How to Earn A+ Grades in College and University | Duncan Koerber | Skillshare

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How to Earn A+ Grades in College and University

teacher avatar Duncan Koerber, University Professor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to the Course


    • 2.

      Don't Choose a Program Your Parents Want You to Choose


    • 3.

      Avoid Reading Those Articles About the Most In-Demand Careers


    • 4.

      Class Size Matters


    • 5.

      Live on Campus if Possible


    • 6.

      Late Work Kills


    • 7.

      Good Writing Stands Out


    • 8.

      No Extensions!


    • 9.

      Skip Class if You Want, But Don't Expect an A


    • 10.

      Don't Look Down


    • 11.

      Try to Care, Even if You Don't


    • 12.

      Avoid Plagiarism Like the Plague


    • 13.

      Don’t Be Afraid to Change Programs Mid-stream


    • 14.

      Writing Tips to Get Done Faster


    • 15.

      Take Notes By Hand


    • 16.

      Highlighters are Evil


    • 17.

      Have a Thesis or Argument


    • 18.

      Practice Essay Exam Answers by Writing Them Out


    • 19.

      Bibliographic Software Is Your Friend


    • 20.

      Know the Online Databases Like the Back of Your Hand


    • 21.

      Read the Syllabus Over and Over Again


    • 22.

      Do the Readings Please


    • 23.

      Professors See All


    • 24.

      Don't Take the Whole Shelf Home


    • 25.

      Don't Sit at the Back


    • 26.

      Does the Professor Know Your Name?


    • 27.

      Study as you Go


    • 28.

      Get Involved in a Campus Club or Organization


    • 29.

      Grades aren't Everything


    • 30.

      Avoiding Distractions


    • 31.

      A Procrastination Solution


    • 32.

      "But I Have a Job Too"


    • 33.

      Remember, You May Need Reference Letters


    • 34.

      Network Like Crazy


    • 35.

      The Lure of Grad School


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About This Class

Are you about to start college or university and wondering how to get off to a good start? Or are you a current student looking to push yourself to a higher level?

This course presents proven techniques and behaviours of successful college and university students. Do these things correctly to increase your potential.

I’m Dr. Duncan Koerber, and I’ve taught at the university level for over ten years. I’ve worked with thousands of students. I know what factors contribute to school success. Take this course to see what I see. What’s going right – and wrong – in today’s classrooms?

Effective students are setting themselves up for success every single day. Ineffective students are defeating themselves.

The course moves logically through important topics such as:

  • Picking the right school and program
  • Classroom behavior to maximize understanding
  • Note-taking skills that reinforce memory
  • Avoiding distractions
  • Study tips to avoid cramming

Meet Your Teacher

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Duncan Koerber

University Professor


Dr. Duncan Koerber has taught writing and communication courses for the past 16 years at 8 Canadian universities to thousands of students.

Currently a full-time assistant professor at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, Duncan Koerber worked for nearly 10 years in reporting and editing roles for the London Free Press, the Mississauga News, and the University of Toronto Medium. He has freelanced for magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

Oxford University Press recently published his writing textbook, Clear, Precise, Direct: Strategies for Writing (2015). Available on Amazon, the book considers the seven most common errors (interfering factors) in writing and how to improve them (enhancing factors). His second book, Crisis Communicati... See full profile

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1. Welcome to the Course: are you about to begin college or university and wonder how to get off to a good start? Or you a current student looking to push yourself to a higher grade? This course presents proven techniques and behaviors of successful college and university students. Do these things correctly to increase your potential. Hi, I'm Dr Duncan Kerber, and I've taught at the university level for over 10 years. I've worked with thousands of students. Effective students are setting themselves up for success. Every single day, ineffective students are defeating themselves. Take this course to see what I see, what's going right and wrong in today's classrooms. In this course, you'll learn how to recognize self defeating behaviours and attitudes techniques to get you on the path to a plus. Grades how to network and expand your career Horizons. Why you should attend your professor's office hours, how to write term papers effectively and efficiently. And Mawr course moves logically through important topics such as picking the right school program, classroom behaviors to maximize understanding and participation. Note taking skills that reinforce memory. How to avoid distractions. Study tips to avoid cramming. This course is useful for people contemplating a college or university career or people in the middle of one. Thank you for your interest in my earn a plus grades in college or university course. 2. Don't Choose a Program Your Parents Want You to Choose: success in college and university usually begins with choosing a program you like. But in my over 10 years of teaching, I see a lot of students to get into programs because it's what their parents want. I was pretty lucky. My dad and mom didn't force me to get into any specific program. I really liked both journalism and English. I ended up going into English. An English literature at the University of Toronto means reading thick old novels every single week. 3 405 100 pages. Your eyes start to bug out when you're reading that much in that short of a time. But for me I loved it. It was a wonderful experience. Three. The great novels, great poetry. I had always been a bookworm, so this was the perfect program for me. But a lot of parents will say, Don't get into English because you can't make any money after wages. Not totally true, because English graduates do well, maybe not as well as engineering or computer science, but they do well. If I had gone into computer science, I would have hated it. If I had gotten an engineering, I would have hated it I probably would not have done very well at it even if I had the aptitude for it. Parents, though, they always want you to take a career that's gonna make a lot of money. Doctor, lawyer, engineer. But if that's not you, don't force yourself into that program. If you've got four years ahead of you, you don't want to be dreading each successive class. Instead, you want to choose topics where you're gonna be jumping into the classroom because you want to be there. You want to learn more about that subject Now, if the program your parents like is one that you like is well, then that's great. Go ahead and do that. But if you don't like it, push back. Do what you want to do, even if it means they're gonna cut off support for you in terms of funding, you may have to take out loans to do something else, but at least you will enjoy the 3. Avoid Reading Those Articles About the Most In-Demand Careers: when I was in high school, I can remember the guidance counselor talking about the future of certain jobs. So at the time, there was a desperate need in the workplace for teachers, high school teachers, elementary teachers. This kind of advice can be helpful. I mean, you do want to go into fields where there is some deficit there in numbers. People are retiring. But the problem is, by the time you graduate, which maybe 45 years down the line, those numbers may change. A lot of my friends were encouraged by those numbers by those retirements to get into the teaching career. But the problem was, everyone was taking this very same advice six or seven years down the line that men that we had now too many young teachers who were now stuck, stuck with an education degree. They couldn't turn around that couldn't turn back. And they had to take on awful supply, teaching jobs, you know, part time work and just wait it out until maybe one position would open up somewhere in the greater area. I recommend not looking at the demographics. I don't recommend reading those articles where they talk about the 10 best jobs because in the time it takes to get your degree, those things are going to change. I argue. It's best to go with your gut to go with whatever your interest ISS and not what the market says is right. I did an English degree, and most parents nowadays will say, Don't do an English degree how we're going to make any money with an English degree. But I love the English degree. I had so much fun reading all those classic books, and I learned a lot about texts that's helped me in my career in ways I could never have imagined. And when you choose a degree field that you love, you're going to get right into it. You're gonna be engrossed in it. You're going to read everything, gonna love it, so you will probably be the best at whatever that topic is. If you love to read books, then is better to be the best English major than to be just an average teacher among 1000 candidates 4. Class Size Matters: if it's at all possible, pick your program or if you already in the program, pick your courses based on class size. There's a problem in higher education today, and that is larger and larger class sizes. School budgets are either being cut or a lot of money is not going to the classroom. It's going to administrative costs. Salaries and universities compensate by stuffing as many kids into a classroom as possible . When they build a new building, they make sure that there is a very large lecture hall, 500 students, 800 students, 1000 students in one room. But this is not a good trend. Students can feel lost in a very large lecture hall. They don't want to ask a question. It might be even physically impossible to hear the student from the back row or even the middle. Or the student feels too shy to ask a question amongst another 499 students. Of course, in this situation, it's impossible for the professor to know everybody, so you really can't get the personal attention you need unless you go to office hours. Sometimes these large lectures are also broken up into associated tutorials or workshops, But those are taught by PhD students, not usually the professor. And since you never get to know the proft down the line, it's impossible to get any reference letters a very important benefit of small class sizes , small classes or my favor because people actually stay, awaken them. They have to. It keeps students on their toes, which is a good thing. You can actually hear everything the professor is saying and respond immediately, and you can get to know the professor and maybe get reference letters down the line. Get recommendations, get advice on your career. You may have to do some digging them because obviously the marketing materials for your program and the courses will often not say anything about class size. Many schools will post their actual fall and winter schedules online, and you can go into those computer systems and just see what the numbers are and this effort is worth. It will pay off down the line 5. Live on Campus if Possible: When I was an undergrad, I lived at home, But my best experience was when I went off to do my masters theory to another city, and I got to live on my own on campus. I think all students should just live on campus at one point, whether with a roommate or on your own. First of all, it's so important because you don't have any commuting time. I used to just walk to class in about five or six minutes. This meant that there was no rush to go home at the end of the day. But if you live an hour away from the campus, you're always thinking, Geez, I need to get out of here as quickly as possible. I need to catch that last train and then, obviously you can't get involved in things on campus. You've got to be out of there quickly, and that hurts your performance. It hurts your experiences when you live on campus. You also feel a part of the community. Schools are aware that students who are commuters often don't feel connected to the campus . When you're on campus, you feel like you're a part of something bigger. You're part of a greater community. You get involved, Maurin things. You care more about what you're doing in your school. You're more likely to join organizations and clubs an important aspect of success. As I described elsewhere. If you have a roommate and you're friendly with them, that can be a relationship that lasts the rest of your life. If your school is in the heart of a city, it can also be great because you can enjoy that whole city while you're at school. Cultural events, sports events. These could be a part of your experience. So when you're planning to start on a campus, really focus on getting on campus will be a nice place to live there, even if it means you have to get away from the security of your family. 6. Late Work Kills: one of the biggest killers of a grade is handing in work late. I would guess about 15 20% of my students hand their work in late. So they're getting 10 15 2030% off right from the start. Before I have even assessed they were. And I would actually say that the biggest difference between the final grades of the fairly good students and the poor students is the factor of late nous. And why are students heading in things late? It seems to be an epidemic today. First of all, some say they're working a lot, so they have 20 hours a week on a job and they're also taking a full course load. So they don't have time, and they have to hand it in late, have to use a couple extra days, so sometimes they have a sudden problem. So somebody dies in the family or they get into a car accident. The work excuse and the sudden incident excuse are just not really excuses at all. I always think in my mind Well, if you did leave the work to the last second when that big events happened, that sudden death, you would have had this problem. And if work is too much, then you've got to drop your course load or you gotta squeeze in. And every moment of the day that you've got every free moment, some work that may mean sacrificing your weekends every week for the whole term, not going out. And if you don't want to sacrifice your phone on the weekends, you got to cut down on your workload. But there really is no excuse for laid nous. You're just letting yourself down. You're just giving away marks, and you're making it a lot easier on the professor who now has a much easier job. The professor can now say, Well, oh, I would have given you an 80. And now I'm gonna take off 30%. You get a 50 and you can't debate it according to the rules of the course. You cannot debate that deduction where you can debate more subjective grading comments, I can honestly say, when I was an undergrad, I never handed in anything late in those days. I was kind of scared of my professors. I didn't want a hand something to them the next day or the next class sometimes that work was total garbage, but at least I got it done. If your excuse for late mrs that you just want to make it better and you wish you had a couple more days, the penalty really isn't worth it. It's better to submit it on time and get a 70 paper men's handed in a week late and get your 90 paper reduced to 60. 7. Good Writing Stands Out: a big difference between the A student. The beast in is in there writing abilities. I'm a writing instructor at hard. I've got a writing textbook, and I know a good writing is when I get a really well written term paper research paper essay, it really stands out from the pack. Students don't realize that if we as professors get a really well written paper, it's easy to mark because we understand exactly what the writers saying. Marking that paper is like cutting through butter so easy. It's a relief. We can mark that kind of a paper in 10 minutes when ah, badly written paper might take an hour. It gives us a chance to say positive things because we're often so critical, so negative in our comments on student papers. We get to mark 2030 40 of the same papers at the same time, so naturally, the best written ones will stand out in comparison to all those other papers and just know there's a competitive advantage here to being a good writer. The reality is the most student Writing is not very good unless you're in a journalism program or writing program, so if you can do the theoretical stuff well in your field, and you can do the writing. You will be above all those other students. And since grades are often relational, so students are compared against each other, your paper will do better if writing is not your strong suit. There are always writing centers on every campus. They can identify what issues you have and give you support. Also, when I was an underground, I used to share my papers with my buddies so we would all exchange our papers. We would edit each other's work. So having that second set of eyeballs on your writing is so important to correcting those nagging errors. Finally, most students are probably too poor to actually afford this. But there are editing and proofreading services on up work dot com, and they'll take a paper you have written and edited, and then they'll polish it up into a nice final product. It's unethical, however tough somebody else writes your paper, but proofreading editing, that's perfectly fine. To help you stand out in the pile of papers 8. No Extensions!: Every term I get a few students who asked for extensions. I have work, so they're not gonna be able to hand it in on time. And they need a few more days or a week. I say Don't ask for extensions because I think you will be created harder. In a way, it's very unfair to all the other students. And that's why I hate giving extensions. If you can ask for one, why can't the whole class just ask for an extension? And then we're just moving the deadline another week. So extensions must come with a very good reason, and they can't be last minute. I've actually had students asked for extensions the day of the assignment. I've had students asked for extensions the day after the asylum. Well, if you're asking the day of or even the night before it's do or the day after, then I am not gonna grant that extension because it looks like you've got problems with time management, and you're just using this as an excuse to get out of procrastinating. Usually, I only give students extensions if they contact me way in advance. So I have had students say that you know I'm going to a swimming competition next month. Your deadline is the night before my competition. Can I have an extension till a week after? And then I'm often willing to give it. That request shows. Actually, a proactive student who's worried about getting the work done on time, not a lazy student who is reacting to procrastination. The need for extensions is usually a sign of bad time management. So, yes, you've got a lot of things to do. But so does everybody else. Every undergraduate student is swamped with work at any given time. Plus, they have a job cluster involved in extracurricular activities. Maybe you need to sit down and think about planning things out better and squeezing work into small points of the day. So before you go to school after on your lunch break, just please do not ask for an extension. 9. Skip Class if You Want, But Don't Expect an A: is it obvious to say that if you come to class every week, you'll get better grades? Well, I'm not sure. From my experience, many students skipped classes and still expect to get A's. Some students are busy with work, so they just try to get the material from a classmate. Others just don't like the topic, but it's required or they don't like the professor. They figure they can just use the syllabus to know when they got a hand in the paper when they got to come to the final exam. But from my perspective, it's rare that a student that Mrs Classes does well. And why is that? Well, the syllabus can't hold every detail. So some of these professors talk about things that aren't listed specifically on the civil of us. But you don't get it cause you're not there. Even a good rubric for an assignment is not enough. You gotta be there when the professor is talking about the assignment to get extra added details. Also, you could do the readings at home, I guess, But the readings air never the complete package. There just a part of the course. It's in the discussions of the current class where I think really learning occurs. So if you're missing out on those discussions, you're not getting that added understanding. And also you're probably losing some percentage of a participation mark. If participations worth 10% or 15% and you don't come to any classes, then you could drop a whole grade category. I also find that students who don't attend because they missed out on some of my instructions they're very easy to grade because I could say, Hey, you didn't do this. We talked about that in class, but you didn't do it. You didn't do that. You didn't do that. So easy to give a bad grade to students who have missed classes. But then, at the end of the term of the students, a bad grade, they complain. But why did I get a bad grade on this? In a way, I guess, the sense of entitlement. They paid their money for the course they expect to get the great because they just handed things in. But of course, is a learning environment. It's not a transaction, and you need to take it seriously. The occasional sickness is fine, or if you have to go to some important event in your life. Just get the material and catch up quickly, but I don't expect to get an 80 year above. 10. Don't Look Down: in my classrooms. It's pretty funny when I asked a question of the whole class. About 90% of the students immediately look right down. They're not looking at notes. They're just looking at the desk. 5% of those students are looking right at me. Their hands shoot up and another 5% are distracted by something going on in their laptop of their phone. Now I'm not one of those professors who likes to pick on students. I always hated that in high school when a teacher would point to me and say, Dunkin, what's your opinion on this subject, even though I didn't even have my hand up? But this is usually a good sign of who's doing the readings, who's engaged in the material and who's not. If you're not doing the readings, really, you shouldn't even show up. Not even for some attendance sheet participation more. It's hard to learn from your classmates comments. If you don't have that foundation of the material and those people who put their hands up, I get to know them and of course they're contributing to my classroom. They're, of course, getting participation marks, but also they're making me feel better. I wanna have a really good discussion going in my class. So these students were helping me out. They're working with me to create the kind of environment I want. Also, I found the students who are participating that generally correlates with students who do well at the end of the course. In the written assignments. This is the old canary in the gold mine. People who participate are obviously doing the readings. They're coming to class, so that leads to success in all of their other assignments, including tests. Now there is some peer pressure in the classrooms of some students don't like the ones that put their hands up a lot. They may have done their readings. They may have ideas with their shy or they're worried that if they engage with the professor in a conversation, maybe they will be shown wrong or they'll be criticized. These are all very reasonable points in some classrooms, not my classroom. But you need to get over this fear if you have this fear. Now, what about the workplace? Are you gonna be the anonymous worker who the managers really don't know? Or you gonna be the one who steps up to offer ideas. Remember, you are in a competition with other students. They may be your friends outside the classroom, but you're in a competition. So put your hand up. Speak up. Get your points out there. 11. Try to Care, Even if You Don't: Let's say you've got a class that you just don't like. Maybe it was a pre requisite those of the worst those the classes nobody wants to take, but everybody is required to take. Maybe you had to take a political science course, so you just randomly chose the politics of Eastern Bloc countries. The professor is not the worst, but he's not that entertaining kind of monotone. And you've got to sit there for 2 to 3 hours of a lecture on and on, and you're so bored. What's my advice in this case? Well, try to care. It's on Lee a few hours. If you can at least pretend to convince yourself that this is a great topic, you will do better. But if you're constantly reminding yourself about how much this sucks, how much the professor sucks, what am I going to do after I get out of this class? Well, it's only gonna make the situation worse. You're almost convincing yourself. Don't do the readings. They must sack. Don't study because I don't want to see that material again. Or the classic question. Why would I ever need to know this stuff? These are all ingredients in a potential disaster. Great. You know that old saying Fake it till you make it. Well, it's sort of the same thing here with the course you may not like. One tip you can do is force yourself to sit in the front row. If you sit in the back row, it's easy to just fall asleep. You sit in the front row, you will be more active, read the material and then go talk to your professor during their office hours. Maybe one on one. That professor will show more enthusiasm. Maybe you will catch the fever of the topic. At the very least, you put yourself in the position for success. 12. Avoid Plagiarism Like the Plague: probably the worst academic offense you can do is plagiarism, But I think that the majority of students I don't want to plagiarize, they're scared of it. They're worried about it. There are always a small percentage of cheaters who will steal things and put it together to make their life easier and try to trick a professor. But many students unknowingly fall into plagiarism because of some problems with their writing technique. Most schools don't say that plagiarism is just outright stealing, even a bad paraphrasing job where you'd use some of the words of somebody else. But you add in a whole bunch of your own words that can be a plagiarism offense. So make sure you understand the rules of your school and you know what it means in riel practice. Because if you are coughing plagiarism, you will receive some sort of sentence, ranging from failure on the assignment to failure on the course to expulsion from the actual school, but size. When I give this warning to students, another behavior pops up, and that is, students start planting citations on every single sentence of their papers. So the right something like Canada's confederation occurred in 18 67. And they'll put a citation after that from some encyclopedia. Maybe, but that's unnecessary because 18 67 that's commonly known in Canada that that's when confederation occurred. Common facts don't have to be cited. Don't worry about that. Getting you in trouble for plagiarism. But of course, the problem here is you may not know enough above your field to know what is common fact and what is not. You can figure this out, though, from the academic writing that you are reading. So if the author is stating certain facts without citing them, and they seem kind of general facts about a country or idea, then you can probably use those without citation. But these were relatively minor plagiarism concerns, and for those of you thinking of passing off, someone else's work is your own. Don't do it. There are dire consequences for people who get caught. Most professors know when something's plagiarized because they're the experts in the field , and we know from some very practical issues that come up. I had a student submitted plagiarized paper once in 1/4 year class, and I knew it right away because her writing style actually changed in each paragraph, so it sounded like 10 different people, wrote the paper, and I noticed that some fonts for slightly different style in different paragraphs, which is usually a tip off that someone has cut and paste on article from the Web. Plus, I knew some of the ideas could not have been her own ideas. I knew the field. So what did I do? I just started googling some of those phrases, and they popped up in a number of academic articles and she hadn't sighted any of them. The final word is simply to do your own work that's best for you and your growth and avoid plagiarism like the plague. 13. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Programs Mid-stream: When you're deciding what program to get into, you probably look at the websites. You read all the marketing materials. Remember those air not often written by the actual professors in the program there, written by some PR person or some administrative person. So sometimes when you get to the actual program, you find after your first year that you're just not interested in it. And if you're not totally 100% interested in your program, it's going to be hard to get A's. The reality of a lot of programs is much different than what you're reading on the websites , and sometimes you don't have a lot of experience. In whatever topic it is, it just seems really interesting. For example, a lot of people want to get into law school. They just for whatever reason, maybe it's the TV shows, law and order. Whatever shows on TV, the law field seems so attractive. But I've heard from students to get into law that it's not what they expected. It's not all courtroom drama as we see on TV. The law career is often a paperwork job for much of your day, so my point in this video is that if you get through first year and you're really not happy and you're questioning your decision, then try to change programs in many schools. Actually, the first year is a non declared year, so you can sample a bunch of fields and decide which you want to choose, Although some others you are stuck in your program. But still, if you do talk to the administration, they want to keep you around. They don't want to lose your money. You can often work a deal of them where you will stick around. You're not gonna quit. They're not gonna lose your tuition money, but you move into something else. Maybe you could get credit course credit towards your new program from the courses you've already taken. So you don't have to start back at zero to get all your credits 14. Writing Tips to Get Done Faster: one of the biggest inhibitors of success for students, is waiting to write until after you've done all your research. It's a daunting task to do all the research for your courses and then think, I've gotta now right four term papers within a week. Actually, most academic research on effective writing processes argues that students should write out full sentences and paragraphs as they go along, not just taking notes while they're doing the research. This way, you work out conceptual problems. You link theories together. You make sure you understand what you're reading right as you are reading it. But more importantly, these little bits and pieces of writing, maybe a page a day add up to a number of papers over the weeks when you are writing day by day. Don't worry about structure of grammar checking, and then you can impose order on it or get an editor or proofreader to impose order on it. Later on. When you begin your daily bit of writing, it's important to warm up your green. Writing is hard work, and staring at a blank page is daunting. Experts in writing pedagogy suggests you should warm up your brain and your fingers just like you warm up your car in the morning before getting down to the dissertation topic of the day. I have a little free writing exercise that I gave undergraduate students in the writing courses that I've taught. This could be helpful for you, so try them. Load up a blank Microsoft Word document. Turn off or cover your computer screen with dark paper. Yes, you shouldn't see what you're writing while you're writing. We don't want you to judge these things. Start writing on any subject at all or many subjects stream of consciousness for 20 minutes . Don't worry about correctness. I mean, you can't see your screen so you can't worry about correctness just right as much as you can. So the ideas come up fast, like water down a waterfall. After this 20 minute exercise, your brain and fingers should be ready to go. Also, you may consider subscribing to a Brain games website like luminosity dot com. They have some really good word games that I find get my mind going. They make my mind, think of new words and ideas, so I have to do those before I'm going to write the websites. Games can help you develop your vocabulary, particularly if you feel your language is stale 15. Take Notes By Hand: Here's a really old school tip showing my age. I guess you must take notes by hand. When I started my undergraduate career university, almost nobody had a laptop. If you had a laptop, you were either a tech nerd or rich. We just rode notes by hand. I've always thought this was a better method than typing it up on a laptop. But it wasn't until recently when actual studies came out where they looked at comprehension among students divided into groups based on the method they used for taking notes and the results were clear. People who hand wrote their notes during a lecture remembered things better than those who used the computer. I could feel this when I was doing my PhD dissertation, and I was taking tons of notes on books in libraries. Months after taking those notes, I could pull them out of a file and I would read them and remember everything, not just what was in the notes but other things from the book, and I could even remember what library I was in. And that's amazing, considering I think I was taking notes of 45 different libraries. You can always go and type things up later if you need to have some database or file with all your notes. But maybe in that first instance, when you're with the professor, you write it down hand, write it in your own words, and then also forces you to digest what you're here. If you can't put it in your own words, you don't understand it yet. I think when people take notes with their computer, they're not really digesting things. They're not comprehending it. There's simply a transcriptionist. You're not learning your transcribing what's being said. There may also be a tendency to over transcribed to get down every single word, the person saying when you really only have to write down the key points. 16. Highlighters are Evil: When I was an undergrad, I was really keen. I was an English major, reading tons and tons of books, and I would take copious notes, page after page of notes. I had a minor in political science as well, and I would highlight like crazy. I had my yellow marker highlighting paragraph after paragraph in those big, thick poolside textbooks. But much later on, I realized this was all a mistake. It's easy at the start of the term to take a lot of notes, you refreshed. You just came off your break. But by the end of the first month, when you take so Maney notes, you start to get bogged down. He started off a stack of paper staring at you, and I always found about halfway through the term. I didn't have time to take all those notes, so it's kind of disappointing. It was like I was letting myself down in some way. Why couldn't I keep up with my previous productivity? I've since learned from doing my master's degree in my PhD that you have toe have really targeted notes. This means maybe one sentence of notes per page of a textbook. It means condensing things and putting things into your own words. But the condensing is so important. When I was doing my PhD and I was reading very key articles so a 20 page journal article I would read a page and then maybe put a sentence or two with some page numbers of what I just read, and by the end of the article, I'd have a couple of hand written pages of notes enoughto generally remind me of what the reading was about, but not getting to too much specific detail. And if I was taking a course, I had a manageable number of pages to read when studying for any final exams. Now let's talk about highlighting. Highlighting is completely useless. All you're doing is flagging an important passage that you think is important in that moment. But once you get away from that pays, you will just forget it. And then you'll have to come back when you're studying and just re read all those paragraphs that you highlighted in yellow so you can see how highlighting is just a waste of your time. It's much better to have a few of your own notes in your own words and use those for studying than having to go back and looking at those highlighted parts 17. Have a Thesis or Argument: one of the biggest problems in student essay or term paper writing is not having ah, thesis or an argument. A lot of papers that air submitted these days to professors are simply a kind of cut and paste of quotations with a few ideas as filler between the quotations. Some papers talk about a whole lot of different topics, kind of like an encyclopedia article or a Wikipedia page, but it's actually rare, and this is a way you can stand out from other students to have an actual thesis or argument throughout the whole paper or essay. Sometimes the issue here is students don't know how to get beyond the influence of these great scholars that they're reading soon. Find it hard to actually have an opinion on the research material or the subject matter. So an essay or a paper becomes a kind of cut and paste job, a mishmash of other people's ideas. But at some point, you have to find your way at the stake your claim amongst all these scholars, and you have to state that claim that argument right away and make sure that every paragraph, every sentence, every fact defends that point I commonly right on papers. Why are you telling me this? Why is this here? So what is an argument? What is a thesis? While you can tell whether you can answer yes or no to it if I say, for example, I am going to write a paper on the effect of Donald Trump on political discourse in the United States, I can't answer that with yes or no. That's not a thesis or argument. Obviously, it's just a topic. It's the container in which you're gonna have your argument or thesis to get far enough to get to this point where you can have that point, you need to do a lot of reading. That's your preliminary reading, your literature review. Only then can you know enough to state your point. Don't worry about whether this is a highly original point in an undergraduate paper. Nobody's expecting you to come up with some brilliant new idea that's never been thought off. A professor just wants to see that you can organize all your material around on overall umbrella point. If you can do that, you'll be ahead of 90% of your classmates. Trust me, 18. Practice Essay Exam Answers by Writing Them Out: In many fields of the final exam, you are required to hand right essay questions into booklets. This forces you to synthesize everything you know and put it down on the page very quickly , maybe in an hour or two. These questions are tough for a number of reasons. The first is who hand rights anymore. I mean, I don't know how to do cursive handwriting way we learned in public school and beyond taking notes down. I really don't do much handwriting. I don't hand write letters and mail them off the people. I don't hand right my academic papers, so it's highly unusual. When you get into the exam room, you're nervous. Maybe you're tired. You have to then sit down and do something you hardly ever do. So what can you do to make this easier? Well, when I was an undergrad, I figured out this idea that I was going to hand write essays at home in practice for that final exam, I would time myself so I grab some paper, mind paper, sit down and say, OK, in 20 minutes, I'm going to write one essay, and it really showed how little experience I had with handwriting. These things my hand would cramp up, my pen would run out of ink. And maybe most importantly, I had to work more on combining my ideas, synthesizing things on the spot and writing something that was coherent on the spot. There's no chance to edit. There's no chance to go back and move things around. Cut and paste these features of Microsoft Word. But handwriting at home was also helpful because I saw all the holes. In my knowledge, I would then go back to my notes and study for a few days or a week and try handwriting again and see if I can remember everything and synthesize it. This does, of course, require you to guess of what the questions would be, but you can pretty much guess if you're taking a care with your notes. If you have coming to class, you can guess what the questions maybe in a general sense. So try these practice exercises to get that mental test, and also that physical test to see if your hand can take this 19. Bibliographic Software Is Your Friend: Is there anybody in the world who likes to format a bibliography? I've always hated creating the bibliography at the end of a paper. It's so tedious. You've gotta have your style guide, whether it's M l a or a P A or some other guide by your side. Maybe it didn't keep track of all the details. Who was the author of that book I had? What year was it published? I forgot to write that down. When you've gone through the whole research process and then writing the paper, the last thing you want to do is sit down and deal with those tedious bibliographies details. Things like Why in a wide is a p A want titles and lower case and M. L. A. Wants them capitalized. Why are these differences even there? It makes no sense. But to your professor is really important. For many papers, there is a section in the grading scheme of the rubric about the geographic formatting, but thankfully, you've grown up in a technological time, and now we have an answer for this. And that is Biglia graphic formatting software. Their software like Sotero Ref works, End Note Center and many of these programs have fully automated. So you simply go to an amazon dot com book page or your schools online library catalog, and all you do is you press a button and it will strip away all those details and put it into your database. And many of these pieces of software will either integrate directly with Microsoft Word or they require you to type in little codes. They just look like in text citations. And then you get this offer to scan, file and put in the proper citation format in all those locations. And as an added bonus, it'll scan through, take all those citations and put them into a bibliography. A works cited references page with just one click to me, thinking back to my undergrad days when none of this existed. To me, this is like magic, and it means I don't have to waste any more time following a stylebook formatting it, making sure it's correct. That's amazing and will save you so much time 20. Know the Online Databases Like the Back of Your Hand: It's really good practice when you start a new program to learn all above the online reference databases from your library. I can still remember the day when we didn't have any online access to our library, so I had to trek out to the library every time. I just wanted toe check on an online article, and anyways, most of the journal articles were simply printed. They were on the shelf. You're doing your degree in a wonderful digital era where just about everything is accessible at the touch of a mouse through your home computer. But what I find is many students, really. The ones they're doing poorly are doing pearly because they don't understand or recognise the access they have. They don't know how to find articles easily, quickly. They don't know how to use keyword searches to find what they need. But if you can learn what's accessible online through your library, you could save yourself traveling to the library. You get that research done for a term paper, probably in half the time it would normally take to track out there. You can find those key research studies that you need to see just while sitting at home in many fields. Most of the key readings are actually journal articles, and since most schools have access to most of these online journals, they're paying a fee to these journals to have that access every year you can conceivably do all your research in your pajamas. Also, a big change nowadays is a lot of journals are going open access, which means you don't even need a library account. Everything's just freed access through the Web. And also don't forget the website Google Scholar, which is great for searching for articles and books and seeing what's popular in your field . 21. Read the Syllabus Over and Over Again: Do you want to know one of the top pet peeves of professors? It's when students don't read the syllabus or they don't read it in much detail. A while back, somebody had a T shirt made that said, Read the syllabus, and I thought about buying it. Professors put a lot of work into their syllabus, their course outline. But most students don't bother to read through it carefully. They don't make note of deadlines. They don't make note of the late penalties, and they definitely don't look at some of the policies of the university. And then what do they do? They ask obvious questions of the professor in class or after class questions that air clearly explained in the syllabus. This shows a student who doesn't have a very good attention to detail and is not careful. That's assigned to us. And it's annoying to receive these questions about you know how much is the late penalty? When is the assignment do? Or the student complains about the way something was grated, but it doesn't realize that those great expectations were listed in the syllabus. So if you're doing any of these things, you gotta cut it out right away because it flags you as an inattentive student to your professor. But more importantly, by being attentive to the course, outline to the syllabus, you are avoiding any potential problems down the road. You're avoiding any disagreements. If you lose the syllabus, try to get another one from a buddy. You can't ask the professor. That's fine. But really, the syllabus is a contract you have agreed to take on these contract terms when you decide to continue your participation in the course. 22. Do the Readings Please: your professors put a lot of effort into their reading lists. But based on the glaze over eyeballs that I see in my classrooms, the majority of students do not do any of the readings. And this is so disheartening. These are often readings that we is professors really enjoy and that we're experts on. And then we come to class and it's like nobody cares. Show you care about these readings release you care that we care about creating these readings by doing them that shows respect Also, More importantly, it gets things going in the classroom in terms of discussion. When I was an undergrad in an English class at the University of Toronto one day, the professor was asking questions and I put my hand up and maybe one other person out of about 20 put her hand up, but nobody else was participating. And I remember he asked point blank, how many of you have actually read the material for today? And only about three of us put her hands up. Well, this professor got so angry that he closed his book up. He yelled at everybody for not doing the readings. He ran out the door, slammed the door and went back to his office down the hall for about 10 or 15 minutes. We were shocked. Eventually he came back, he was more calm and he started to lead. The discussion of the readings Well, is more of a lecture than a discussion, and he just warned, is not to do that again. I believe if you don't do the readings, you probably shouldn't even come to class. Do you think you're going to get something through some sort of osmosis? Not really. You're not going to get enough out of any discussions from other classmates have done the readings. Now what if your professor gives you 200 pages a week? You don't have to read it word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. You can skim. You know, you can at least get a taste of it, or try reading a portion of it fully and in detail and then skim the rest. That way you have some specific sense of apart, and then you have a very general sense of the overall piece of writing. And don't forget to take notes on this because you may not remember what you read the next day, and that should give you enough to be able to put up your hand and offer some sort of educated opinion. 23. Professors See All: When I was an undergraduate student, I was solely focused on my own work, my own success, my own achievement. But when I became a professor in 2006 that perspective really changed on each piece of work that I assigned to my students. I got back 40 or 50 versions of so I could see what was possible amongst 40 or 50 different people on that assignment. But students are blind to this. They do not get to see what other people are submitting. So anyway, you don't know what high achievement looks like across a broad population of students. Most students think they do a good job. They think they're high achievers, but only professors really know because they're seeing what was possible. The fact is, most grades are relational, so the relation aeltus to not necessarily some grading curve but two other students. I remember in one class I taught a student, submitted the most wonderfully designed and written final report, and naturally, when I looked at all the other students reports, they paled in comparison. They look like kid stuff. So of course, he got the highest mark in the class in the nineties and all the other grades went down from there. But in this situation, a student who gets maybe a 78 or in 82 may come by my office and complain, you know, why didn't I get a higher grade? I did my best. I thought I did exactly what you wanted. Well, if they could only see that other students report, then they would understand. I think if all students knew what every other student was actually doing, there would be more perspective on their grades. It would be like running in the 100 meter race at the Olympics. You can see the great achiever, Maybe you saying both running ahead of you and there's nothing you can do about it. That person is just so good. But at the same time, you push yourself to do better and achieve more. It's too bad we can't do this in the classroom. Just remember in the end that professors see all they see what's possible, and that goes into grading. You 24. Don't Take the Whole Shelf Home: late in every semester, there's a really curious seen at the campus library. You'll see huge sections of shelves completely empty, where the books go while chances are a student. And I'm saying one student has lifted away every book on that shelf. Please stop doing this. There's a tendency in some students, usually the lesser performing students, when they go to the library to grab every book in the subject category. They love these home in backpacks and bags, but the books often stay on their floor on a shelf Onley to be glanced through occasionally . And sometimes the unlucky student forgets the day that those were do, and suddenly they have a bill accumulating every day of 5 $10 of late. Fine, my recommendation is, Do not take all the books home and expect that you're going to use them. You should review books at the shelf, decide whether they're useful and then on Onley, Then take that book home. I think this shelf stealing occurs because a lot of students really haven't done any research on their paper topic, and so they just do a comprehensive approach. What I just bring everything home. It's like having a library at home, right? If this is you, if you're the shelf book thief, consider why you need to do this. Maybe you need to start working on your projects earlier. You know the deadline. So there's no reason you can't start a month before the papers do and take a book of here and there as you need it. This approach also makes available all those books to more students as they need them. Don't be a book order. 25. Don't Sit at the Back: Do you know the worst place to sit in the classroom or lecture hall? It's at the back. I know some students they like to hide away at the back of the lecture hall. Maybe they're watching something on the phone or their computer, or they just don't like all the other students looking at them, at least in the back of their head. But when you sit at the back, you are not in the midst of the discussion. You're not in the midst of the lecture, you're on the fringes, and that affects your attention. You're focused your interest Students who sit in the front of the room feel like they're there for a live performance of some sort that can keep you awake. Keep you interested. You also have a better chance of actually hearing what the professors saying When you're sitting right in the front and in the big lecture hall, for example, you can put your hand up and ask a question. When you're sitting at the front when you see at the back. Often the professor won't even see you. If you're not prepared for the class, there's a tendency also to sit in the back. It's a protective measure against the professor may be asking you any questions. Well, that's a bad sign. It means that you haven't done the work and you're using the back row as a shield, a shield against questions against interrogation, you become a passive observer, not an active participant. And throughout your whole academic career, if you want to be in a student, you've got to be an active participant in your classrooms in your campus clubs. So sitting at the front of the room is no small act. It's actually extremely, extremely important right from your first class. And as I talked about elsewhere, you want professors to know who you are. In the typically large classrooms lecture halls of today's campuses, we can't see all the faces. I currently have a class of 400 students in a huge electoral, and even though I wear glasses and have 2020 vision with those glasses, all the faces start to blur about halfway up. But the people in the front row or clear and some of them come up after class to ask me questions or have a chat that helps them learn, and then it helps me get to know them 26. Does the Professor Know Your Name?: very soon into your undergraduate career, you should make sure that your professors know your name. It's easy to get lost in the classroom, particularly in this age of the very large class size. If the professor knows your name, usually unless you're doing very bad things, that means you are contributing to the course. It means you're putting your hand up. It means you're engaging with the material. That's a good barometer of whether you're participating enough. All admit that I was a pretty shy underground. So in my first few classes I sat in the back and I really didn't know my professors that well. But I took a course with a writing professor in about my between my third and fourth year, and I made sure he got to know me. And he also got to know his students very well through weekly conferences, where we would discuss are writing one on one, and then we even wrote a book together after I finished my PhD. We don't want to say there's any favoritism with students, but I know in my experience students that I know rather than the ones who are anonymous, so I don't see they might get a little bit more of a break, sometimes on grades, and I'm a little bit nicer to them. In certain ways, we may be more willing to let something go. If we know who you are, How can you make sure they know your name? It's gonna introduce yourself after class and one of the first few classes and maybe talk about some of the things you're interested in in that course. Also, how for the follow up with emails using your name and then that way it stands out amongst all the names that professor comes across during a typical week and then obviously do very good work. Those students are extremely memorable, too, obviously, and take another course of you can with that instructor. 27. Study as you Go: students are well known for cramming when they're studying. It's almost a badge of honor to staff Really late before the exam. You know, pulling all nighter, do 24 hours of studying. But really, this is a sign of bad time management. You've left it all to the last second and you think you're gonna pull it off, pull off in a just with that last minute studying in most subject areas, this really isn't gonna work. Maybe you'll pass. Maybe you get a 60 maybe you'll even pull off a 70. But to get a really high grade, that's not gonna work. Why is that? Well, you can't really understand the deep concepts of your subject area with last minute work. If you've got to get memory, maybe that cramming will allow you to remember fax such as names and dates and titles. But if the professor's testing comprehension and abilities to apply knowledge you have learned in the course, it's gonna be very hard to get a good grade. So what can be done other than leaving it to the last second? This one's harder, but I call it study as you go. That means attending lectures reviewing your notes after each lecture, not at the end, doing the readings when they are assigned. Not in one big mad rush at the end of the course, making sure you're testing yourself each week. So after you've done the readings, maybe sit down and just write up a 200 word paragraph on what you just read. If you can't do that, if you can't put into words the theories you just read, then you've got to re read them. You've got to study them again. You gotta test yourself again. This way. You're determining what you really know what you think you know on a week by week basis. And if you don't get it on October 15th you have time to ask your professor to ask your teaching assistant to clarify things for you. Then, when exam time comes, you could just review those weekly notes you took. And because you have reviewed things throughout the whole term, you don't have to stay up late. You don't have to stay up 24 hours. Maybe you can actually get a good night's sleep, which should help you on the exam. More than cramming right to the last second, you can walk into the exam rested, ready to go, confident that you know the material 28. Get Involved in a Campus Club or Organization: I know when school starts, you want to focus on the books. You want to go to all your classes. You want to take notes. But there are other things on campus that will help you to. It's so important to get involved in the campus clubs, organization, sports teams. One of the best things I ever did was get involved in the campus newspaper. I wanted to be a journalist. So the week before school started, I actually went to the campus newsroom and volunteered, signed up. They were so happy to have me. And I think maybe I learned more of, of dealing with people, not just writing, but dealing with people in the campus newspaper that in any course I took, I learned about hard work and high quality, and I met friends that have stuck with me for the rest of my life. If you just go to class and then go home, you're not developing those relationships. So think about what your interests are, and I'm sure there's a club on campus that will satisfy their role playing game clubs. There's video game clubs, their clubs based on ethnicities or countries. If you can find a date. In one of those groups, there are fraternities and sororities, and even if you're not that athletic, they're our House League. Sports teams were really nobody has any talent. They're just having fun. These clubs and organizations can help you learn skills, but also they can take your mind off the books, and they can also lead to leadership opportunities that can look really good on a resume. Remember that your degree is only one part of your resume, so you want to develop other opportunities, even if it's volunteer work to pad out that resume before you go on the market, just make sure whatever you take on doesn't take you too much away from your studies. 29. Grades aren't Everything: what? It sounds strange coming from a professor if I said grades aren't everything, unless you want to go to grad school. But I worry sometimes, particularly students of this generation are too obsessed with grade number B, for example, is not a bad grade. I get students fighting to go from a B minus two a B plus, but it doesn't really matter in the long term. Employers air rarely. I mean, we're talking 1%. Maybe are gonna ever look at your grades? They don't care about your G P A. Now many employers do expect a minimum of having a certain degree. That means you just have to get the piece of paper. You got a graduate, and at many schools you can graduate with a 60 or better average across all your courses. So with this perspective in mind, school becomes less about getting a number and more about actual learning. I'll admit my first few undergraduate years were not particularly good. I was, ah, high 60 low 70 student and even got a 55% in a linguistics course in my second year by these were learning experiences. They helped me get better. Many students think they should get eighties and nineties right from the very first class. Maybe that's the way they had it in high school, where grades air often inflated these days. But you actually want to be challenged by the material. It shouldn't be so easy that you do very little work and get nineties. Going to university or college is a step up both in the research material that you're going to read the writing that you're gonna have to do. And it's perfectly natural to take a step down in grades in your first or second year until you figure things out. And then those grades should come back to normal to higher points throughout your 3rd 4th years, I didn't get my first mark above 80 until, I think between my third and fourth years, and I worked as hard as I could to figure out what I was doing wrong in terms of my research in terms of my writing. But then it all clicked, and I didn't get a mark below 80 for the rest of my university career, and I think I'm better off for having received those challenges and to fight through them that if I had just been given an easy 80 right from the first day of class, so focused less on the grade you're going to get and focus on your skills development, the development of ideas because it's those skills, that creativity that's gonna matter after graduation way, we more than your grades on your transcript. 30. Avoiding Distractions: It's easy in our digital age to get distracted by Facebook notifications, phone calls, emails, YouTube videos and so on. And we all know how easy it is to get distracted toe waste not just minutes but hours trolling through the Internet, trying to find the next link the next interesting video. And it's very easy to get lost in these distractions. I know I have a problem with a habitual checking of emails. Even though I check it, there's no emails, and I check it again. There's no emails. I want to check it 1/3 time. If I've got Facebook on, I'll get these little notifications in my browser window and then I click on them. Get an article, or I see an album of photos and end up distracting myself for 15 minutes and I come back thinking, Wow, what was working on Good scholarship requires concentration, and a multitasking mind is a distracted mind. If you need some help with your Internet addiction, well, you could just turn off the router in your home so you can't check every second or there are apps out there for your computer. They will turn off the Internet connection for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, and you just can't get back the Internet connection until that timer goes off. If that's too much for you, that's too scary to turn off the Internet. You can also find little egg timer APS for your computer, and it just involves Will powers you put in 20 minutes into the timer and force yourself to do 20 minutes of really solid work. You may also need to turn off the TV and the radio because if any news comes on, that, of course, is going to distract you as well and really have that focused environment that avoids all distractions. I know this is gonna be very challenging for some of you who are in the younger generation , you've grown up with social media with Facebook, with Twitter. Being connected is like a drug, but it's hurting you, and I'm even seeing it in classrooms where students are looking down of the laptops were chatting with friends while I'm talking and you're not gonna be able to comprehend everything if your mind is that distracted 31. A Procrastination Solution: If you suffer from procrastination and many of us do, consider breaking up each part of your final term papers and other projects into smaller tasks, then complete those very small tasks, crossing them off a to do list. For example, if your next major aspect is to start the literature of you, you could list the following small tasks Monday. Go to the online database, search the keywords and download six relevant articles. Tuesday. Skin The abstracts of the articles and take notes. Wednesday. Decide on which articles to read more closely. Read at least one of those articles today and take notes Thursday. Read the rest of the articles and take notes. Friday. Summarize notes into a focus coherent 1000 word documents. Each one of these tasks is not major. They're all doable, I think, individually, in a few hours, they're not. Mountains decline by the end of the week, you should have crossed off all these tasks. When you look at that list of things crossed off, you should feel like you accomplished something and maybe more importantly, you've produced 1000 words, and that 1000 words may start off one of your term papers this piece by piece approach makes things seem manageable. If you had had simply one task on your to do list, I want to write 1000 words about some articles. The path to that goal may not have seemed very clear, and maybe you wouldn't have felt like you were accomplishing things as the week went along because you weren't crossing off any tasks. You can take any task and break it down into smaller and smaller units, and this is what I did to always feel like I was accomplishing something every single day of my dissertation work. 32. "But I Have a Job Too": now, this may be a subjective observation, but I've been in universities a long time, both as a student and as a teacher. But I think students today are taking on more work. They're working longer hours at jobs, then the students back when I was an undergrad. This may be out of necessity, so tuition costs have gone up and parents can't necessarily afford to help out their kids anymore. So naturally, students turn to side jobs, part time jobs that may amount to 20 or 30 hours a week, and that makes it even harder to get studying done. To get readings done, Teoh be awake in class, and scholarships are not available. So what can you do in this circumstance? First, you need to prioritize, so you may decide to lower your hours. But take on a little bit of debt so that you can focus on your studies. People who get degrees do make more money than people who don't have degrees. If you really do need to work the 20 hours, one thing I've noticed is a lot of students take on some really crappy jobs. They'll do 20 hours a week at some fashion outlet where they're making really minimum wage when there are jobs online. For example, on up work dot com, they will pay you more than minimum wage way more than minimum wage 25 $30 an hour. Also in our new economy online, there are a lot of jobs that involve doing things for other people on a piecemeal basis. You can do tasks on a site called Task Rabbit. You can drive people around with uber. If you have a car, you can do deliveries with your car on a site called Postmates. On some sides, you can even just use your bike or walk deliveries around the city. Some five farms will pay you to go and do some market research, so just go into a store, take a picture of a display and send it back. These jobs can pay well and a very flexible You do the work when you have time instead of being locked into a low paying job at a specific location. Also, there's another way you could find time, and that is not to party on the weekends. I know this will be hard for some of you to avoid partying for 12 weeks or however long your term is. But that will free up your weekends if you're not working on those days and you'll be more fresh. Com. Monday morning I know you wanna have a life with your buddies and go out and go drinking, but this is important in this degree, and I think you have to really focus on it. Have your social opportunities in your clubs during the week after class, and by reducing the partying or eliminating it until you finish the term. You've got a few extra hours there to get your school work done. 33. Remember, You May Need Reference Letters: I teach close to 600 students every year. But how many of those students do I really get to know? And I just mean how many students can I put a name to a face with? How many students could I write? A reference letter for right now off the top of my head, saying very specific things about their success? Well out of those 600 students, maybe two, maybe three. Why is this happening? Why do I get to know so few students in this way? Well, usually it's because students are unwilling to engage with me, whether it's in class, whether it's in my office hours. My office hours are some of the loneliest times that I have on campus. Almost nobody comes by during the term except after they get a grade back, and they want to talk about it occasionally near the end of someone's academic career, and I've had them in a couple of classes. They'll actually come to me and say, Sir, I was in your X class. I was in your Y class. I need a reference letter for grad school from a professor. Could you write me a letter? But These were not the students who came to my office hours or talk to me after class or emailed me occasionally to chat about things who seemed to really care about the subject matter. Many of them got 75 78%. Not great, not bad. But I have to turn them down. I have to say that I cannot write a reference letter for you because I don't have enough detail. I didn't really know you over those couple of courses. So the very least get to know your professors because they may help you with those kinds of things down the line. And, more importantly, you may develop some intellectual relationship that carries on years and years down the line. As an undergrad, I got to know a professor of writing at the University of Toronto who was just fantastic. We would talk about all kinds of things in his office, not just the course material I got good grades in his class is, but most importantly, became a friend, a colleague, and later we actually went on to write a book together. Now I wasn't thinking of these things back when I was an undergrad. I was just going to see him. He was a good guy, but there was a bigger payoff down the road. 34. Network Like Crazy: vast majority of students who go to class simply go home after. But this is a huge mistake. University is not just about the classes, but also about networking. Some very smart people even choose schools where the possibility for networking in their field is highest. So the connections their program provides are often more important than the degree itself. Identify opportunities for networking in your field, such as wine and cheese events that air held by your program. Field specific clubs where they may be bringing in a guest speaker. Some schools will offer excursions to workplaces or two major events where important people in the field will be. At these events, you need to get over your shyness and go up and have a chit chat with the important people in your field. You may not have much to say, but you can ask questions of them. This helps you learn about what it's gonna be like after graduation in your field, you may learn about upcoming events or internships, and the important people you're talking to may even remember you down the line. If there comes a point when you are applying for a job. Also, network across campus joint clubs where you may make friends you'll have for the rest of your life, whether you or your friends air successful down the line. Everybody kind of brings everybody up 10 20 years down the line. Those people can trust you. They may hire you, or you may want to hire them now. The payoff for this networking may not be next month. It may not be. Next year may not be for 10 years. You never know when it's gonna pay off. But just know that networking never hurts, and the payoff may surprise you years down the line. 35. The Lure of Grad School: In a previous lecture, I mentioned that you shouldn't really worry about greats except if you're going to grad school now. Most people don't have this concern. They just want to get out. They want to get their certificate, get their degree and move into the working world. And so what happens is they just don't put much time and effort into their schooling. Maybe they've got a job on the side, but they're involved in an organization. But then, about halfway through their degree, they realize whom maybe I would like to do a master's degree in my field. I was this student. When I started my English degree. I was doing all the readings. I was really interested in it, But I had a side job. I really wanted to be a journalist after I got my degree. So I was working at the campus newspaper, one of the most amazing experiences of my whole life. I even became the editor of the newspaper for two years, which is really a full time job. So while I was doing all the readings for my courses, I wasn't putting as much effort into my written assignments and my grades were mediocre. But then I had heard an issue that was coming up, and that is that Now that everybody seems tohave a degree of first degree in society there , there really is a lot of differentiation between job candidates in many countries. Now you need to have a second degree just to stand out, and there's a proliferation of Masters degree programs to tap into this. So I started to change tack a bit. I started to focus a little bit more on getting those grades up to get into grad school, and I did. But thankfully, most graduate school programs on Lee look at your last two years of grades, so years three and four of a typical four year bachelor's degree. So keep those options open and remember that if things are not going so well in your first year, you don't really have to worry about it. But you do want to bring those grades up. If you have any aspirations for a post grad degree,