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Peer Blog: Take a breather #Relatable

By: Hareer Al-Qaragolie 3rd year, History & English

My whole life, I knew I was going to travel away from Jordan to finish my undergraduate degree. It was a given, and I got used to the idea. If anything, I was excited. The only thing I was advised to do was to focus on my studies and adapt to them. Seemed pretty easy, so I didn’t give it much thought until move-in day. No one told me about the realness of homesickness, the added responsibility of being alone, the culture shock that occasionally hit me, or the bad grade that I would get on my first essay.  Coping with it all affected my academics, and I felt completely and utterly alone, thinking everyone was getting ahead except for me. It was moments like these where I would get lost and start losing sight of my priorities. I didn’t find a balance between my education and my mental health. All I knew was that one overthrew the other.

 

As a third year, I can’t begin to tell you how much easier it gets. What helps me the most is talking to my peers, housemates, profs, or anyone who may relate to my situation. It’s so comforting to hear that you are not alone when it comes to situations like this. Whether it is that you and your friend got the same not-so-good mark on a quiz, to ranting about how you stayed up all night at Stauffer to finish an essay, it gives a sense of ease and comfort to know you’re not the only one. However, it also puts things in perspective for you.

 

I started making daily plans, check lists, and time tables, as well as making sure I have a time limit for when I need to stop working so I won’t overwhelm myself. Trust me when I say once you feel like you have too much on your plate, you start to focus less. In time, you will start to realize you have your own academic strategies that fit your timetable, and you’ll naturally see your progress.

 

A few things to keep in mind when you feel like you are having a hard time in focusing:

 

  1. Use your resources: I can’t stress enough how helpful campus resources are. Also, they are free! So please use them. What helps me the most in keeping my grades up is definitely the Writing Center at SASS!
  2. Call your family: I know it can be a stretch sometimes for some people, especially with the busy lifestyle of a Queen’s student, but they love hearing from you! Try giving them updates, spilling some feelings on some hard courses, or ask on how they are doing. Also, calling your parents can be a nice little break from studying all that material before an exam. Listening to loving and encouraging words from people who love you is always good to hear.
  3. Talk to your friends and set up study dates: this can be tricky since friends can sometimes be a distraction, but there is nothing wrong with having a nice 15-minute break from studying where you can take your mind off of things a bit. Also, who doesn’t like to complain to someone about how hard the material is…
  4. Plan ahead: whether you use the ABC method, cue cards or to-do lists, start planning from the most important to least important task. I can’t tell you how relieved and accomplished I feel when I check a box off in my planner; it gets me motivated all the time.

 

 

I wish you all the best in your studies and your well-being. You are here to learn, so don’t push yourself over the limit when it feels too much. Remember there are so many resources on campus to help you in any way or need. Never hesitate to stop by the SASS office, or send us an e-mail if you have any questions about anything.

 

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A Spongebob Squarepants Guide to Writing Essay Exams

By Becky Bando, 4th year Con-Ed/English student

“I’m Ready! I’m Ready! I’m Ready!” This is probably one of Spongebob’s most popular lines and it is how I wish I felt every time I enter an essay exam. Writing an essay during an exam is actually very different from how you would write one at home, and so this guide will show the different approaches students take when writing these exams. But like making a Krabby Patty, you will see that some approaches work better than others. So if you have an essay exam coming up and enjoyed watching Spongebob when you were little, then this guide is for you!

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Achoo!

By Becky Bando, 4th year Con-Ed/English student

November the month of nonstop essays, reports, presentations, exams, and studying. But most importantly, it is also the month of nonstop colds as students focus more on their academics than on taking care of themselves. It is absolutely the worst feeling to be sick during one of the most chaotic months of school when it is crucial to be at your healthiest. Yes I am currently sitting in my pajamas in a bed of tissues with a bright red nose as I am typing this blog, so I am feeling a little salty. But believe it or not, while I was sick for what felt like every month last year during school, this is the first time that I have gotten sick this semester (and I have a roommate who is constantly sick). I have made it a goal this year to do more things that will prevent me from getting sick, and so I have decided to write this blog to help both of us.

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A Humanities Student’s Best Friend

By: Jack Williams 3rd year, English student.

In my opinion, the most useful single book a student of the Humanities can own is not a dictionary, a thesaurus, or any “Great Work”. It is a reading journal.

My girlfriend made me one as a gift last Christmas. She intended it to serve as a forum in which to preserve my thoughts and feelings on various books I’ve read, a convenient space to store treasured quotes and shortcuts to particularly memorable passages, and a way to track each step in my literary journey; essentially, it was a bibliophile’s dream.

It also turned out to be an extraordinarily useful academic tool.

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Is that something I should be doing? Finding your own learning structure

Naomi Chernos, 4th Year English/Physics

via GIPHY

Friends and peers are great resources for picking up ideas on how to study. Talking to other people about study strategies and course content, and hearing about how other people structure their time is a great idea, and I’m not about to tell you not to do it. In fact, I think learning as many different ways as possible to find academic (and general) success is incredibly helpful. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but in the face of stress and confusion of midterm season easy to forget the main caveat to this approach: someone else’s approach to studying isn’t necessarily the best approach for you.

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Hitting the Reset Button

By: Veronica Sewilski, Class of 2021, Nursing

via GIPHY

One of my favourite times of the year is September because it’s the perfect opportunity to give myself a fresh new start for the school year. It’s true for most of us: maybe you want to start eating healthier? Become more organized? Go to every single one of your classes? It’s the best time to think about what you want to accomplish to become a better version of yourself.

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What nobody tells you about being a perfectionist in university

By: Veronica, Nursing, Class of 2021

 

I guess you could say that I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. I was raised with the mentality that if something was not perfect, you start again (and again, and again…). This mindset has stuck with me my whole life. Before coming to Queen’s, this trait was quite beneficial for me: I got really good grades, I was very involved in the community and with extra-curriculars, and I was well-liked by teachers and employers. I’m sure a lot of you grew up this way too.

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Peer Blog: Playing Catch (Up)!

By: Samantha Simpson, Second Year Psychology Student

You were so totally going to start studying for exams 2 weeks ago. Yep, you were going to ace every single one of them, turn your 2.0 GPA into a 4.3 GPA in the process, and make your mom proud. But then the second season of your favourite show (finally!) came out on Netflix, so naturally you had to catch up on your binge-watching first. By the time you finished, night had fallen, and sleep was calling to you. And then you just… didn’t. For the next 14 days. And now exams are, um, next week? Can we rewind this thing?

If this sounds anything like you, be assured that all hope is not lost! It’s time to get some serious studying done and I’m here (along with some handy tips) to help you out.

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On your mark, get set, go! A guide to running your final exams

By Gaurav Talwar, 3rd year Life Sciences student

It’s week 12, exams are approaching and hopefully you have taken some time to view your exam schedule (if you haven’t, then I’d highly recommend you check it now). The question that I have for you is, What kind of race will you be running this exam season? Will you be sprinting your way through multiple back-to-back exams? Or will you be running a marathon with exams extending to the last day?”

In my first year, I ran a 100-meter sprint, with 5 back-to-back exams and an occasional study day in between. In my second year, I ran a 200-meter sprint, with more than 3 days to rest between a few exams. This year, I’ll be running a marathon.

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Do your research: an informal guide to tackling research essays

By: Hannah Thiessen, 3rd Year History student

One of the most intimidating things about being a history student is the breadth of professors’ knowledge, and the assumption that students will acquire the same. With the right attitude and strategies though, gaining the necessary knowledge to succeed both on your paper and in the course is quite attainable. However, there are approaches to make the research and writing process less daunting, or even enjoyable! I am writing from the perspective of a history student, but hopefully you will see how what I’ve learned can apply to many disciplines. Here are some of the approaches I’ve found helpful and strategies I’ve used to find what I’m looking for.

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