How to make Major choices

As you reach the end of your first year in college, you may begin to experience some anxiety related to your choice of a Major. Maybe you want to change your Major from English to Sociology, but wait Psychology is looking really good too… That is completely normal! Personally, it took me almost three years and multiple changes of my Major to finally settle on a Major that I loved. Or, possibly you have not chosen a Major yet, which also is completely normal.

The great thing about the world today is there are so many career and education opportunities available to you. However, you may also feel that this is a bad thing because out of all the opportunities out there, how can you only pick one?

Well, if those Bachelors and Bachelorettes can find their ‘soul mates’ on reality television, then you too can find your ‘soul Major’ while in college.

If you don’t feel a pull towards a certain Major, you should try this Choosing a College Major Worksheet to help you map out where you would like to be in the future, as far as education and your career go. If anything this worksheet will force you to think about what exactly your career and life goals are, so you will have a better idea of what steps are needed to complete your goals.

The main point to keep in mind about choosing a Major is that it is not worth stressing out about it! Don’t turn choosing your Major into a major headache. Utilize the resources available at RDC, talk to professors and professionals in a field you find interesting, find your passion and you will enjoy the rest of your academic career.

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Start thinking about summer

Yes, you read that right. I want you to start thinking about summer! However, I am not talking about tanning, swimming, and parties. I want you to start thinking about your summer job. The Winter Term may have just begun, but many companies are already recruiting students for summer positions. In order to nail down a wicked internship or summer job, think about the following questions:

  1. Are you looking for fun or for experience? If you want a serving job that will allow you to enjoy your summer and make decent cash, then you don’t really need to put much thought into your plans just yet. However, if you are hoping to gain experience in the field you are studying, it is time to start looking for work. It will be difficult to find a job in your specific field if you wait until finals are over.

    What you can do right now is regularly check out sites like the Government of Canada Job Bank and Talent Egg for student opportunities. There are not that many at the moment, but keep an eye on these pages over the next few months.

  2. What sort of job do you want? If you don’t know what kind of job you want (both for the summer and as a career), you can try volunteering for different companies in a variety of positions. This will help you to figure out what sort of work you enjoy, and it will also look great on your resume.

    You could also take a career quiz to help figure out what kind of work you are interested in. Now, I don’t think you should put a lot of weight into these career quizzes, but I am guilty of going to a psychic for career guidance. I feel that you really do know deep in your heart what you want to be and sometimes having your dream career validated through a quiz or a psychic is the push you need to take a chance and pursue your dream.

  3. Is your resume ready? Check out the Counselling, Career & Learning Centre in room 1402 for help with your resume and your job search. Their expertise can help you throughout the entire job search process, from creating your resume to accepting a job offer.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your summer job search today.

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The 411 on the Student Perspectives Conference

Lately, I have been making the rounds discussing the upcoming Student Perspectives Conference (SPC), but in case I have missed you, here is the gist of why you should present in the 6th Annual SPC:

  • Great experience, as you are presenting in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.
  • Chance to show an audience beyond just your instructor the work that you have done. Too often great papers end up shoved in the bottom of desk drawers, SPC gives you an opportunity to show off that paper/project/presentation.
  • Allows you to gain confidence presenting in front of people. If you don’t like public speaking, then this conference is a way to help overcome that fear.
  • You can add “Conference Presenter” to your resume, your grad school applications and your CV (curriculum vitae, which is a list of your accomplishments).
  • Submitting your final paper/project to the Proceedings CD means that you can claim a publication on grad school applications, resume and CV.
  • Free food and swag!

Want in on the action?

1) Download the abstract guide.
2) Complete an abstract on your work and complete the abstract cover sheet.
3) Submit a hard copy of your abstract and cover sheet to Christina Verticchio (room 2506 H) or Tanya Harding (2506 I) or email an electronic copy to Abstracts are due February 22, 2010.
4) Start practicing your presentation for the conference on March 19 and 20, 2010.

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Keeping those resolutions

A new year and a new semester, time to make those resolutions (and stick with them).

I know it is really easy to make resolutions, but so hard to keep them. A general rule of thumb is to make goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time based). In essence, you want to avoid setting yourself up for failure.

So, here are some common resolutions of college students and some tips on how to keep them:

1)       I will not leave my studying to the night before an exam.
We all say this, yet on the night before an exam we are dusting off our textbooks and pulling all nighters. To avoid ODing on caffeine and panicking:

  • Keep up on assigned readings, this way you won’t be stuck reading 9 chapters of sociology in one night.
  • Create a study schedule, and hold yourself to it. Plus, little rewards like ‘I can’t watch the Jersey Shore until I finish my readings’ will help.   
  • Chose one day on the weekend that you dedicate to homework. Sundays are great ‘me’ days, so lock yourself in your room or head to the library and get your work done.

2)      I will be more involved on campus.
Since hanging out at the FarSide and singing karaoke does not count, here is how you can get more involved at RDC:

  • Check with the SA for volunteer opportunities, like writing for the Bricklayer, and clubs around campus.
  • Become a peer tutor. If you have a GPA of 3.0 and a grade of at least a B in the course you would like to tutor, you may qualify to be a peer tutor. This is not only a paying job, but an opportunity to further your own understanding of a particular subject, help other students with their learning, and it looks really good on your resume. Contact the Counselling, Career & Learning Centre Team in room 1402 by phone 403.343.4064 or via email at . Orientation and training is January 21, so contact them as soon as possible to set up an interview and submit your application.
  • Participate in the Student Perspectives Conference. Share with your family, friends, and peers your outstanding work in a topic related to the Humanities and Social Sciences. Abstracts are being accepted until Monday, February 22. Contact Christina for more information.

3)      I will go to all my classes.
This goal is a little unrealistic, since sometimes life throws curveballs that you can’t avoid, like the flu and car troubles. A better resolution is, I won’t intentionally miss classes. This goal allows for life to happen, and for you to recover from that cold. Maybe your resolution for next year can be I will be more engaged in class, but just attending is a good start! Plus, teachers do notice when you attend class and may be more likely to help you, since they don’t think you are a slacker.

4)       I will be more organized.
Unfortunately college can be a hectic time, with all the assignments, group meetings, and exams. So, before you start missing meetings and handing in assignments late, take steps to organizing your Winter Term now.

  • Use your student planner, keep your notes in a binder, input due dates in your phone, use dividers… There are so many tools out there to help you become more organized; you just need to actually use them.
  • Sign up for Grade Fix, it is an easy way to get organized and plan out your semester.
  • Every night go through your materials and put them in their place. There is nothing worse than looking through your notes before an exam and realizing you have misplaced lecture notes.

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The 2010 Winter Term at RDC has arrived

Sadly, the Winter break is now over and school is back in session. Hopefully, the effects of eggnog have worn off and you are ready to hit the books for the Winter Term. Here are a few points to consider for the upcoming week and term:

1.     A few important dates you need to be aware of:

  • First day of classes- January 6
  • Last day to day Winter Term fees- January 11
  • Last day to add/drop Winter Term courses- January 13
  • Last day to withdraw from full year courses and receive a WD- January 13
  • Reading week- February 15-19
  • Student Perspectives Conference abstracts due- February 22
  • Last day of classes for the Winter Term- April 12

2.     The Bookstore:

  • The bookstore has extended hours until January 13
  • Used books or course packages can only be exchanged during the first week of classes
  • All exchanges or refunds must be in original packaging and accompanied by a receipt within 14 days of purchase.
  • Also, check out the Students’ Association (SA) used bookstore (located in the SA office- room 2010) for required texts. You may be able to pick up used texts for cheap here.

3.     Random:

Enjoy the first week of classes and don’t worry, reading week is only 5 and a half weeks away!

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Winter break is finally here!

A few things you should do over the break:

1) Get your books now and beat the first week rush. By now, I mean now! The bookstore is closed from 11:00a.m. on December 24 until January 4. Online orders will not be processed during this time.

2) Pay for your Winter classes, either online or at the cashiers. Tuition is due January 11, 2010. If you have any payment questions, contact the RDC cashiers.

3) Whether you go for a sleigh ride at Heritage Ranch, spend the day on the slopes at Canyon, or go skating at a neighbourhood rink, get outside! Winter may not have the best weather, but there are plenty of fun winter activities to enjoy.

4) Work on your Student Perspectives abstract for the 2010 SPC. Deadline for submission is February 22, 2010. For more information, contact Christina Verticchio.

5) Celebrate the short break from classrooms, books, and assignments. Enjoy the festivities with your family and friends. Build gingerbread houses, drink eggnog, and wear ugly sweaters. For some reason, Christmas is the one time of year where the little kid in us appears, wanting to watch Frosty the Snowman, not being able to sleep Christmas Eve and rushing down to the tree first thing in the morning. Relish this time, because school will be back in session before you know it.

Happy Holidays to all! See you in the New Year.

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Top ten of 2009

Everyone is putting out their “top ten” lists, so I figured I may as well follow suit.

I have chosen to do a top ten of academic websites of2009. The majority are blogs, some are resources, all valuable.

In no particular order:

1)      College Candy  – Funny, yet insightful. Superficial, yet refreshing. College Candy is a humorous blog on a variety of college related issues.

2)      Zen College Life – Tips on overall wellbeing in college. Not overly preachy, just a helpful voice of reason.

3)      Make Use Of – Learn about all sorts of free computer resources from an arrangement of topics. From dieting to microblogging, you can learn how to do all those things you never knew you wanted to learn through this site.  

4)      Gearfire – More academic and lifestyle tips, such as, saving a wet cell phone and  4 ways to use Wikipedia.

5)      Grade fix – Remember when I was harping on you about creating a schedule? Well, grade fix can help you do that, for free!

6)      Poorer Than You – Great financial tips and advice.

7)      Rate My Professors – Not very useful, but quite funny. Teachers are rated not only on their quality of teaching, but their good looks too. Therefore, I wouldn’t rely too much on the ratings offered.

8)       Life After College – Okay, so not based on the college experience, but it is humorous and real, giving you the inside track on what you may expect when you are finished college.

9)      Study Hacks  – Wonderful strategies on how to become a successful college student.

10)   This very blog you are reading right now. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

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48 hours…

Finals start in less than 2 days, so here are a few quick tips about preparing for exams:

  • Avoid drinking the night before your exam. Alcohol deprives you of a quality sleep, so you won’t feel rested and focused the day of an exam.
  • Review, recite and then relax! Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Trying to cram information in while you are exhausted will not benefit you.
  • On the day of the exam, eat light, well-balanced meals to provide you with energy. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine. You should have your cup of coffee or energy drink, but you do not want caffeine jitters to impact your test performance.
  • During the exam, relax! Take a deep breath, read over the entire exam, and then show that exam who is boss.  

Now, stop reading this blog and get back to studying! Good luck on your finals and enjoy your winter break.

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Last day of classes! Time celebrate or time to study?

It is the last day of classes!

Since finals don’t start for a few days, you may be thinking about going to the FarSide tonight to celebrate. Then maybe you will go out again tomorrow, Thursday, and maybe for a bit on Friday. I mean, you can ace that economics final hung-over, right??  

Yes, you deserve to celebrate the end of classes, but it is not the end of the semester until finals are over. If you don’t have any finals, go out, have fun, and share your secret scheduling tricks with the rest of the BA students. If you do have finals, it is a little premature to celebrate the end of the semester just yet. I mean, look at the Grey Cup. The Rough Riders (and their fans) went from complete ecstasy over winning the Grey Cup, to complete shock upon realizing that the game actually was not over and that they had lost. Cruel analogy? Probably, but you get the idea.

My last advice to you was to establish your game plan and start studying. If you followed my advice, which I am sure you didn’t, you will have already begun the studying process and nailed down which areas you need to focus on. If you didn’t follow my advice, it is crunch time!

Study tips:

  • Go back to the schedule you have created for studying (or create a schedule for studying). Remember to factor in time to sleep, eat, exercise, play on Facebook, and watch 30 Rock. Tweak the schedule if you are not getting enough done, or if you are way ahead of schedule.
  • When it comes to your place of study, choose wisely. It is not always the best idea to study at home because there are too many distractions (ex. your laptop, roommate, cable TV). If you can turn everything off, and leave it off, you may be able to get some work done. Or check out the library, which can be the ideal place to study, free of noise and distractions.
  • Set a study goal for the day and make sure your goal is based on the amount of material covered, not the time it takes. It is really easy to waste time and say that you were studying. So, instead of saying you will study History for two hours; say you will review all the chapters up to WWII. This may take longer than two hours, but you left room for the unexpected in your schedule, right?         
  • Study for 30-50 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute breather. If you are not studying ‘actively’ then you are just wasting your time. Do not study tired, you need to study with attention and purpose. Create flash cards, ask yourself questions, do not just read aimlessly.
  • Stop reading this blog and get back to studying! Unless, of course, you are on your 5-10 minute breather.

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Speakers Wanted: Call for Submissions for the 6th Annual Student Perspectives Conference

Want to present in the 2010 SPC? Abstracts for the 2010 SPC are now being accepted until February 22, 2010.

Please refer to the 2010 Abstract Submission Guide for more information.

Not sure what SPC is all about?

  • Occurs annually in March. This year it will be held March 19 and 20, 2010 at RDC.
  • Opportunity for students to showcase their work related to the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Organized by students and faculty from the department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Why you want to present in the 2010 SPC:

  • Polish your presentation skills
  • Show off to your family and friends
  • It looks good on your resume and/or grad school application
  • Supportive environment
  • Overall great experience

You may be thinking “Yeah right, I hate presentations” or “Why would I do this? I don’t even get marks for it”. So you hate presentations- this is a great chance to show your nerves who is boss. Plus, when you are the head of a massive multi-national conglomerate, you are going to have to speak in public. You might as well start your quest for world domination now.

Also, you may not get marks for this, but the experience is totally worth it. Besides looking good on your resume, it is also a great chance to perfect your presentation skills. So, although you may not be getting marks for your presentation, you always won’t lose any marks if you stumble over a line or two. It is an encouraging and supportive learning experience, one that you won’t regret participating in.

For more information on how you can participate in the 2010 SPC, contact Christina Verticchio.

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