Participants: Robyn Tocker, A&C Editor
Liam Fitz-Gerald, Contributor
Daylene Sliz, Contributor
John Loeppky, Contributor
Michael Chmielewski, Interim Editor-In-Chief
1. It is our first week back. Any advice for the first-years out there?
MC: In your first year, if you don’t feel up to it, don’t take a full course load. Take four: that way you’ll get a feel for what the expectations of university are. Also, study your ass off. And, when opportunity comes knocking, open that door.
LFG: Meet people. Now is the time to make new friends and forge important relationships. Campus clubs are great for meeting new people. Talk to the person next to you in your class, get to know them, go for coffee/beer with them. Now is the time to branch out and meet new people!
JL: Take a breath, the U of R is one big circle, so you really can’t get that lost. Also keep in mind that just because Coca Cola is cheaper than milk doesn’t mean you should take advantage. Lastly, put the book (as in a textbook) before the bottle.
DS: It’s all about balance. Play hard but work harder. Enjoy the experience but take your education seriously. You will come to realize that your education will give you an opportunity at economic freedom and will open doors for you. And take advantage of the travel and internship opportunities in other countries when they arise.
2. What are some good electives to take, no matter the degree?
MC: Political Science 100 would be a great elective. Not only will you have a basic and generally sufficient knowledge of politics, there’s no reason you should get a bad mark if you do the expected work.
LFG: Humanities and social science courses! History, Philosophy, Political Science, etc. Go, take part in discussions, try your hand at writing. Write some awesome essays. Be challenged, be prepared to defend your position. Be prepared to admit you may be wrong. Phil 150, with its emphasis on introductory logic, is a great course.
JL: Creative writing. I didn’t get a great mark, and I laugh at some of that poetry now, but I learned that I was blabbering too much, and that the world becomes much smaller when you tell stories. Oh, and that hanging around a table with self-professed weirdos for an hour and a half twice a week is a good thing.
DS: This is a prime opportunity to test the waters. You may have decided on your major but electives offer the opportunity to broaden the landscape of your education and mind. Take as wide variety of electives as possible within the parameters of your chosen degree. ACAD 100 is worthwhile, especially for students who have been away from an academic setting for a while. Also, investigate taking electives that lead professional certificates in addition to your chosen degree.
3. What’s your number 1 study tip that’s gotten you through midterms/finals?
MC: Plan ahead. I plan my whole semester. When I start which project, when I study for what etc. Never leave things for last minute. Also, rewriting notes has been my key to success.
LFG: Create a schedule and stick to it the best you can. Plan a schedule a week to nine days before the exam and pick study times around your work and class schedule. Also, make sure you plan a little downtime with yourself and friends (keyword being “a little”).
JL: I have been told that you shouldn’t listen to music while studying and, frankly, I disagree. There is nothing better than playing some relaxing songs that I found on iTunes, and resisting the urge to pull my hair out. Work outs are also awesome when you can feel your GPA slipping with every page.
DS: Two words: study group. Even though I detest group class projects, study groups are an inspiring, interactive mechanism for understanding and retaining information. They offer the opportunity for clarification about concepts, fill in gaps during the lecture, promote critical thinking, and reinforce information. Plus being part of the group forces you to actually study. Also, go to class, actively listen and participate.
4. How pissed are you about another hike in tuition?
MC: Not so much pissed as disappointed. Will the quality of my education increase proportionally to tuition hikes? I thought not.
LFG: Pretty pissed. It doesn’t seem that the increase in tuition means an increase in services or new professors or courses (unless you’re in a faculty outside Arts and Fine Arts). In fact, as an Arts student, it feels like course offerings and interesting electives shrink more and more every year.
JL: At this point, the means justify the end. If I have to close my eyes before writing a cheque, then so be it. It makes walking (or wheeling) across the stage at convocation all the sweeter. Well, at least, I hope it does.
DS: Tuition hikes are never easy to accept, particularly when programs are cut and rumours of mismanagement plague the school. The U of R needs to continue to work toward improving its reputation, offering greater transparency, and raising its profile with quality instructors and programs. With enrolment figures up and a clean bill of financial health provided by the Provincial Auditor, I would hope we won’t see another tuition hike for some time.
5. Do you think URSU does its best for the students here, or could it do more for us?
MC: It could always do more, whether it has done its best? That’s for you to decide.
LFG: To be blunt, URSU needs to do more. I don’t think many students know or appreciate what URSU does, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen URSU visit a classroom. Look at the poll numbers in the last election, 1349 votes out of 12,014 eligible voters? Step up URSU, hit the classrooms. Tell us why we need you.
JL: My election experience involved a group who snuck into residence and started knocking on doors. At the very least, when I ask you what your platform is, know what the word platform means. I can imagine a political science professor keeling over as I ask about a group’s platform and get told about a sale at Payless.
DS: If they aren’t, it’s up to the student body to get involved and voice their concerns about what they’re unhappy about. I’m of the school of thought that if someone has a complaint, voice it but bring some viable solutions to the table to try to exact some changes; don’t just bitch and moan to everyone but the people who can make a difference.