Tips for Thriving as a Student

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So – you’ve done what it takes to start College this fall.  You have invested money, time and energy to get into the program of your choice and now you want to have a fantastic year that moves you towards your personal and career goals.

Here are some tips for THRIVING as a Selkirk College Student:

Check out the learning skills website for tips on studying, time management, motivation and lots more: http://selkirk.ca/services/student-support-services/learning-success-centre

Better still – go and check out the Learning Success Centre closest to you – friendly staff, great resources for learning and staying on track as a student!

* Create a study schedule where you block in periods of time for each course (approximately 2 hours studying for every hour of class time). Learning Skills centres have calendars for the term or some students have made big calendars for each month and put them on their wall so they can see due dates, tests and block out times for study, exercise, fun, work etc.

Work lessIf you have a job, try and keep the hours down to less than 15 hours of work a week once classes begin.  You will need to think of learning as your major job for the next 8 months!

Get a life coach!  This is a staff person who will touch bases with you every couple weeks to see how you are doing with your academic and personal goals.  They help you develop action plans to stay on track with health, studying and balancing your life.  E-mail  coaching@selkirk.ca    for more info or an application form.  In the real world this kind of service costs big bucks so why not make use of FREE coaching now to help you develop great habits and attitudes.

*  Eat good food. Move Your Body. Sleep 8 hours a night.  Your brain and body need  nutrition and exercise so you feel rested, energized and ready to learn.  Find a partner to go for a walk or go to yoga classes with you.  Research consistently shows that having an accountability buddy, radically ups the chance that you will follow through on healthy habits.

* Join a club, service project or sport.  Research shows that students who are engaged in extra-curricular activities do better academically, stay healthier  and have more fun!

Introduce yourself to other studentsEven if it feels awkward, make a point of talking to new peopleSit next to someone you don’t know and start a conversation by finding out what school they went to last year or what other classes they are in.  The more connected you are the more you will enjoy your education.  Talking to others helps you create  a learning community that enriches your learning and supports  you to reach your goals.

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* Reach out to Student Support Staff.  Learning skills instructors, tutors, writing and math centre teachers, counsellors and disability services advisors are all there to help you, but they aren’t much good to you if you don’t make a point of going and asking for help.

Here is the Student Support Staff – smiling and ready to help you have a great year!

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Student Support Services – a wonderful team of fun, caring staff to support students to reach success academically and personally!

* Write down your goals.  Being clear on why you are at college will help you stay focussed.  If you need help figuring out career directions, make an appointment with a counsellor to help clarify your overall directions and vision for your future.  (Phone 250-365-1273 f or 250-352-6601 to set up career counselling  or Life Planning appointments)

Keep an open mind set about your academic strugglesDoing poorly on a test or assignment isn’t a problem if you use it to learn how to improve next time.  See it all as a learning experience.  You are here to get new information and skills,  but you are also in a process of figuring out how your mind works, what study methods work the best for you, how all these new experience and course material fits with your values and aspirations.  If you can take  a low mark as an opportunity to be curious about yourself and learning process you can create a plan for improvement.  Again – the learning skills centre, tutors, instructors or counsellors can also help you with this process.  Have the courage to reach out!  Check out the TED TALK at the bottom of this post for more info on OPEN MINDSETS and the TRUE GRIT determination needed to be successful.

* Meet class mates and find study buddiesTalking about information and ideas is one of the best ways to reinforce material.  The Learning Success Centre helps students form study groups.

* Review your notes as soon as you can after a lecture.  Research has shown this is the best way to retain information.

* Talk to your instructorsThey have office hours.  Go and talk to them about your courses and your future plans. One of the advantages of being at a small college is that instructors know their students and love to help them understand the material and be successful.

* Have a budget and try your best to stick to it.  Financial Aid has information on budgeting and can help you with strategies to manage your money.  (ie.  when heading to the bar – only take the amount of money you have budgetted to spend.  Leave your bank card at home!)

* Have fun and be well! The more things you do that make you happy, the more dopamine you have in your brain and the better you can learn!  If you are partying or out at the bars, look after each other.  Make agreements ahead of time so you have a plan to get home safely and look after and stay  with friends who are intoxicated or vulnerable.  Noone should be left alone if you are worried about them.

*  Cook and Eat some meals with others.  Shopping and cooking together is cost effective, but it also builds a sense of family and community.  Some pods in residence have Sunday dinners.  Some people in programs have potlucks or “orphans dinners”  where people far from home get together to cook a meal.  Consider inviting someone outside of your circle who might be more isolated and try getting to know people from other programs  or countries.  Use dinners as a way to save money, have great conversations and build an inclusive, welcoming, fun community.

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*  Join “Selkirk Student Central on Facebook” to be connected to breaking news, discussions and everything you need to know about Selkirk Student Life.  https://www.facebook.com/selkirkstudentcentral

This is just a handful of random ideas that could contribute to having a successful college experience.  For those of you who have already been here or have survived college or university anywhere – what are your words of advice to incoming students?

Here is the True Grit TED TALK for a bit more on motivation and learning:

 

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