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Upper year students answer your questions

July 18, 2018



At University, you are going to gain an education, expand your knowledge and further your learning. These questions will get you thinking about the university, what to expect on your first day and the things you should know before embarking on this new adventure. We interviewed an upper year Computer Science and an upper year Mechanical Engineering student and got them to answer some questions that you might have about university.

What should I expect on my first day of university?


Rico: Expect to feel confused. Things will be shocking because it will all be new. The difference between high school and university is enormous. The workload, the new people, and the consequences of your actions are more important.
Syed: Trying to find classes is going to be a struggle, especially because they are not arranged in any particular way.

How do I stay organized?


Rico: Use Google Calendar or any Calendar you are used to. Just get a calendar app.
Syed: Try to arrange your social life behind your school life. Academic life comes first, so make that a priority.

Do I need to attend lectures?


Rico: If you can do without lectures then I say don’t go.
Syed: You will regret if you don’t go to class. The professor says a lot of stuff and the PowerPoint is not always as bulky as you would imagine.

What’s the difference between lectures and tutorials? Do I need to attend both?


Rico: Sleep in lectures, you can catch up in the tutorial.
Syed: Lectures teach you the basics and Tutorials explain more advanced problems. Tutorials show you how to answer your questions, how to pass exams, things the lecturer can’t get to in class.

Why do I need to go to lectures then?

Syed: You have understand the foundation to get the advanced stuff.

What opportunities are there for you to deepen your understanding of a subject?


Rico: Peer Tutors are available for some subjects, and always go to professors’ drop in hours.
Syed: Office hours. You need to see you professors, they can give you more insight on concepts from lectures.

How much time do students typically spend on homework?


Rico: Until I'm finished.
Syed: Everyday around 3 hours after classes.

How much writing and reading is expected?


Rico: (Computer Science) Not a lot. I mostly solve questions.
Syed: (Mechanical Engineering) Not very much. They assign you readings, but it’s not always compulsory to do it, s o you can sometimes do without it.
Editors note: It depends on your program/faculty. I’m in Social Sciences - we read and write A LOT.

How widely used are teaching assistants?


Rico: I talk to them more than the professor. I talk to the professor for connections and the TA to pass the course. TA’s are very important here.
Syed: Very widely used because they do the tutorials, mark exams and assist the professor in a lot of stuff.

What final advice do you have for first-year students?


Rico: Don’t take failure too hard. When you fail, just try again.
Syed: Do the homework daily, read as much as can, just keep on top of your work. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.