Written by Fraser M. Damoff
Let me start out by saying that coming to Brock University has been the best decision I have ever made. I did my Hon. BA and my Masters of Arts at Brock University and the people I have met at this school and the stuff I have learned from Professors, coaches, classmates, etc. have shaped me into the person I am today.
The reason I am writing this blog is because I want to tell every future Brock student how important it is to meet people in your program and to use the many resources available at this University. One of the biggest flaws in our education system is the lack of advice/preparation given to high school students before they come to University. Often times first year students come to University completely unprepared for what they are about to experience. I was definitely one of those students! I remember going to my first Political Science lecture with a note book, two text books, laptop and a pencil case… FYI all you need is a laptop/notebook for lecture.
I came in to Brock in 2007, and quickly found out that University was a lot different than high school. I was on the Rowing team and favoured basically everything except going to class. As you can probably imagine, my marks were pretty terrible and I was put on Academic Probation after my first year. I was told that if I didn’t improve my marks I would be kicked out of Brock.
I was lucky enough in my second year to meet a few people who I shared many of the same classes with. We started up study groups where we would go over course material for hours and hours before tests and eventually became very good friends. These study groups were incredibly beneficial to my success. I can honestly say that without this group of friends I highly doubt I would have made it through the rest of my University career.
What I learned from this was that making friends in your program helps you make it to class more often, better understand course work (because two heads are always better than one) and after a while having friends in your classes actually can make the classes kind of fun.
Another important thing to remember in University is to talk to your Professors and your Academic Advisor. You are blessed in University because you are being taught by absolutely brilliant men and women who devote their life to teaching and learning. They have also been through University so they know what you are going through. If you have a question about a course, or a text book, what you should bring to class, etc. simply go to one of your Professors and talk to them.
In addition, the Library offers workshops on how to take good notes, how to write essays and what to do in seminar. These classes will really help people that struggle in one of the following three areas (note taking, essay writing, or talking in seminar).
The best advice I can give you is approach your University degree like you would a sports match. Find a group of people who you work well with and help each other succeed. You will find that the people you meet and study with in your program will become your best friends in the years to come. I am a few days away from finishing my Masters of Arts in Political Science and I certainly could not have done it alone!