Monday, June 25, 2012

Extra-Curricular Activities and My Sanity

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand it if I only study all day, every day. Sure, sure learning is fun, and essential, and all that jazz…but man, oh man. If I did nothing but study I would probably go nuts.

I need to have something else to focus on, whether it is a hobby, a club, or a job. As exciting as it is to have a job, it’s not the easiest thing to come by. I myself don’t always have a job during the school year, and you can only do so much with a hobby.

Something that is consistent in my life is my overwhelming desire for extra-curricular activities. I personally love to hold Executive roles, so this often takes the role of an unpaid job, but there are many roles in clubs and organizations that do not take up a lot of your time, and allow you to network.

This also ties in to my last post about volunteering; participating in extra-curriculars means that you are essentially doing unpaid work, which is why I encourage you to seek out clubs that align with your interests and objectives. For example, if I detested riding bikes, I would not join the Bike Riding Club. I have joined various initiatives centered on education and giving young people a voice because that is what is important to me.  

The awesome thing about taking on extra-curriculars in university is the basket of benefits you get:

1. You get an opportunity to network with like-minded peers.
2. If you work hard and move up the ranks, you will gain experience in positions very similar to the ones you want to hold in a future job.
3. As you move up the ranks and become an Executive, you learn important things about marketing yourself and dealing with clients. You also learn about the importance of professionalism in everything you do.
4. You get interview practice! Most clubs and organizations have an interview process you must pass in order to get a position within the organization.

As with all things, extra-cirriculars require hard work and dedication. You can read up more on the professionalism I mentioned in point #3 above, here: 

I’ll be expanding on professionalism in my next post, as I move on to interviews!

Speak again soon,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer = BBQs + lectures.

 Hi! I hope everyone is staying cool today as it gets more humid and hot outside. Summer is here and that means more outdoor activities with family and friends.  However, these BBQs and getaways may prevent you from having time to attend your lectures.

 It is important to keep in mind that attending and listening in your class has many benefits that can eventually help you achieve your academic success. Through hearing the professor and seeing the information, you are able to understand the material more efficiently and accurately. You are also more likely to remember a chunk of information from attending your lectures regularly. From this, you will be able to retain them on an exam easily. In short, having verbal and visual memory for a piece of information makes it easier for you to recall them on an exam.

Attending your lectures also helps you “space out” your review or study time more effectively. Through reading before and after your lectures, you give yourself the chance to study the materials prior to an exam in a very effective manner.

 Note taking and active listening are as important as attending your lectures. Before I go any further, active listening is when you focus on and attend to what is being said to you, as opposed to passive listening or exerting little effort in participating and being involved in class. Through this, you are engaging yourself in the learning process. You can improve your attention span from this as well. It is helpful to realize that the more you are involved in your class, the more interesting your class will be to you. Therefore, you will exceptionally do well in that class.

Because learning is an active process, you will eventually learn how to develop your study skills as your time in university progresses. You become more flexible and adaptable when it comes to attaining the proper skills you need to achieve your academic goals and eventually, success.

For further reading on how to take proper notes and listen in lectures.
Please refer to AACC tipsheet: 
and as well as a tipsheet for helpful learning styles in university:

Enjoy the start of your summer with a proper balance of school and outdoor leisure,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Organizing Patio Season

Hello everyone! Like Farihah, I'm also here for the summer to share with you some of the academic problems and tips I think that can help you get through this summer semester.

To start off, I’m Katrina and I am ecstatic to be finishing my Hon. Bachelors of Science degree this year, double majoring in Mental Health and Health Studies. I take pleasure in cozying up in my bed and enjoying a good book or watching an episode of the show ‘Criminal Minds’ or just playing with my dog.

During the summer semester, the main problem I think that students face is staying on point in doing the assigned readings. It seems it is so easy to put everything last minute… maybe even just couple days before the midterm and final exam. It does sound so much more appealing to enjoy a plate of nachos and drinks with friends on a patio after class than spend hours studying in a library... So, having weekly goals definitely helped me get through enormous volumes of assigned journal articles and book chapters, while still having enough time for a fun social life in/off the campus.

I think it is important for students to have an organizer of some sort, to keep track of the academic goals they plan to have. Having a good sense of time management and planning in advance may take the pressure off finishing that huge amount of school work. I find that reduced stress and anxiety can help me concentrate better and finish a task more efficiently and accurately. Having planned ahead also helped me avoid missed deadlines on assignments.

It is also important to keep in mind that planning your schedule should be flexible. I have seen tasks that may seem short and easy at first glance but more tedious as I go through with it. Having good time management skills also allows you to expect some unexpected circumstances (portal being down, books not available, etc).

Lastly, which may be the most important one in this context, planning and completing your goals give you that free time you can enjoy with your peers, without feeling guilty about not completing your school work.

AACC has a lot of tipsheets that can further help you hone your time management strategies and as well as Academic Advisors for further guidance. Here is the list of the tipsheets on the AACC website:

Hopefully everyone is enjoying this awesome weather for the weekend~

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Virtues of Volunteering

Hello world! I’m Farihah, and I’ll be one of the student bloggers here. Allow me to tell you a bit about myself: I am a second-year UTSC student Specializing in Strategic Management. I love baking, reading, and getting involved everywhere I can!

Throughout the summer, I’ll be sharing some issues I’ve experienced while job-hunting, and some of the resources and strategies I’ve used to get myself out of the jobless slump.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make sure you know one thing – not having a job isn’t the worst thing in the world. The free time will allow you to explore different opportunities such as extra-curricular activities, focusing on your academics, and volunteering (which is a great opportunity to expand your network)!

Wait, wait, wait…volunteering? Networking? How are they even in the same sentence?

Allow me to back up a bit; business networking is when you meet individuals who may be able to further your career opportunities, and grant you access to new ones. These people can be CEOs, your professor, or even the bank teller at your local branch. Everyone you befriend could potentially be your key to the perfect job.

If you find yourself unable to find work for the summer months, try to see what volunteer opportunities are available in your area. Refer to the “Volunteering” Tipsheet posted on the AACC webpage:

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, and will allow you to gain skills that you can transfer to other jobs. If you’re particularly passionate about a cause, volunteering at a related charity may end up being your path to a career there. Work hard, network, and show people that you’re passionate, and you will be guaranteed a bright future.