Despite university being a great place to meet friends and grow as a person, it’s also a place to develop academically! Many of us tend to forget about class deliverables until it’s too late. To avoid that, here’s how you can be best prepared before, during, and after your first lectures.
READ YOUR SYLLABUS - and again, and then again.
Too often, students will ask questions in class that could be easily answered if they had just read the syllabus. So READ. THE. SYLLABUS. Course syllabuses are technically worded and can seem very severe, especially if the professor has made it very thorough. The best way to resolve this feeling is to create a study plan and note important deadlines in your calendar to help you get organized.
Will you need a textbook or a special reading packet? See if you can buy it used on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji. If not, visit our Campus Bookstore. Make sure to do the assigned readings so that you’re prepared for class discussions!
Make sure you know where your class is
Is it virtual? If your synchronous (real-time) lectures are happening on Zoom or MS Teams, make sure you know where you can find the link. If lectures are pre-recorded, make sure you can access them! If you have an in-person class, make sure you can find it! The university campus is big but give it a week—soon you will be able to find your way around. Downloading a campus map onto your phone to give you some direction on campus. Even the building codes should be on the maps, so you should be good!
Get enough sleep, drink enough water, and make sure you’re not hungry! These will all help you concentrate more on the material being taught.
Raise your hand
Your professors are experts in their fields of study, so be sure to ask them questions. Your education is more than what is written in a textbook, and your profs and TAs will help you understand course material and review your exams or papers.
Write it down
This is a given, but take notes! Some people prefer to type notes on their laptop, but it has been proven that writing them with pen and paper increases your chance of remembering them. Whichever you choose, have the appropriate materials on-hand and ready.
Connect with people
Say hi to your peers! Not only could they be future study buddies, but they could also be future friends. Having a support system in class will also be useful should you get sick and not be able to attend in-person or synchronous sessions.
If you don’t like speaking in class, see your professors or TAs afterwards or during their office hours. They can give you the tools to achieve your goals, including pursuing graduate studies.
Follow up with your potential study buddies! Reach out via social media or another pre-determined platform. Now you have people to study with!
Review your notes once after class, and once a week after. This way, the material will stay fresh in your brain all semester long, and you will retain the information better for your final exams and deliverables. Do not underestimate this step! A little bit of review can go a long way.
By being ready for your lectures, you can stay on top of assignments and feel ready for tests. Make the most of your academic experience by learning as much as you can!