March 25, 2014

Collegiate Perspective: Putting the 'A' in Alpha Phi

As undergraduates, we've all struggled with juggling our studies, extracurricular activities and social lives. But that doesn’t mean our grades have to suffer. It’s getting close to the end of the semester, and we still have many assignments and exams, many of which are fast approaching. As such, there’s no better time of year to strategize in order to get the grades you want! Here are a few scholarship tips and tricks from the sisters of the Xi chapter at the University of Toronto.
Buy a planner: The first step to success is ensuring that you always keep track of assignments. It can become difficult to keep track of all your work and extracurricular activities. As someone who wants to stay one step ahead of the game, you need to be aware of all due dates, and writing them down definitely helps!

Take breaks: Don’t forget to take a break when you need one! It’s easy to become overwhelmed with activities constantly taking place. It is important to find a way to de-stress. If you’re pushing yourself too hard then you’re not giving the best that you can give, and it is easier to make mistakes due to stress. Your method of de-stressing may differ from someone else’s. For example, one person might find working out to be a great stress reliever, whereas someone else finds reading a book a good way to wind down. Either way, take care of yourself and remember to take breaks. 
Prioritize your time: You can’t accomplish everything all at once. Start with your most important/pressing task and work from there. If you check the most important task off your list right away, it will give you more time to complete your minor tasks, and they’ll also feel less daunting. Not only will you learn more efficiently, you’ll also be less stressed when doing so!
Attend class and take notes: Although this might seem silly, going to class is a vital part of your academic performance.  It’s true that we all have different learning styles—ranging from visual to auditory—but class is the only place your professor can provide a better understanding of the class’ content.

See your professor when in doubt: Sometimes it can be intimidating to talk to a professor, and you might feel like your questions are silly. Always remember: there is no such thing as a silly question, and your professor will be happy to provide assistance when it’s needed. Also, it shows how much dedication and effort you’re putting into a course when you go to a professor’s office hours. It can also be a good way to establish a personal connection with your professor.

Participate in class: Participating in class ensures you’re engaging with the content. This tip has helped me remember and keep track of important information. When you participate in class, you’re using information that you’ve just learned in a critical way; by participating, you’re actively engaging with the material, and the new information is more likely to stay in your long-term memory. This is helpful when it comes to exam time. Depending on the format, not all classes will allow you to participate, but you can also branch off and form a study group. Studying as a group is a great way to stay motivated; make it a sisterhood bonding moment by gathering up your sisters for a night at the library.
Edit, edit, edit: If I had a dollar for the number of times I lost marks on simple grammar/punctuation mistakes, I would be rich! We are all guilty of incorrect grammar and spelling mistakes. However, procrastination and leaving your assignment until the last minute increases their likelihood. If you start assignments early, you’ll have time to edit your work properly and reduce the amount of grammatical errors.
At the end of the day these tips are useful for maintaining a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. They might not work for everyone, or maybe you’re using some tips not on this list. Regardless, keep doing what you’re doing to stay on top of your work and put that ‘A’ in Alpha Phi!

Sukhe Mann is a collegiate member at Toronto (Xi). Learn more about Sukhe by clicking here.

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