Beginning to prepare for finals

The final exam schedule is now available and it is time to think about preparing for your final exams. You may think it is too early to start preparing for your finals, but really finals begin in three weeks! Plus, you probably have a bunch of readings to do, assignments to hand in, and essays to write before classes end, so you might as well start reviewing for your finals and devising a game plan before it is too late.

I definitely struggled with time-management and study skills throughout university. It took me a few years (not to mention my fair share of all-nighters) to finally master the art of studying and multi-tasking. Let me share a few oh-so wise words of wisdom…

Right now the important thing to do is create a game plan for studying, like athletes do for big games. You should create a schedule for studying. The hours and length depends on your studying habits but it is really important to hold yourself accountable to following that schedule. Thinking about how you are going to manage your time in regards to studying, classes, extra-curricular activities, etc, is the key to success and reducing exam stress.

I recommend refamiliarizing yourself with the materials now. Especially if you are writing cumulative exams, you don’t want to be stuck cramming a semester’s worth of sociology into one night of studying. It is more effective and manageable to review material over a longer period of time than over a night fuelled by Red Bull.

Also, while you are refamiliarizing yourself with the materials, get reacquainted with the library. It is a great place to get some studying done undisturbed. Sadly, library etiquette has gone astray in the past few years. So please keep conversations about your love life or how drunk you got at Lotus over the weekend out of the library. No one wants to hear it; these conversations are better off held in the FarSide. All in all, the library is a good place to go to get away from Facebook, television, and gossiping roommates so you can get some work accomplished.

So, what are you waiting for? Establish your game plan and start studying!

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Complete your degree at RDC

In collaboration with the University of Calgary, Red Deer College offers four-year Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Psychology, and Sociology with minors available in English, History, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology. This means you may complete a University of Calgary degree right here at Red Deer College!

The benefits to staying at Red Deer College to complete your degree are numerous. A few advantages are:

  • Lower cost of living
  • Shorter commute times
  • Smaller classes
  • More opportunities for student engagement

The time to apply is now! Applications to the U of C for Fall 2010 are now open.

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Get involved- 6th Annual Student Perspectives Conference

Help organize the 2010 SPC by joining the SPC Committee. You can assist with the event publicity, set-up, planning and abstract review. Volunteering looks great on your resume and when applying to grad school.

Interested in joining the Student Perspectives Committee? Contact Christina Verticchio for more information.

The Student Perspectives Conference is an opportunity for students to present their best work on a topic related to the Humanities and Social Sciences, learn from their peers, and showcase the quality and diversity of research and work done by RDC students. The 6th annual Student Perspectives Conference is March 19 and 20, 2010 at RDC.

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Life after graduation

When I finished at the U of C last December, I had an anxiety attack of sorts. On one hand I was proud of myself for completing my degree, but on the other I was scared to leave the structured environment that university offered. I realized I had no idea where to go from here. I was done school, but I didn’t have a job lined up, or even a clue as to where I wanted to pursue a job. So, I wallowed in self pity for a few weeks before attempting to figure out which direction I wanted to go in life.

I have a degree in Communications, and I love it, but I still freaked out when I was done school and had to make decisions regarding a career path. It isn’t easy, especially when you don’t know what you want to do. So, I researched career options through Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS). I knew that there were a lot of career options for me, but I didn’t know much about the careers themselves, so ALIS helped me to research different career options.

I highly recommend becoming familiar with the ALIS website. You can find information on post-secondary programs, careers, scholarships & bursaries, etc. It is an excellent place to start when you are determining what you want to take in school and what you are going to do with it after.

Also, along with using ALIS, I talked to a few professionals in the communications field to help me understand what employers look for and how to obtain experience. They recommended volunteering to gain experience. For example, they suggested volunteering at a newspaper to gain writing experience or volunteering at a not-for-profit to gain experience in event planning. They also said they look for employees who have a wide set of skills, which is where having a BA comes in handy.

So, armed with this new information, I was able to embark on a career search that ended with me being over-employed a week after my June grad ceremony. Doing a little research on my career options made the job hunt more bearable and also more successful.

My advice is to research your career options like you would research your final term paper. Knowing your options and what a career in a certain field entails will help you to know if that truly is what you want to do. Also, if you can, volunteer! It can be hard to find a part-time job in a field that interests you, so contribute to a newsletter for your favourite charity, write for the Bricklayer, or plan events for a student group you are involved with. A little experience can go a long way when it comes to searching for a job after graduation.

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Let’s talk about STRESS

While midterms are over, assignments and research papers are piling up. Not to mention those readings you promised you would read last week that you still haven’t got to. Are you feeling stressed? Worried that you won’t fit it all in? Here are a few pointers to help you keep everything in perspective.

1) Don’t stress about being stressed.

 Seems obvious, but it is really hard to not let your stress build up and multiply. Try to resist feeling angry with yourself for not being more organized or on top of your assignments. Instead focus on what you need to accomplish and how you are going to get it done. It is really easy to let things snowball and your stress to consume you. You need to step back, take a breath and realize that being a little behind isn’t the end of the world if you can focus on how to catch up.

2) Look after yourself.

  The second things start to go haywire; we seem to forget about taking care of our bodies and minds. Suddenly, we exist solely on Red Bull and chips because we don’t have enough time to make a proper meal. Exercise? Who has time for that when you have a quiz, two papers, and five weeks worth of readings to catch up on. Sleep? Again, who has time for that? 

You need to make the time to look after your body. When you aren’t looking after your body you are creating psychical stress. In an hour, you could go for a 30 minute walk, have a 15 minute nap, and whip up a quick, yet healthy, meal. You won’t perform your best on tests or be able to process information accurately if you are neglecting your wellness.

3) Make a to-do list.

 Mark down your papers, quizzes, and assignments in your agenda and estimate how much time it will take to complete these tasks or study. Also, factor in grocery shopping, sleeping, exercising, cooking, and laundry. After you have made a list, create a weekly schedule. Leave space free for partying, 30 Rock, and the unexpected. Putting it down on paper and creating a schedule will help you to see that you can manage it all, if you use your allotted time wisely. Plus, it feels good crossing items off a to-do list!

4) Get some help.

Whether you need to talk to a counsellor, professor, or friend, if you are struggling you need to reach out and ask for help. There are many resources at the college to help with your academic success, so take advantage of these free services.

5) Breathe!

 College may seem overwhelming at times, but you are going to be okay! Doing not-so-great on an exam isn’t the end of your academic career. Learn from your mistakes and don’t beat yourself up over them. Focus on doing better next time and managing your time in a productive manner.

6) Be social.

Start a study group, meet up with your friends for a drink at the FarSide, or catch a movie. You may feel that there are not enough hours in a day to be social, but finding a happy balance with your academic and social life will make school seem like less of a chore. Plus, you need a reward after submitting that 15 page English paper! Just remember to not let your social life interfere with your academics. If you manage your time wisely, you should be able to go for wings on Wednesday and still hand in a kick-ass paper Thursday.

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Why a BA?

What can I do with a BA? This is a question I have heard a lot over the past few weeks, yet I still don’t know how to answer it completely. The reason being, having a BA does not train you specifically for one career, like nursing or engineering. A BA gives you the education and tools to follow many career paths. So, what can you do with a BA? Pretty much anything!

During Perspectives: Canada in the World, Gwyn Morgan said that you make a choice and then you grab the opportunities that are presented to you. Sounds easy, right? Choose to take a BA and then grab hold of the opportunities that are presented to you.

What kind of career opportunities may be available? Well, you could become a journalist, events planner, advertising executive, politician, economist, librarian, human resources consultant, translator, consultant, freelance writer, editor, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. You may decide to go on to grad school and get a masters degree, or possibly a law degree. We say, ‘from here, you can get anywhere’, because we mean it. Your opportunities are endless once you obtain your BA.

It is not easy deciding what to do in college/university. Talk to academic advisors, program coordinators, teachers, your parents, anyone who can offer you advice and guidance. Still undecided? Come to the RDC Open House on November 7 and talk to the Humanities and Social Science staff and faculty.

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5 things to be thankful for

Following Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fitting to comment on 5 random things I am thankful to RDC for:

1) The Study Tour to China.

Summer school has never been so exciting. Expand your worldview and earn credits towards your degree while seeing China from May 27 to June 17, 2010. Contact Randy Johnson or Choon-Lee Chai for more information.  

2) The U of C Collaborative office.

The U of C is now accepting applications for Fall 2010. Contact Jen or Tanya if you are interested in completing a U of C at RDC collaborative degree in Psychology, English, or Sociology.

3) The BA Fall Mixer.

A chance to relax and mingle with the faculty and fellow BA students. Come for food, games and prizes. Tickets are $4.00 and available in 2506 I or J. Contact Christina  for more information.

4) The Writing Centre.

 The tutors can help you with grammar issues, the structure of your paper, and improve the quality of your writing. Unfortunately, they are not going to write that paper for you, so go see them in room 1621 during the early stages of your paper.

5) The BA page on Facebook.

 One more tool to help you stay connected while at RDC. Become a fan today (and don’t forget to RSVP to the Fall Mixer).

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Calling all bloggers

Want to join the blogging community?

I am looking for students in the Bachelor of Arts program to contribute to this blog. You may contribute once a year, once a month , or once a week- it is up to you.

 Even though I like to think I am in touch with the needs of a college student, who knows the student experience better than those currently going through it? E-mail me to set up a meeting at I look forward to hearing your ideas and to having the students in this department contribute to this blog.

Don’t have time to write a blog? Then e-mail me your suggestions, let me know what you want to read about.

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Surviving the first month

Now that the semester is underway, with deadlines looming and the welcome back parties in full force, you may find yourself stretched a little thin. Whether you are a new or returning student, the first month is always the hardest. That is partially because the first month is often the one with all the ‘can’t miss’ parties. Plus, the pace of college is quick and it is easy to fall behind on readings. Now the influx of great parties is not a bad thing, you want to have an active social life, but keep in mind that your professors won’t accept a hangover as an excuse for a late paper. Catching up on all your readings the night before is not the best way to learn the semester’s material; you really don’t want to be in that position. Being social is an important component in your college experience, but have fun explaining that to mom and dad when you are placed on academic probation.

So here are some tips for surviving your first month of college:

1)      Get your syllabus and see what you have due over the semester. This way you can plan your studying and social life accordingly.

2)      If you do go out, don’t go out for the whole night. I recommend showing up fashionably late, parties and nightclubs don’t usually get hopping till later on in the night. This way you can get some of your readings done or get an early start on that English assignment.

3)      Keep up on your readings. It is a lot easier to read your assigned readings as they come then the night before an exam.

4)      Get the name and e-mail of someone in your class. This way if you miss a class because you are sick, or for some other reason, you can get the notes that you missed. Be willing to return the favor if needed.

5)      Get a job! College is expensive, so this can help ease the student loan debt. Plus, having a job will help you meet more people and give you some money to play with.

6)      Become familiar with the library. The library is an amazing resource, from research sources to citing, you can find the tools for a great paper in the library.

7)      Check out the writing centre skills centre in the Student Support Centre (room 1621). Here you can get help from a tutor with any writing issues you may have, such as grammar and punctuation. They are not going to write your paper for you, but they will help provide you with the skills to improve your writing skills. Make sure you don’t go see them the day your paper is do, go see them early in the process. E-mail for more information.

The key to having a good social and academic life is finding a balance between the two. That balance depends on what is normal for you and your course load. Enjoy your first month of college and all it has to offer.

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Orientation has arrived

Orientation has arrived! If you are enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program, our portion of the orientation is from 10:15 a.m. until 11 a.m. in room 2909 – 2nd Floor BCTL. You will have an opportunity to meet returning students, faculty, and to see some of the projects students have worked on in the past. Also, we have a few prizes that are up for grabs, so don’t miss out.

Take advantage of orientation. This will help your first day go more smoothly, making you more familiar with the campus and introducing you to fellow classmates. We want you to succeed at Red Deer College and orientation is one of the ways we try to make your college experience positive and fulfilling.

Welcome to Red Deer College, hope to see you tomorrow.

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