UTM Recap #2: My first university term is over!!!

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I didn’t even feel the seasons change. One minute, it felt like my feet were melting into the hot asphalt by the CCT building, then the next, my feet were crushing leaves the colour of the sunset outside IB; then finally, as I emerged from the RAWC and its array of exam tables, and out of Davis, I was crunching on fresh snow.

I’ve never felt time pass me by as quickly as it did my first term here at UTM. Let’s take a look back on the good and not-so-good stuff again, see what worked and what didn’t as a budding uni student, and establish some new goals for the imminent term.

Good! Great, even!

Getting involved

LAUNCH was a valuable experience for me. I learned more about the UTM campus that, admittedly, intimidated me back in September. I met kind, funny people and loved my LAUNCH leader (What up, Sukhi!). It was an incredibly worthwhile experience that I encourage any prospective students to give a try.

Writing articles for the newspaper, The Medium, also gave me an outlet I desperately needed when I felt stressed out about school work, burdened by the pressure of grades, and disheartened by some of my academic missteps. It felt not only cathartic but rewarding to put some of the negative energy I was harboring and instead funneled that into writing (that wasn’t going to be marked!). 

On-Campus Events

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My favourites were the zucchini bread and the gingerbread cookies!

I really, really needed this baking workshop. I remember that day in November, I was craving sweets and then during that day’s LAUNCH meeting, my leader brought up this event and I was so down. We made a wide variety of sweets, like lemon curd tarts and gingerbread cookies, which I scarfed down shamelessly.

The MoveU glice rink was also so fun! I had only ever gone skating twice and they weren’t pretty. The fake-ice was less intimidating for my novice skills, and definitely less freezing. (It also helped that my friends grew up around here and that skating was a regular thing-They were so good!)

MY CLASSES!

I love learning. I feel like I will never stop learning, never stop wanting to learn. And I genuinely loved all of my courses this term, which was all the more encouraging. I’m definitely excited to continue my year long course, Narrative, and to move forward with my CCT, cinema, and writing courses.

 

Not-so-good stuff.

Getting burnt out!

I definitely hustled when it came to all the readings and assignments for the first half of this term. However, I got so so burnt out by the end that it ended up showing. I felt less dedicated with finishing my assignments to the best of my ability due to my lack of time and the pressure of maintaining my marks. It felt like the closer winter break got, the more I let my grasp on schoolwork slip.

Solutions?

Pacing – I think I’ll pace myself much more efficiently, after learning about my missteps this term. I’ve already gotten a planner I predict will be falling apart by the end of 2017.

Reading better –  I’ve found that when I would approach my class readings, I would read and take notes on the whole thing. But then, when it came to the tests, I had stored so much irrelevant information that was just taking up space in my head. One technique I learned in my utmONE course was to read the abstract, read the first paragraph, then read the conclusion. I think I’ll try implementing that method more come this term.

Physical health

Surprise, surprise. I ended up going to the gym less than ten times this term. Tim Hortons donuts: 1. Me: 0.

Solutions?

I think I’ll plan a designated time to go to the gym each week, at least half an hour on the treadmill, or even just shooting around on the basketball court. Anything’s better than another box of Timbits.

 

Important takeaways from my first term

Establish a routine

By establishing a routine, I reduced the stress I would have otherwise had to endure when making decisions. I knew where to be on this day, who I was studying with on another.

Find a hobby

My fresh-faced, September enthusiasm waned a bit into the fall term because schoolwork inevitably grew monotonous. I didn’t enjoy every little thing I was learning so the stress began to grow. However, finding a hobby, an outlet, anything that did interest me helped tremendously.

When I finished a school task, I would play music, watch movies, make art, read a book. And that prevented me from getting too overwhelmed.

Keep up!

Do you ever just get annoyed at those people who just…tell you to get outta your head and do things? Yeah, so do I, so that’s not what I’m trying to do here. I’m just sharing my experiences.

And, in my experience, keeping up with my readings, especially in CCT109, helped massively in my success on the tests. I established a routine when it came to readings: Thursdays for Global Justice and the weekend for CCT. For the latter, I would handwrite notes on the key concepts. Come exam time, I essentially had succinct outlines of all the course material to refer to, precluding an arduous reread of the textbook.

How was your first university term? Hope your break has been restful! Here’s to a better, kinder, more focused 2017.

 

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