From some outgoing editors:
Shannon (B.Sc (Physics), ’13) :
- Find a club or extracurricular that you are interested in, ASAP. Friends and interests outside your major are important, and any kind of office-space access you can score will be invaluable for studying, especially if you can store an electric kettle an instant coffee there.
- You’re never going to see these people after this. Don’t be shy to talk to strangers. Don’t be shy to dance on tables.
- Don’t feel left out. Not everyone has a top-notch GPA, though lots of people will try to make you think otherwise.
- Speak up. This goes for both questions and complaints. Other people won’t think you’re silly; they’ll be grateful.
- Talk to your profs. In the future, universities are just going to be laptops and a wireless connection. In-person interaction can be scary, but it is also one of the great things about being in university.
- See a therapist, if you need to. Despite what the manic-pixie-dream-girl paradigm has tried to teach us, anxiety does not make you cute. It just sucks.
- This too shall pass.
(7a. This place will make you feel like crap sometimes; you are never ever actually crap.)
- If you text or call a romantic interest once and they don’t seem into it, they’re just not into it. It’s not your fault.
Natalie (B.Sc (Psychology), ’13):
- You’re allowed to change your mind about what you want (major, career, etc.).
- Once you do find what you’re passionate about, stick with it and work for it – there is always a way to accomplish whatever you want, whether that’s grad school, med school, or something else.
- It’s a good idea to get involved in groups and clubs and other things besides pure academics – yes, it will look good on your CV, but more importantly it will help keep you sane.
- No, it’s not a good idea to start that paper in an hour, start it now. Game of Thrones can wait.
- Sleep is your friend, but coffee is your best friend.
Irene (B.Sc. (Biochemistry) ’13):
- Choose your first lab wisely.
- Move your McGill email to your Gmail to defeat the 200MB inbox limit. First, use Gmail to send mail as firstname.lastname@example.org, then follow McGill’s steps here to permanently move your McGill inbox.
- Google Scholar > PubMed, every time. The former sorts by relevance (a.k.a citations), while the latter just sorts by date. GS points you towards the higher-impact papers that will usually be more useful at the undergraduate level.
- Do things even if you’re terrible at them. You’ll be a better person.
- On the same note, you’d be surprised at how much French you can learn just by forcing yourself to speak it to strangers.
- The roof of Stewart Biology is a great place for lunch.
From some of this year’s new editors:
Deborah (B.A. & Sc. (Cognitive Science)):
- Sometimes attending lectures is unnecessary and a waste of time. This isn’t a moral issue – don’t feel obliged to attend classes where the professor just reads the textbook to you for two hours.
- Prepping pre-lecture notes: it really helps.
- Anki flashcards will save your life if you let them.
- Don’t put up with anything that makes you miserable; you’re in university now, you’ve got the independence to change it.
- Always bring tissues to an exam – even if you aren’t sick, the person behind you might be. And concentrating through three hours of their sniffling isn’t fun.
Kevin (B.Sc. (Neuroscience)):
- Plan out your study schedule. This way you can know exactly what needs to done and by when.
- Organize your notes after class. I found this very helpful, especially when finals hit. I didn’t have to lose any time organizing them before I dove in.
- If possible, take your notes by hand. By copying things you don’t know, longhand, you can help reminder what you need to focus on again the next day.
SLEEP! Here is how I see it: I think I will do better on a test when I get enough sleep and studying a little less, rather than staying up late and sacrificing sleep.
Take classes outside of your comfort zone. There is nothing better than taking classes from various disciplines. (For example, taking 5 physiology classes is very overwhelming. It won’t kill you to mix things up a little!)
Ariana (B.Sc. (Computer Science, Biology):
- Do a bit of work on an assignment the day the professor assigns it. At least you get something productive done.
- If you know that you’re going to have weekly assignments for the same class, plan them out on your calendar and complete them when you don’t have to do anything else.
- Always inquire about how your assignment/exam was graded. Don’t be rude, but if you find something that you are genuinely concerned with, just go up and ask them. Most TA’s/Profs are very willing to look at this.
- Don’t learn new material the day before the exam.
- Work backwards when you’re studying. It seems that a lot of professors like to test material that they taught recently, so it makes sense to study with that in mind.
- I learned this the hard way… but calm down before exams. Oh, and eat, that’s important too.