As an upper-year student in the Concurrent Education program, I have completed tons of group projects! As a result, I have really come to see the value of collaborating with your peers for homework, assignments and especially studying. Even I can admit, however, that group work can be testing at times. So…check out these tips for a successful group project, paper or presentation.

1. Schedule a meeting time. Getting together with the other members in your group can be difficult to organize but is necessary in order to establish which direction the project is headed toward. Finding a mutually agreeable time for everyone might take a couple tries. Leave your options open and try not to be turned off by the idea of compromise; sure meeting up to talk schoolwork on a Friday evening or first thing on a Saturday morning is not ideal but if it’s the only time that works for everyone then you should make a meaningful effort to show up.

2. Figure out what type of group work style fits your personality. Finding that balanced role within your group is important. Nobody likes a “steamroller” group member who takes over all of the work and dominates when it comes to pitching ideas. On the other hand, group members that sit there silently while everyone else does the work just aren’t pulling their weight. A good group member will be a combination of both styles: assertive and confident without being pushy, open-minded and willing to listen but not lazy or disinterested.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and make your thoughts known but also try to let everyone have a chance to participate – group work should be run as a democracy, not a dictatorship.

3. Is your group being marked individually or collectively? This shouldn’t really affect your work ethic but it might be helpful to know what criteria you’re being graded on. Perhaps only some of your mark is based on the group presentation while the majority depends on your personal reflection? In this case, plan your focus accordingly.

4. Divide tasks between each group member. Some group projects require the group to complete the steps together as a whole. For other group assignments, however, you might find that splitting up tasks is a more efficient approach. By giving each member a small portion to work on, the task seems manageable and won’t overwhelm students’ busy schedules. At the next group meeting these “puzzle pieces” can be fit together to form the larger picture.

5. Show up prepared. Nothing can be more awkward than showing up for a group meeting only to realize that you’re the only one who hasn’t done the readings or prepared for the assignment. It is understandable that life gets in the way sometimes and things unexpectedly pop up but this awkward situation can be avoided by sending out a message to the rest of the group before showing up empty-handed for the meeting.

6. Edit your work. If your group does decide to go with the puzzle model just be sure to edit the work so that it is cohesive and free of punctuation and grammatical errors. The paper may have been written in parts by different members but it should all sound uniform with a style that flows throughout. This is also a good time to share ideas with your group before finalizing. Maybe one member has some valuable thoughts on another member’s topic that are worth including in the final product.

7. Rehearse. Practice makes perfect so rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Practising your project with your group before the actual presentation date is a must. This gives you a chance to smooth out any bumps, get a better sense of timing and to shake any pre-presentation jitters that might arise. This might even help you and your group to predict questions that your classmates or professor could ask about your presentation, and to prepare an answer.

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Hello Badgers!

As we are in the height of Reading Week at Brock, I think more-and-more of the school work that I could have done in the days already gone by. Instead I chose to do what only my feline friends do on a regular basis….SLEEP! As with most University students (and maybe just people in general), I feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to actually get sleep; with school schedules, work-life and whatever else we have going on.

So, while we can’t always get that ever-important 8-hours of sleep time in, I find it more than beneficial to find time in our day to nap! According to the National Sleep Foundation – or – the NSF (I know right!? An entire scientificly-based organization on the benefits of sleeping…now that is an organization I can get behind!!), napping is a natural and important part of anybody’s day and a great way to recharge, reenergize and reinvigorate your body to keep going strong with your day just like the Little Engine that Could!

Now, the NSF states that there are 3 different types of napping — and all are a-okay!

The first is: planned napping — my personal second favourite of napping styles — this is where you make time in your day to nap (imagine a world where scheduled napping was part of the workday!). The NSF suggests this type of napping in situations where you know that you will be up later than usual, so that you can ward off that sleepiness feeling you would normally feel without taking the nap.

The second is emergency napping — my least favourite because this means that you’re working too hard — emergency napping occurs when you are simply and suddenly too tired to continue you doing you and your body goes into ‘sleep mode’. I strongly suggest trying to stay away from this napping style, because ironically, it could be a wake-up call that you are working much too hard, without giving yourself a break and you are starting to burnout…

The third is my personal favourite…habitual napping! This nap style is when you routinely take a nap at the same time every day (almost like when little kids have ‘nap time’).

But why take a nap? I bet you’re reading this and thinking to yourselves, “ok Iain, we get it…you like to nap a lot, but what does napping do other than make you feel like you’re living on a cloud?”

First of all, living on a cloud sounds fantastic….but in all seriousness, napping has got it’s serious benefits!

For starters, naps can restore your alertness. On days when you have got just too much packed in to the short 24 hours, naps are a great way to make sure that you are keeping your head in the game, all game long!

Napping has also got its psychological benefits. According to the NSF, it’s a great way to keep in check and make sure that your body is getting the relaxation and rejuvenation it needs to keep pressing on with the day.

Not to mention that napping is safe! Now I know what you’re thinking, “how is napping safe?” well, studies have shown that napping actually improves safe driving! I’m sure that we’ve all felt groggy at one time or another when we are driving long distances (I know that driving tuckers me out…) but still, we press on and keep driving because we just want to get to our ‘Point B’. Well, it turns out that taking a 20-minute nap before driving that long distance can significantly reduce your chances of being directly involved in a “driving drowsy” collision.

All-in-all I strongly and seriously approve of hardcore napping, and I think that we can learn a thing or two from our feline friends; everyone should take part in a nap here-and-there whether it’s planned, or habitual because napping has got some amazing benefits, and Badgers simply need to nap once in a while…

For more info on appropriate napping and to read the full article with more benefits and some possible negatives, hit up the National Sleep Foundation here:

Brock On Badgers!

Safe Napping

Courtesy of: The Wall Street Journal

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Do you love to volunteer and give back to your local community? If so BU wants you! Brock provides students with a number of opportunities to help out on campus and in the Niagara area.

  • Blood Donations at BrockUBlood Donor Clinic- Yesterday, the students of Brock University were offered the opportunity to donate blood right here on camps! You may be unaware of the fact that the Canadian Blood Services are at an all-time low of blood inventory since 2008. In recent months there has been a decrease in attendance at donor clinics across Canada. Brock set up registered nurses and student volunteers in the Ian Beddis Gymnasium from 9:30-3:30 and also allowed students to even get swabbed for stem cells. It’s a simple and easy way to give back and you even get free juice and cookies after! How could you refuse?! It’s in you to give!
  • Special Need Activity ProgramSpecial Needs Activity Program (SNAP) is a developmentally appropriate movement education – based embedded curriculum offered to children and youth with disabilities in the Niagara region. It is an amazing program that allows students at Brock to work with children and be physically active. I myself have volunteered with SNAP and it was an experience I will never forget. Working one on one with children who suffer from disabilities is something that many individuals will never have the opportunity to experience. SNAP takes place Thursday mornings and is a great way to fulfill volunteer hours maybe needed for a course or just make you feel good about yourself and lift your spirits when you’re feeling drained by the end of your school week.
  • Brock University and Habitat for HumanityBrock Cares Alternative Reading Week- With fall reading week happening next week it’s a great time to talk about what to do with your spare time. Brock offers students the opportunity to get involved in hands on service learning projects. Habitat for Humanity is just one of the ways that students are able to volunteer during their reading week.

This year the 6th annual VolunteerFEST occurred with a number of community agencies in need of volunteers. VolunteerFEST is the perfect opportunity for students, staff and faculty who are looking for ways to get involved in the community and make a meaningful difference. Last year Brock students spent 65,492 hours volunteering, that’s approximately 7.5 years of volunteering!! If you’re interested in more ways to volunteer here at Brock check out the link below.

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Alas, it was move-in day! What I thought would be a tiring, anxiety-ridden day turned out to be the beginning of a wonderful journey. As soon as I reached Brock, student volunteers were waiting to help me move my heavy luggage to my residence room. As I was unpacking, my Don (an upper year student who lives amongst the residence students to facilitate and support them during their first year at University) introduced himself to myself and my family. A couple of my floormates even came around to say their hellos and offer their help to get me settled. Needless to say, they put me to ease about this whole “living away from home” deal.

Not only did the amazing residence staff and students help me feel comfortable in throwing myself into the residence lifestyle, but Brock made it a breeze. Brock offers so many support services that help students transition from being a “dependent” to independent. In addition, Brock doesn’t give you a chance to be homesick because there are always fun events taking place! For example, Brock makes each year a year to remember with O-Week (Orientation Week), which runs for the whole first week of September. Just to list a few, this week’s O-Week featured Family Feud, bowling, winery tours, and outdoor yoga. Let me tell you, Brock was everything I imagined it to be, and more! And living in residence played a heavy hand in that.

Without a doubt in my mind, I can say residence was the best decision of my life (sorry Mom and Dad). I hope you all consider residence as well, regardless of whether you live near the University of your choice or not. It is an experience of a lifetime!


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Alice Rabbit2

Hey Future Badgers!!

As we here at Brock U move towards Reading Week and Midterm Season, I thought that it would be a great….time… talk about time management. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned while being a Badger, it’s that keeping on top of balancing school, social and work life is all about keeping organized with time! Below are some tips and tricks that I use to keep up with Badger life and manage my time:

1. Use an agenda!

In high school, I never realised what a lifesaver using an agenda actually was…but as soon as I became a Badger, my commitments got bigger and so did the work-load! (That’s to come with any university really…) My agenda became a key tool in knowing when assignment due dates were coming up, planning for group meetings, scheduling classes and extra-cirriculars and knowing when and where my rehearsals for plays are!

2. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

I wonder if this should be tip #1, because it’s just as, if not more, important! Here at Brock, we like to make sure that students are appealing to both the academic and the social sides of their lives so that they don’t get too overworked. I’m sure that as Future Badgers, you all want to discover Brock-life right from the get go; hitting the ground running! And that’s GREAT, but as smart Badgers, we need to make sure that we can handle the balance of both sides…so instead of joining every intramural and club, band, varsity team, or volunteer opportunity that Brock has to offer, try prioritizing what you want to do the most and give the opportunities that take up less time a shot before taking on 3 or 4 time-heavy commitments.

Visit club tables at the Brock University Student’s Union Clubs’ Fair during O-Week to see what peaks your interest and find out if you can go to the first couple of meetings without a high commitment level to see if joining the club would work with your social and school schedule.

Go to the Walker Complex for “Try-it-Out” week in September to see if fitness and other classes suit your schedule before signing up for a class that lasts the whole semester.

The key take-away here is not to take on too much at once…and of course you can help determine what is too much packed into a week by using your agenda!

3. The Rule of 8

If you’re anything like me, you work on a 12-hour clock and only know of the 24-hour day being split into two 12-hour blocks….and you’re not that good at math. Well Future Badgers, turns out that you can also split that day into three 8-hour blocks as well! Within these three 8-hour blocks, a bunch of things can be done! By splitting your day into 8-hour blocks, you can pretty much ensure that you’re using your time wisely and getting all that you need to get done…well, done.

Leave 8-hours a day for sleep!

Getting in the right amount of sleep is incredibly important in the University life, especially when everything is “go-go-go”. Sleeping for 8-hours not only feels great, but makes sure that you are well-rested to keep up with everything that the day has to bring.

Leave 8-hours a day for work!

This includes class-time and homework. Leaving time to get your homework done and be pro-active with working on your assignments. Getting assignments done early; doing research well in advance and leaving enough time to edit and review before handing it in will definitely help to make sure that you stay on top of your marks! And what better a way to keep on top of your school-life than keeping assignment dates and working-times scheduled in your agenda!?

Leave 8-hours a day for socializing!

This could be hanging out with friends, calling home,  going out to watch the most recent Blockbuster at the local movie theatre (drive-in?) or sitting down for a good ol’ fashioned Netflix binge. Leaving time for socializing is absolutely key to keeping a level head, being a balanced student, and staying refreshed for the rest of the week to come!

These 8-hour periods don’t necessarily have to be “blocks” (except maybe sleeping) because doing schoolwork and classes for 8-hours straight can be quite draining! So spreading these three 8-hour periods throughout the 24 hours in a day is the perfect way to maintain a balanced student life.

These 3 time-management tricks have helped me keep a balanced life as a Brock Badger for the past year and a bit, and I sure hope that they’ll help you too!

Brock On Future Badgers!

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First, we should all take a moment to thank BUSU – Brock University Students’ Union – for bringing a Fall Reading Week to our school! As part of Brock’s initiative toward creating and promoting positive mental health around campus, the October Reading Week serves as a way for us Badgers to alleviate some of the everyday stresses associated with being a busy student. We are very lucky to have this program included in our academic term and so we should use this time wisely! As our mid-semester break quickly approaches, some students may be wondering if this is a time to “pause” or “fast-forward’ or maybe even ‘stop’ our productivity altogether. Confused? Allow me to explain…

Every student has a different idea of what Reading Week means to them. For some, a week off is exactly that – a week to relax at home with friends and family and do absolutely anything BUT think about school assignments. If you are shocked at the idea of spending your week off doing more schoolwork, then don’t force yourself to. This approach is wonderful if it suits your learning style and the demands of your program.

For other students, however, Reading Week is code for “catch up and try to get ahead.” If this method sounds desirable then maybe you might want to study for that upcoming midterm, skip ahead on your class reading list, or even just review some material that you didn’t quite understand the first time. Personally, I am most successful during my time away from Brock when I plan out a tentative study schedule in advance. This involves figuring out what homework it is that needs to be accomplished and sticking to it.  Just be sure to set realistic goals and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it all done; twelve straight hours of reading will be unproductive and drive any student crazy!

On the flipside, don’t feel guilty if you do take this time to just forget about the pressures of school. Perhaps a rest is what you truly needed. It’s important to allow yourself time to process what it is that you’re learning and frequent breaks can kick start this process. Isn’t that the purpose of the Fall Reading Week after all?

Perhaps you’ve even come to the realization that the best way to be successful over the break is to allow for a combination of relaxation and schoolwork. This could mean spending a respectable amount of time doing homework and then planning fun activities as a reward. Plan your days accordingly and try not to tackle too much at once. For example, reading two novels, writing an essay, and studying for an exam might not be possible if you’re away on vacation. In this scenario, maybe you’re comfortable just bringing along some textbooks to read over…if you get the chance, that is.

Well, whatever your plans may be for this year’s Fall Reading Week, remember to take at least some time to de-stress and have fun! With that, I wish all of you Badgers a safe and happy break and I look forward to seeing your rejuvenated faces again soon!

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Interested in being a Brock Badger?! Brock University is home to 24 different varsity teams. Brock University’s Department of Athletics provide students the ability to take part in athletics both as participants and fans. Our mission is “to enrich the overall student life experienceBrock Badgers Logo by providing quality sport programs and leadership in the pursuit of athletic excellence.” Here at Brock we define ourselves as student-athletes due to the fact we are students before we are athletes. Brock University is accommodating to their student’s needs allowing them to excel in both academics and athletics.

Brock is home to champion athletes in both their attitude and achievements. But not only is Brock home to varsity sports such as hockey, soccer, rowing, rugby, and lacrosse, but also club sports which include power lifting, ringette, figure skating, and equestrian.

If you’re not quite up to varsity level, such as myself, Brock Recreation Services offer a variety of intramural sports. Full-time and part-time students with a valid Brock I.D. card and members of the walker complex are all able to participate. I have been able to play a variety of sports which include soccer, kickball, and currently softball. Rec Services provide you your traditional sports such as volleyball, hockey, basketball, and badminton. But there are a number of sports that you may be unfamiliar with like, inner tube water polo,ultimate frisbee, underwater hockey and broomball (for all you Harry Potter quiddich fans!)

Recreation Services ProgramIntramural sports allow you to forget your academics for just a short time and give you the opportunity to relieve some stress and have a great time with friends. Teams usually consist of approximately 12 players but you can also sign up as an individual which is a great opportunity to meet new people and make more friends!

When you come visit Brock for a tour or during one of our Open House dates I strongly suggest you pick up a Recreation Services book found in Walker Complex. Don’t be shy to ask your tour guide where they can be found.

If you’re interested in becoming a Badger, check out the link below:

If you’re interested in Intramural Sports, click the link provided:

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Hey, friends! I wanted to share with you my early days of being a Badger. On what better day to do that than on a #ThrowbackThursday? So let’s rewind to the very beginning: picking Brock.

Personally, I was drawn to Brock for their Concurrent Education programs. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, Concurrent Education allows students to dually complete an undergraduate degree and Teacher Education. From there, “Con Ed” is split into three levels—Primary/Junior (grade K-6), Junior/Intermediate (grades 4-10) and Intermediate/Senior (grades 7-12). What’s more is that Con Ed students are provided opportunities for in-class placements each year (aside from first year)! That meant that not only would I receive an amazing education in a field that I am so passionate about, but I could also connect theory to practice through real-life experience.

Besides education, I needed to know that I would find a friendly community in the University I chose. So one day in high school, Liaison Officers from Brock visited to deliver a presentation. It was love at first sight. Not only did the representative sell me on the amazing educational experience I was sure to receive, she was down to earth, funny, and so eager to help. Since, from personalized acceptance packages to informative phone calls and emails, Brock made me feel distinctive and special. And boy, when I visited the beautiful campus, it was a no brainer! It was decorated with the most beautiful gardens, scenic walking trails and gorgeous open green space. Now what could make my first on-campus experience even better? The Brock students—they smiled or yelled, “Choose Brock!” as we walked past on a campus tour; they respectfully held doors open for our large tour group; even after the tour when my parents and I were trying to find a place to eat, students in a hurry would stop to offer directional help. Now that, you cannot find often. And the rest was history.

So that was the start of the best four years of my life. Tune in next week for another #BrockThrowback!


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Since it’s already a month into school it can start to get pretty crazy with assignments, readings, and homework. However you still need to take a break from the books and enjoy the nice weather while it lasts. One of the many reasons that I love Brock University is because of where it is located. Brock is on the top of the Niagara Escarpment as well as the  Bruce Trail which is located right behind Brock’s Campus. The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest footpath that runs from Niagara to Tobermory which is more than 890 kms long.

This area is great for people who love to be outside, explore, and go on adventures. Decew Falls is a well-known area that is a perfect place to go on a fall day. These Falls can be accessed from Brock University’s campus which is a 45 minute walk or you can take a 5 minute drive from campus to Decew Road and park at the Morningstar Mill.

There are two sections of the Decew Falls being the upper and lower waterfalls. The gorges are extremely steep but if you are cautious and follow the trail down it has an amazing view that is worth the hike down to see these waterfalls.

Upper Falls Picture: 

Lower Falls Picture:

This is an amazing and a must have thing to see for most of Brock’s Students. My roommates and I went just last week and we are already planning on going back there and exploring more of the Bruce Trail in that area.  When going away to school wherever you choose to go remember that you are there not only to study but to gain experiences and create lasting memories, so go outside and enjoy what the campus and surrounding area has to offer!

If you have any questions or comments about this topic feel free to leave a comment down below!

Best of Luck,


Here are some links in case you want to see more info on Decew Falls

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Hello Brock Badgers!

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s October and that means Thanksgiving, Reading Week and Hallowe’en are almost upon us. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to Midterm Season. We are officially four weeks into classes, and approaching our halfway point into first term. That means tests, assignments, presentations, and exams. For some, they could be the first official exams ever given in their University career!

So, here are 7 essentials to surviving midterms:

1. A great pair of sweatpants

Yes, this is number one for a reason.  Everyone needs something comfortable to study and work in to get you in the right mood… especially when we all know no one really has time to study let alone pick out a great outfit in the morning.

2. A hot drink

Perhaps this is just me… but I highly recommend your favourite, classic cup of hot and homey goodness right beside your laptop as you work away. Not only is it rewarding and energizing, but it makes for more productivity!

3. A study buddy

Accountability is key. Having someone to keep you from being distracted and on top of what you are doing, but also to toss ideas around with you while you study, is always a great idea!

4. A quiet study space

This can be the Brock library, one of our many fantastic coffee shops downtown or at a desk in your house – wherever is quiet, and you find you are able to concentrate without anything distracting you. This will benefit you by keeping you focused and much more productive!

5. Communication with your Professor or Teaching Assistant

Getting in contact with you Prof or TA is a great tool to be able to ask any questions or receive clarification on your exams and assignments. Whether it is visiting them during their office hours, sending them a quick email or visiting them after lecture; taking the time to ask a few questions can make the world of a difference.

6. Necessary materials and notes

This can range from pens and highlighters to making sure you have all of your notes from lectures. Take a look at the syllabus, and refer to your notes so you know what to expect. Utilize what you have been given and do the best that you can with it.

7. Brock A-Z Learning  Services Workshops

Check out and sign up for a workshop such as ‘Time Management’, ‘Procrastination’ or an ‘Essays Crash Course’ and even ‘Writing Multiple Choice Exams’.  I personally have taken quite a few of these workshops and have benefited immensely from them!

I hope that these tips will benefit you as you settle into your new midterm routine. Remember that University is all about conquering new experiences, and midterms is simply part of it. You will do absolutely fantastic!

If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to comment below!

Good luck!!


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