I hope the winter 2022 reading break and the return to in-person classes has treated you well. I was luckily able to have a relaxing break since most of my midterms and assignments were due before the break.
I spent reading week looking forward to the second half of the semester because in-person classes are returning! My first-year self would have never thought the day would come when I look forward to 8:30 classes at Ellis Hall, but here we are! Four of my five classes were online last semester, so it’s been almost 2 years since I had a completely in-person university experience. I definitely missed it. It’s amazing to think that most of our undergraduate careers have been online.
If you’re wondering about how to be an effective in-person learner with just a few weeks of school left, try these top tips I remember from my first year.
- Use the time between classes (especially the 1-hour or 2-hour breaks) to review the slides/content for the upcoming class. Doing so will help you easily grasp content that’s not in the slides and understand material that’s complex. You’ll also be primed for the cues the professor gives you during their class: what’s highlighted, what’s more important, what is left behind a little in the lecture? Finally, pre-lecture review will help you retain more information from class. Classes will already be review activities, not learning something for the first time!
- Attend in-person office hours! That online barrier between us and our professors is gone! You can always use office hours to get clarification on a concept and build a rapport with your teachers. Attending is a really fun way to learn more about class and answer all those tiny (or big!) questions you have. And a secret tip: if you need a reference letter from a prof for a research position or grad school application down the line, meeting your prof at office hours is a great way to start building connections.
- Don’t forget about SASS’ amazing resources. In-person classes can get quite overwhelming as we have to modify and plan our days according to our class schedule, leaving you with less time than expected. Academic skills specialists can help you improve your performance and confidence as you try to plan for success. Writing specialists can help you brainstorm ideas, improve your writing, and do everything from develop a thesis statement to find new ways to edit! You can even meet a peer writing assistant – one of SASS’ team of upper-year students who’ve taken the same courses as you. There are also various workshops that SASS designs so take a quick look at some that might be of help to you! Whether it’s improving your writing skills, learning about academic integrity, or honing your English, SASS has it all!
Lastly, even though academics might be getting hectic right now, the most incredible aspect of in-person learning for me is being able to interact with other students. Whether you are living in residence or off-campus, take some time to enjoy the beautiful city of Kingston and do some fun activities with friends. Take some time to enjoy yourself and take those much-needed breaks.
With that being said, I wish you the best of luck as we head into the last few weeks of the winter semester: “What kind of competitor sees the finish line and slows down… always finish strong!”