

  •  Assignments (worth 10%)
  • Midterm 1 (worth 15%)
  • Midterm 2 (worth 25%)
  • Final (worth 50%) 

Predict your outcomes

After the first two weeks of school, I make predictions as to how well I think I can do.

in each assessment area of my course. Take assignments for example. 

We have five assignments to complete during the course of the semester, meaning each one is worth two percent of my final grade. I can predict that I will always be caught up with the material to know what to do in the assignment. I can also predict that I will have enough time to do enough research and study in order to fully understand how to answer the questions. Furthermore, I know I can always compare my answers to the examples in the textbook or the examples given by my professor in the lecture notes, therefore I predict that I should be able to obtain a minimum score of 1.8/2 in each assignment, resulting in an overall assignment grade of 9/10 ceteris paribus (your boy is fancy). Now you don’t have to go through this avenue, but the point I am driving at is that you should always be aware of what’s going on in each of your courses, performance-wise. 

Practice makes perfect

Ever wonder why you feel more comfortable in a ‘hard topic’ review lecture than a ‘new, hard topic’ lecture. Truth is that you should never fret when learning new material. For the most part, it is unlikely you will understand it on the first go and that is why the majority of learning should be done outside the classroomThink of lectures as checkpoints. They are simply there to make sure you’re learning the material at the correct pace, but you can just as easily learn the whole material ahead of time. Furthermore, the best way to prepare for midterms is to practice. 

Practice makes perfect and if you notice, most courses do not really place a huge emphasis on whether you understand, but rather they sometimes seem overly concerned about how you can apply such concepts. Think of it like basketball. Anyone can understand and learn the mechanism behind shooting the ball, but it would take hours of practice before you can actually shoot the basketball properly. When you’ve mastered the skill, you don’t need to think much about the concepts, you just do it. You forget if you haven’t played in a while, but it's very easy to pick up because the real-life mechanism is now a part of you. 

Don’t ever worry about your brain not being able to store all the info you’re getting. Your brain is much more powerful than you think. Did you know your brain has the capacity to store up to 300 years of tv shows? 

Find good people you can study with and brainstorm ideas together

My rule of thumb for this generally has always been to be open-minded to interacting with everyone and anyone you meet to start off. That’s the only way you can genuinely have options. Talk to everyone you have the opportunity of speaking with to know what they’re like. You’ll be able to get a good impression of anyone’s confidence level in each course. For the most part, stick with the people who have a higher confidence level in that course than you. By confidence level, I mean people who know what they’re doing. 

Do you know the easiest way to catch a cold? Live in Canada in January (haha I’m kidding). It’s actually to hang around with people who constantly sneeze on you. 

Such people will rub off their knowledge and techniques on you and you’ll naturally feel more confident about yourself. More importantly, they will help you with any problems you may have so long as you ask them nicely. Fortunately for you, I’ll be expanding a bit more on this in part three of this series.

Next up on “Making the most out of university” is Part two: Securing your health. In part two we will (and I mean WE) be covering three major aspects of health: health health (not a typo), mental health, and physical health (I managed to WORKOUT a surprise for this one).