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Thread: Starting University - Some Advice.

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    Default Starting University - Some Advice.

    Just about to leave home for the first time to go to College or University? Often this can be a terrifying experience when you wonder:

    What will I do if I get ill?
    Will I make any friends?
    How will I do my cooking and shopping?
    Will I be able to manage my money?
    Will I be able to cope with what I have to learn?
    Will I get drawn into bad things?
    etc.

    Well the first thing to realise is that you are not alone, every other person you meet will be feeling the same things and some will feel much worse than you. Secondly, millions of others have trodden this road before and got through it more or less unscathed. So what can you do?

    1. Say hello to people, smile at people that will help you and them. Have a word with your teachers get to know them.

    2. Try to make a little plan for your first few weeks, what you will do, where you will go, what food you will buy, register with a doctor, etc. You will find I think that doing this will settle your mind and put you at ease. You don't have to follow the plan rigidly but the very act of making it will add some structure to your new experiences.

    3. Don't go mad and spend all you grant or money in one go on things that you do not need and don't fall into the trap of convincing yourself that a new Ipad or Stereo or fees to join a club are essential - never buy on impulse or let some salesman convince you, take your time, if you rush things you will regret it. Make a budget and try to stick to it.

    4. I have said this before but University societies and faith based societies are good places to be so look out for these and it is certain you will make good friends there. I will say more in a later post.

    5. Your University and university city will have art galleries, cinemas, theatres, parks and in general cultural activities of all sorts. Almost always you can get tickets at very good rates so take a little time to find out what is in your area. Just to give an example, I know Southampton quite well and even if we exclude the city then just on the campus there is an art gallery, a theatre and a concert hall. I would add that these are not minor entities but host concerts by internationally recognised artists in Jazz to Beethoven and everything in between.

    6. Finally, look forward to this new phase of your life. Life is not full of certainties but that in its own way is a good thing, it keeps you on your toes, keeps your mind ticking over so don't waste time and energy saying 'if only' or 'it is not as good as' - you are there so now make the most of that opportunity.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    1. Often students think the first few weeks at University or College are not very important and you are busy anyway but conveniently forget this is where the foundations in each subject is laid. It often happens that you find the early lecture easy, you know some of the stuff so you turn off and this is a road to disaster. It is obvious that if you do not know the subject basics then you have nothing to build on and as you progress through the term things will become more and more difficult and you will begin to fall behind.

    2. So my advice is to take some time to make sure you attend and listen in lectures with care, even if it all sounds a bit easy, picking up any notes or other materials especially in those first few weeks and then work hard to make sure you understand the basics. Remember, if you build on sand your house will collapse. Someone has with some wit expressed this idea in saying that in the first weeks of a course "if you aim at nothing you will probably hit it." At the beginning of the season it is said that Tiger Woods always goes back to basics because he know that is they are wrong everything will be wrong.

    3. Secondly it is all too easy to be deluded into thinking that if you have the right collection of gadgets (laptop, IPhone, software, etc) or books or websites all will be well but sadly it can make you feel hard work is really not necessarily any longer. To put it another way; learning cannot be done if we remove individual responsibility, active involvement and choices from the process because to do so would undermine the values of any successful education: personal discipline, independence of thought, worthwhile learning effort and simple curiosity coupled with an understanding that in learning persistence in the face of difficulties is omnipotent.

    4. Now this is not saying you should not get whatever gadgets and software you can but it is saying they are never going to be a substitute for hard work. So some ideas.

    There is a site called software4students and if you have a University or College email you can then get huge software bundles for very small amounts. Go and look there before spending a lot of money. Recent offers were on a FULL MS suite of 8 applications. Also on offer was Dragon Speech Recognition Software so you can just speak into your computer what you want to say - it is how I created this entry without any typing.

    If you have a Iphone or a Itouch or something similar then I recommend go looking for suitable Apps especially things like calenders or dictionaries or note pads. Often your University will create a Google calendar so get a calender App that links to Google.

    FINAL TIP

    There is an App called TimeBook and put simply it is a kind of stop watch but of much more sophisticated and subtle design than a simple clock. However, what you do is tell the App all the areas of activity you are involved in: free time, playing the piano, lectures, using the library, private study, sport, daydreaming etc.

    Then all you have to do it select the activity and press start and stop. It does not matter if you use other apps at the same time it will keep going. It can then be interrogated to see how much of your time you spent on every activity and it shows it with charts so it easy to read.
    Therefore my most important tip is for you in the first few weeks RECORD all your time usage. I think you will be shocked at just how much time you actually spend on study and overall how much time you waste.

    At a minimum you need to spend 20 hours (including lectures) EVERY week without fail. Notice, if for one week you only do 8 hours work then the following week you have to do 32 hours to catch up and of course it is easy to see how this can become a mountain if you are not disciplined. You MUST take breaks regularly but plan for this as part of your working week.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    How do I use my time?
    Following on from an earlier where my tip was to keep track of your time.

    1. So at a minimum keep track of your learning time and it needs to be on average about 20 hours a week, every week (including lecturers.

    2. Remember if you let this time slip one week it will have to be recovered asap otherwise you will fall behind. If one week you do just 10 hours then the following week to catch up you need 30 hours and so it goes on.

    3. DO NOT think of the 20 hours as if you were clocking in and out of a job. Here we are taking about a minimal standard. So do not fall into the trap of saying "done 20 hours so no need to do any more", instead grasp every learning opportunity you can. Learning insights and opportunities cannot be totally organised and you might get insight on the bus, talking to the garbage collector, reading a news paper and so on. The point is that ideas will just pop into your mind, a flash of insight can occur at any time any where - when they do WRITE them DOWN - do NOT rely on your memory, if you do they will be gone and often gone forever.

    4. Learning time includes: going to lectures, tutorials, work in the library, discussing your subject with the tutor or other students, reading at home, working in the assessment etc.

    5. Get into a learning community, people who want to learn. People who are like that are not boring and they are not boring because they are interested in everything around them and will want to help you and if you have real interest in learning you will want to help them. Remember what Abraham Lincoln said "I do not think much of a person who is NOT wiser today than they were yesterday" and "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other". One might also note what George Washington said "Associate yourself with men/women of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better to be alone than in bad company"

    6. So note all your study time - do NOT make a list in advance, record the time when it happens. So go to a lecture and the learning time starts when the lecture starts and when it ends and believe me that will not always be the same time as the class scheduled start and end times.

    7. FINALLY - you MUST take regular breaks. You MUST give your brain a chance to process all the information that has gone into it. So for example, take a break every hour, go for a walk, listen to music, daydream, it does not matter what you do to take a break. In fact according to the latest research the brain when it is daydreaming uses considerably more energy that when it is focusing. So you might be daydreaming but you are giving your brain a chance to sort things out.

    A concomitant here is that it is impossible to CRAM so if you think you can squeeze it all in at the end or make up loads of lost time just before the examinations or assessments are due then face up to the fact NOW that you are deluded, lazy and foolish.

    NOTE - there may be exceptional circumstances which interfere with your studies such as significant illness or family problems that you could have done nothing about. This is when you will need to talk to you tutors, ask for additional help or time and call on your learning group to help you through.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Here is a light-hearted analogy I saw some time ago and as a student you may find it helpful to think about what kind of student you are and what kind of student you could become. The biggest enemy is often ones ego and if you let it out of control it can play havoc. SO:

    Let us suppose your tutor I thinks of you as a top class football team with him/her as the Coach. At the moment you are in the second team but he wants to promote you if you are good enough to the first team. So as you read this analogy of student life and learning ask yourself which profile best fits you?

    The Coach wants to win all the time, never compromise on quality performances, and picks the team to do that, so if he picks you he places his whole confidence in you to give your very best effort and he expects nothing less. Consider, the work you do for your tutor as being like playing in a match and there is no point in playing a match unless you want to win so he needs confidence in you to follow his instructions and you need to trust that he knows what he is doing and has your very best interests at heart. In fact the Coach has several kinds of player available to him as follows: (so ask yourself which one fits you?)

    Reliable – he has some promising players with real talent, players who are can see well prepared, they know the basics, they accept advice and criticism, they discuss things with him, they disagree with him; they are learning – they are not perfect but The coach sees potential and with a little guidance from him and hard work (practice) from them they can get even better and be promoted to the first team and play in the premier league.

    Lazy – these are the players that don’t want to do any training, they don’t want to practice, they don’t care about the Coaches' opinion, they have no awareness of how hard it in the premier division and they accept no responsibility for their own progress – if they don’t get in the team it’s the Coach’s fault or in fact any other reason that comes to mind. One notices with these players that its not that they are unaware of their needs as such but want some sort of short cut to glory in the team. The Coach will never pick them because they cannot be trusted and they are not fit enough, will never be fit enough, to play in the big league.

    Content - there are some promising players but they don’t want to bother with the basics, they think they know it already and they are not very good at listening to advice or watching other players or team work. The Coach feels real concern because he can see them wasting their talents by a kind of obstinate arrogance so he is not going to be able to use them in the first team as they don’t have even the basic skills. What to do with these players a big problem – how can the Coach get them to learn the basics, get them to put in the practice, get them to see that unless they put in hard work now they will never reach their true potential and look back on it with regret, how can the Coach get them to face up to their own shortcomings?

    Sometimes Coaches take a chance and and might promote you on condition you show what they can do but sadly often they never get to play in the first team because they cannot show their talents because they have not perfected them – they think because they are promoted to the first team the Coach is bound to pick them to play in a match. But the Coach is not going to risk losing a match with some one who is not willing to give 100% effort – The Coach is putting in 100% and expects the same from you. He is not going to pick you unless you have put in the training and learn all the skills needed – it’s a risk not worth taking and eventually he is going to exclude you altogether.

    Self Satisfied - this group is the saddest of all, they know everything and can do everything and have seen everything. If you ask them to do a bit of training they say they don’t need it, if you offer them advice they ignore it because they know better, if you tell them to play in the centre they will move to the wing, if I take them off the field they throw a tantrum, if you try to work with them they say you are wrong and don’t understand what they are trying to do, if you put them back in the second team they accuse you of victimisation, spite or favouritism and so on. This group saddens the Coach most because often they are indeed the most talented, the most gifted and with the most potential but they never see their fatal flaw and that is in life one needs just that bit of humility, self- awareness and effort so that you are ready to learn from anybody at all – yes anybody.

    The Coach – none of the above means the Coach is infallible but he does know a lot and has a good deal of experience and the team principals will hold him responsible for failure. Players come to him for help and advice; players come and argue with him about tactics, players prove themselves to him, players come with skills they want to improve and from all this activity the Coach learns more himself but underneath it all the coach is passionate for success and passionate that every player reaches his full potential.

    Illustrations
    1. Tiger Woods, one of the finest golfers ever; wining 13 majors but at the start of each season he goes to his coach saying “let’s starts from the basics again”. He is not too proud or arrogant to go right back to basics and learn it all again, practice, practice it all again. He does not say I am a champion, I have won 35 tournaments therefore I don’t need to practice, I have nothing to learn, I don’t need any one to give me advice, no one can teach me anything.

    2. A few years ago I heard this story and sadly it shows that we are often all Prima Donna's at heart. An academic some years ago had a research student working for her on problem solving strategies and whether they could be transferred to neural nets. She was expert in problem solving strategies, had published several papers and there was no one who could tell her anything, her ideas were new and I was tops. She used to see the student a couple of times a week and in his little office he had complicated coloured diagrams stuck on the wall with algebraic like characters at the end of lines, arrows and circles. Her problem was, she did not know what they were but thought she ought to but I could never bring herself to ask else She would show myself up as being a bit ignorant in front of the student – after all she was the expert wasn't she?

    Eventually curiosity got the better of her and so asked what they represented - they turned out to be diagrams on how to juggle with three coloured balls!

    You see there are no foolish questions and you only become a fool if you stop asking questions. We are all as ignorant as the next man or woman so don’t hold back, ask questions and never think you know it all – if you do you will live to regret it. Newton said “If I have seen further than other men it was only by standing on their shoulders” and the proverb “He who criticises a man will in the end find more favour than he who has a flattering tongue”. There is nothing to be ashamed of when you realise there is something you don’t know, there is everything to be ashamed of when you do nothing about it.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    For those of you who are at College or University it is worth visiting the following site and registering. The site allows you to buy copies of most major software for the Mac or PC at huge discounts and all legally. The ONLY requirement is that you are a registered students and they CHECK that by looking at the email address you give them to see if it a legal one for your College or University in the UK. Have a look and you will find a fully MS suite of 8 programs for an unbelievable price.

    http://www.software4students.co.uk/

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    thanks for the info. You wont believe it but software piracy is so rampant in some places in the world that you can get virtually anything for a few bucks if you live in the right location..
    Nine things the Lord has commanded me: Fear of God in private and in public; Justness, whether in anger or in calmness; Moderation in both poverty and affluence; That I should join hands with those who break away from me; And give to those who deprive me; And forgive those who wrong me; And that my silence should be meditation; And my words remembrance of God; And my vision keen observation.- Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Many of you will be in your first week or weeks at University and it is now you need to settle down and get things prioritized and balanced. I came across this analogy in a book called "Growing Leaders" by James Lawrence and I present it here with a few minor changes.

    Analogy with Stones
    A philosophy professor stood before his class then picked up an empty glass bowl and proceeded to fill it with stones, about 50 centimetres in diameter. He asked the students if the bowl was full. They agreed that it was. He then picked up a box of pebbles and added them to the bowl, shaking it lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the stones. 'Is the bowl full now?' 'Yes,' the students said. He picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the bowl. The sand slipped in between the rocks and pebbles. Once more he asked if it was full and, after some thought, they said that it was. The professor then took a bottle of water and poured the entire contents into the bowl. The professor asked 'What is the point of the illustration?’ One student responded, 'Even when you think your life is full you can always squeeze more into it.’

    The professor explained that there are other way to see the illustration and learn from it;

    The stones are the important things in your life - your faith, your course, your health, your family, your friends, things with which, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

    The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your future job, your car, sport.

    The sand is everything else - the small stuff.

    If you put the sand into the bowl first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, and rewire the lamp. Take care of the stones first - the things that really matter: the rest is just sand. Put the stones in first. The busier our lives, the more important it is to put the stones in a year or a term, in advance.

    I don't know what the stones will be for you but my first stone is my relationship with God, then with my wife, then children, parents, friends (both Christian and non Christian). If these things don't go in the diary first, there will never be time for them. In my work, the stones include time for personal development. In my personal life, my stones include sport and leisure. These things are far too important to be relegated to sand. They are part of what makes me human. Stones take priority in the diary, because they reflect what I believe God is asking of me, his priorities for my life.

    Now do the same for your life at University. To help you think through each of the following:

    Physical - how does God want me to take care of myself?
    Spiritual - how is God calling me to grow in my relationship with him?
    Relational - how does God want me to grow in my relationships with others?
    Personal/emotional - what areas of character does God want to develop in me?
    Professional - what does God want me to do in my work at University?

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    When things go Wrong
    I expect by now you are getting into your first weeks at University and going through the registration process, induction, freshers week etc. So now is the time to find out things that may be important to you later on; particularly if you become unwell, have family issues or personal problems that put an unavoidable break on your studies and cause you to get behind. These kinds of thing can occur at any time to any one and the University knows this and has provided systems and staffed units to help you through - so find out now what these units do and where they are located so when and if you need them there will be no struggle to access them.

    Almost always if things unexpectedly get in the way of your progress the University will have a form of some kind which allows you to formally tell the University you are in difficulty. The reason this is important is because if you fail to submit an assignment or you fail an assignment then you will usually be given a chance to do it again but with the MAXIMUM mark capped at just the pass mark and capped marks my ruin your chances of getting high overall grades and degree classification. However, if the University accepts your reasons for lack of progress then you will get another chance to do the assignment as if it was a first attempt so nothing is capped or they may give you extra time.

    Evidence
    Normally, you must provide evidence that your studies have been significantly disrupted and through no fault of your own. So if you are unwell you will need Doctors note or certificate for example but normally the guidance notes provided by the University will make it clear exactly what sort of evidence it requires and will accept. Acceptance is not automatic and you will have to wait to see what the outcome is.

    WARNING
    These days we all have computers so we must look after our data. The point here is that it will be totally futile to go to the University and say things such as "my computer has been stolen", "my data has become corrupted", "my hard disc has crashed" and so on - such excuses will NEVER be accepted because it means you have not looked after your data so it is your fault and yours alone.

    Backing up Data
    I urge you to read with care the next section as it can save you a lot of trouble. Back up needs to be easy to do and ideally automatic.

    1. Back up to a CD - this is easy but if you then lose the CD or it becomes unreadable or it gets stolen along with your computer then you are dead.

    2. Back up by email - a cheap and easy solution is to email all important documents to yourself every time you change them - in Googlemail for example you have about over 2GB free storage.

    3. University Systems - you will all have a University account and an allocation of disc storage so you can use that to keep your data safe. It depends on the system but you may be able to copy your data to the University systems from home and that would make it easy and convenient

    4. Online Back it is a good idea to use one of these systems so that your data is 100% safe but they can be expensive and there are some things you need to be sure about when selecting a system.

    a. Make sure that it is an automatic system that runs in the background all the time your home system is on, that way YOU do not have to worry that something has been done or not.

    b. Be aware that some of these online system can take several weeks to back up your data the first time you use and you have a lot of data. Usually you can mark what to back up so mark the important stuff first and then add to it when that is secure.

    c. Choose a system that gives you a trial period so you can then check it before serious commitment.

    d. Some online backup companies allow you to join free but limit your size of backup and this can be anything from 2GB to 50GB.

    e. VITAL VITAL - you MUST choose a system that allows you to recover any lost file via a web site and that will mean you can recover data from anywhere you happen to be. The serious point here is that there are some systems where you can only recover data from your personal machine on which is was originally stored - therefore if that machine breaks down or gets stolen your data is more or less lost.

    You may wonder why data is lost and the reason is simple, the backup data is almost always encrypted to make it safe but it does mean that even if the back company could see your file on their system they cannot read it because they don't have the encryption key so sending you the file that to you would be useless.

    Here are some suggestions.

    Idrive so visit www at idrive.com (2GB free)
    Adrive so visit www at adrive.com (they say they give 50Gb free)
    SkyDrive so visit www at skydrive.live.com (25Gb free)
    Carbonite so visit www at carbonite.com
    KeepVault so visit www keepVault.com
    etc

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    In life if one wants to succeed one needs information and motivation. Information so you know what you have to do and motivation so that you do it even if the going gets tough - and it will. So here are two tips for you if you want to succeed BUT if you think you can succeed without hard and persistent effort go and lie down now and be content with where you are now because you will never get anywhere else.

    Take Personal and Active Responsibility
    Some students believe that knowledge is passed on from tutor to students in some magical or simple (spoon feeding) way that requires no effort from them. This fallacy is summed up in the old academic joke “the subject matter goes from the teacher’s notes to the students’ notes without passing through the mind of either”. Teachers can pass on knowledge using notes and examples but no one can rationally believe that therefore learning has taken place. Learning cannot be done if we remove individual responsibility, active involvement and choices from the process because to do so would undermine the values of any successful education: personal discipline, independence of thought, worthwhile learning effort and simple curiosity.

    Motivated to succeed through effort
    To improve one’s own intelligence and ready to accept ideas and learn from just about anyone or anything, not setting arbitrary limits on where or who learning comes from. Thoughtful learners KNOW that they can improve by their own efforts so they look for critical feedback on work (not just reassurance that it is right) because they want always to get better; regarding failure or setbacks as a challenge, a means to improve, a reason to plan not as a sign that they lack intelligence.

    I once had a student who told me she would ONLY accept advice from someone she respected? If that is you then you are more concerned with your own ego that getting information.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    OMG thanks so much!!! This is so useful!!! I swear, I'm so scared. I have no idea where I should go or what I should do. Are you a professor? That's awesome. If you teach Accounting or Bio/Chem, PLEASE PLEASE help me. I don't know which one I should do. *Cries*

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweet_potatoes View Post
    OMG thanks so much!!! This is so useful!!! I swear, I'm so scared. I have no idea where I should go or what I should do. Are you a professor? That's awesome. If you teach Accounting or Bio/Chem, PLEASE PLEASE help me. I don't know which one I should do. *Cries*
    I have not taught accounting or Bi0 chemistry so know little about them and obviously they are so very different.

    Start by trying a career test to see what kind of personality you have - don't take it too seriously, its just to get you thinking so try http://www.careertest.net/

    Then ask you want to work in an office environment?
    Do you like working with people or do you prefer to work alone?
    Do you relish the idea of working with accounts, numbers, spreadsheets and balance sheets?
    Do you like working with technical things and sometimes in a lab environment?
    Do you want variety in your work?
    Are you prepared to go where the work is?

    Be honest and ask yourself how difficult you have found biology or chemistry or accounting and are you really prepared to put the effort in to one of these to get yourself up to a high standard. Remember, as you go on things will get harder and harder so you must really want it is you are to get to the top.

    Every subject has its difficulties but they can all be overcomes with perseverance and hard work - BUT if your hearts is not really in that subject it will just be one long grind.

    Talks to as many people as you can, indeed any one who will listen but if you can find people in these lines of work even better. I say talk to any one, but don't be swayed by persuasive arguments from those who are NOT in those industries. BUT remember, YOU are the one who has to make the decision. Its not the end of the world if you get it wrong but that will slow you down.

    BUT DO NOT RUSH this, take your time, let the facts and information you find sink in. Don't be impulsive, else you will regret it.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Career tests are dumb. I hate them. They never narrow down my options; instead, they provide me with new career pathways that I had never even THOUGHT of and just confuse me more.

    May I ask what you teach? (Sorry if I'm being nosy, you don't have to tell me.)

    I LIKE ALL OF THEM!!!!! It's no fair.

    Except maybe I wouldn't move with my job to New York or someplace like that, where people are routinely raped and stuff.

    Hmmmm, that's true.......but all of them are equally difficult/hard. I mean, they're all interesting, right.

    Haha, thanks a ton for your help. I AM asking everybody. Even people I haven't met. Like you, haha!

    HEY does this sound like a good combo: A major in Chem and a minor in History. I figure, I should vary up my resumee, right? So that I'm a well-rounded individual. History-people are always really big-perspective people, I've noticed.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweet_potatoes View Post
    Career tests are dumb. I hate them. They never narrow down my options; instead, they provide me with new career pathways that I had never even THOUGHT of and just confuse me more. May I ask what you teach? (Sorry if I'm being nosy, you don't have to tell me.)
    I LIKE ALL OF THEM!!!!! It's no fair.
    Except maybe I wouldn't move with my job to New York or someplace like that, where people are routinely raped and stuff.
    Hmmmm, that's true.......but all of them are equally difficult/hard. I mean, they're all interesting, right.
    Haha, thanks a ton for your help. I AM asking everybody. Even people I haven't met. Like you, haha!

    HEY does this sound like a good combo: A major in Chem and a minor in History. I figure, I should vary up my resumee, right? So that I'm a well-rounded individual. History-people are always really big-perspective people, I've noticed.
    I must say it is very disappointing to see a disreputable mail like this after you asked a question and someone took the trouble to answer - sadly its obviously you don't want advice you already know it all and that is your real problem.

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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    It may be the first flush of going to University is over for you after the first few weeks and the enormity of what you are undertaking starts to dawn on you with lectures, labs, field studies and those dreaded assignments piling up with no end in sight. Also you may start finding disappointment as people you though might become your friends move on for one reason or another and you long for home and its quiet comfort and lack of cares. You may also find that you have been a bit wild and lost time so you start to worry about how you will catch up or societies you joined turn out to be less than you expected or the people in them seem not all that friendly. On the other hand you must think of the excitement of learning new things, having your pre-suppositions challenged and perhaps even for the first time you have been made to really think about who you are and the subjects you study. Some suggestions:

    1. If your friends prove a little fickle then don't worry there will be others so don't pick and choose let things happens naturally. Talk to the person next to you, make the first effort, get into good small study groups, join good societies. I know this may sound odd but in the UK one often finds very large Christian Unions, smaller Islamic societies and slightly smaller atheistic societies. What is odd is that that all three tend to have people who want to help and are friendly. I am a Christian but when at the University I every week went to the CU but if events were put on by the Islamic or atheist societies I often went to those as well. In this way you build up a wide range of contacts not just on your course but across the University. I never felt threatened and even though I often thoughtfully disagreed with what was said it did not stop me making friends from all these places - some even many years later I still see or hear from.

    2. If you are having study difficulties you need to take a little time to ask yourself 'why'? The two most common problems are fear brought on when your don't understands something and secondly laziness when you have neglected your studies.

    Fear - this is natural and unless you are a very exceptional person you are bound to 'hit the wall' sometimes and feel you will never be able to understand it. This of course is totally wrong as long as you appreciated that sometime considerable effort and perseverance is required. if you stick at it in the end you will get it and wonder what all the fuss was about. To do all this you MUST put in at least 20 hours study EVERY week (that includes classes). If you fall below this figure things will just get worse and worse. One feature I have often found is that students run into difficulties because they have skipped over the basics in the mistaken belief' 'that they know all that'. So IF you find something hard, go back to basics and do plenty of examples and then move forward. For example, I once had students who had difficulty with a thing in mathematics called 'surds' but the real difficulty was that they had not thoroughly learned and practised the basic laws of indices and when they had gone back and revised that with plenty of examples and exercises, surds 'suddenly' became very easy.

    Never say to yourself 'I was never any good at X' because that just puts up a barrier and the only reason people say it is that they have through fear never put in the effort. Believe me, there is nothing that is beyond you if you really want it.

    Laziness - if you have neglected your studies then you MUST decide TODAY that things will change - if you put it off until tomorrow it then becomes just a bit worse and so it goes on. It is ESSENTIAL you DETERMINE to put in at least 20 hours a week. If you don't then you will regret it or what is more usual start blaming everything and everybody for your own lack of determination and effort. So get your DIARY out and put into it the IMPORTANT things and do it NOW.

    Illness or other unavoidable events If you become unwell or you have family circumstances which you cannot avoid then see you tutor as soon as possible as every University will have special arrangement for these kind of things.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Starting University - Some Advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    I must say it is very disappointing to see a disreputable mail like this after you asked a question and someone took the trouble to answer - sadly its obviously you don't want advice you already know it all and that is your real problem.
    I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound unappreciative. You actually did help me because of one of your questions. I realised I didn't want to wear a suit for the rest of my life, so now accounting's off my list. I'm really sorry for being rude. Thanks for your help!

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