It’s ok to be indecisive!: A guide to figuring out what you want

By Sophia Klymchuk, 2nd year Con-Ed French/Psych student

I like to think of my years in high school as one long wave of indecisiveness. I became a regular at the guidance counselor’s office, constantly making tweaks and changes to my course selection. One day, I wanted to be a nurse. The next day, I wanted to be an architect.

Today, I am at Queen’s University, in my second year of Concurrent Education, with a major in French. To this day, it still surprises me how I managed to make that decision concerning my future, but my indecisiveness still isn’t at rest! Several academic appointments later, and with one in the upcoming future, I already changed my major despite it being only my second year.

Yes, life has its curveballs, I still have my ultimate goal in mind: to one day become a teacher. I’m happy to say that every decision I make revolves around this final goal.

The point is, it’s okay to be indecisive when it comes to choosing a major. It may be overwhelming at times, but as long as you keep your goals and dreams in mind over the course of your decision-making, indecisiveness can be viewed as having an open mind.

Are you in first year? Use this as the year to seize every opportunity, to excel in all of your courses. Go to your professor’s office hours, they don’t bite. Talk to them, maybe you’ll discover something new about them, about the course material, or about yourself. They may even offer you some insight on the degree you may or may not wish to pursue. Continue to do so in your upper-years as well.

Are you interested in pursuing a specific major, or two? Or, are you not sure? Every faculty’s Department Student Council holds events to acquaint students with what the major has to offer within Queen’s, and beyond. Attend these events and view them as opportunities for learning, and in some cases, free snacks.

Do you feel like indecisiveness is still getting the best of you? Get involved, join some clubs, and make the best out of your experience here at Queen’s. Who knows? That one club that crossed your mind once or maybe twice may actually help you discover that your true passion lies in environmental sustainability, or in working with young children. Take these opportunities to not only keep yourself busy and to meet like-minded people, but to acquaint yourself with what you want from life. I joined the student docent program at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre this year, and my experience there inspires me to incorporate a visual arts-based approach into my future classrooms.

For some extra guidance, it’s always a good idea to consult the Queen’s Faculty of Arts and Science, where academic guidance can help you steer in the right direction. Or, if you end up in a situation where, like me, you are unhappy with your major, they will be happy to help you choose what’s best for you.

Most importantly, set long-term goals for yourself, and orient your decision-making around those goals. Keep a vision board in your room, or write them down in your agenda, or a place where you can always see them. Always have your goals nearby to keep yourself focused in those moments of indecision. I like to keep various quotes on teaching in places that are visible to me, like my phone’s lock screen or my coffee mug.

University can be stressful by itself, so you shouldn’t let uncertainty dictate your thought patterns. Take indecisiveness as an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to find out where your true interests lie.


Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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The Art of Speaking

By Gaurav Talwar, 2nd year Life Sciences Student

Your adrenaline begins to pump. You feel your sweaty palms. Your legs begin to shake.

We all have been in one situation or another where the task of having to speak in front of a group of people seemed overly daunting and perhaps more difficult than writing a final exam. Whether that situation be responding to a professor’s question in an auditorium of 500 students, attending a job interview where your first impression really matters or simply giving a class presentation, we are repeatedly faced with the challenge of overcoming our fear of public speaking. However, as terrifying as we may make the situation seem, there IS A WAY to overcome our fear and to embrace public speaking in a more pleasant and enjoyable manner.

Personally, public speaking has been a passion for me since middle school. Despite feeling anxious before each time I spoke and oftentimes not doing as well as I hoped, I found myself becoming increasingly motivated to speak in front of large groups of people and to share my ideas. Simply put, I began to view public speaking as a form of art. Similar to how a painter may combine different colours, shapes and painting techniques to create a picture or how a musician may use different notes to create a complex rhythm, a public speaker tries to convey a particular message using a perfect balance of words and presentation techniques. Sometimes an artist finds a perfect balance while during other times they don’t. However, they do not give up after a rough patch of trials and instead practice their skills to perfection.

With that aim, I decided to join a public speaking club here at Queen’s called Agora Speakers. During each of our meetings, we have the opportunity of giving impromptu speeches regarding various themes (sometimes interview questions, business style, anecdotes, scary stories during Halloween…) and to present any prepared presentations we may have for a course or outside commitment. The best part is that the club is totally student run! The club meets every Monday, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the JDUC and is a great place to practice your public speaking skills without the fear of being judged or making a mistake!

Just as a starting point, here are a few techniques which I have found to be very effective in giving presentations:

  1. If you have very little time to prepare for a response, try to find a structure. Figure out the first AND the last sentence of your speech and the main points you want to address in between. By having your speech mapped out in a logical manner, you can work off of a general outline and can guide yourself towards little goals during your speech.
  2. Avoiding using filler words. Filler words include “umm”, “like”, “you know” and anything else you may have a natural tendency to say when you are thinking out loud. As an alternative, practice varying your pace and using pauses. Having a 2-3 second pause in your speech may seem awkward and long to you, but it gives the audience a time to process what you have said and to get ready for what you will say next.
  3. Look confident! You may be very nervous inside, but the audience does not know that unless you tell them. If you fidget with papers in your hand, then perhaps try using cue cards instead of large scripts. If you move around aimlessly, then begin by planting your feet in a comfortable position. With practice, begin to walk around the room with purpose and use hand gestures to add emphasis to your key points.
  4. Don’t say sorry! When we make mistakes (e.g. you forget saying a sentence, need to back track for a bit, or need to pause), we often apologize. However, unless what you said is truly a major blunder, continue to move on. Saying sorry only adds emphasis to the mistake and forces the audience to notice it, even if they did not notice at first.
  5. Before a prepared presentation, record your practice presentations and watch them constructively critique yourself. Also, grab a few friends and ask them to give constructive feedback. Even better, join a club like Agora Speakers!

Hopefully with the few tips mentioned above and with a more positive outlook on public speaking, you can overcome any of the remaining stress you face when presenting (although feeling a little nervous is completely fine!). After all, public speaking is a form of art you have been practicing since the time you spoke your first few words. All you have to do now is to master the skill.

Photo courtesy of Brisbane City Council under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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How to EXAM without losing your TAM

By Alexa Fenton, 3rd year ConEd History/English student

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Exams. People are walking around Stauffer in their socks, Grocery Checkout is out of chocolate covered almonds and M&M’s, and you don’t remember what real jeans feel like. You’ve seen more plastic exam baggies than friends in the past two days, and you have to hold onto the railing as you go down the stairs of Stauffer, lest your newborn deer legs buckle under the weight of your temporary freedom and atrophying muscles as you leave the library late at night.

Exams aren’t a whole lot of fun for anyone. That is, unless your proctor is doing a really good crossword that day. Despite being a 3rd year student (Concurrent Ed., History Major, English Minor), exams still tend to provoke a lot of anxiety within me. They are scary. You have only 3 hours to prove everything you know about a subject. Advanced preparation (i.e. more than 24 hours!) is the key to success.

Here are some crucial tips for getting through this crunch time and maintaining the semblance of a feeling that you’re still human:

1.  Do not become one of those zombies in “I am Legend.”

Channel your inner Will Smith and get enough sleep. It’s hard to save the world, let alone study when you can’t feel your fingers.

2.  Maintain structure.

Try your best to work the same length of time, at the same time each day. Some people like to think of working a ‘9-5 job’.

3.  Move.

You don’t need to go to the gym everyday, but you do need to take a break and let your blood flow a bit. It is recommended that you at least go for a short walk with a friend if you can’t fit in a run. It’s amazing what fresh air will do for your brain.

4.  Plan ahead.

Make an exam schedule in advance. Break down the 20 days leading up to your exams – how many days do you need to study for each exam? How many hours will you get in per day? Asking yourself these important questions now allows you to focus on the important stuff (learning the actual material) when the time counts.

5.  Mark your turf.

Find a good study spot(s) and stick to it/them.

6. Review.

Past exams are your friend. Use them.

7.  Reward yourself after the exam rain or shine.

Sure, it might not have gone as well as you had hoped, but you put a lot of effort into it, and that is to be commended! Treat ‘yo self.

Best of luck to all as we take on this tough time! Remember you’re worth more than just your marks.

Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Blog: Some further thoughts on the importance of outlining …

I know that a lot of people think that writing an essay outline is a waste of time. I’m here to convince you otherwise. I spent all of my high school years and at least one of my university years as an anti-outliner, but I finally realized that, for years, I’d been going about my papers in the wrong way.

Why should you write an outline?

Believe it or not, I find that the most difficult part of an essay is the outline, but I also think that it’s the most important (aside, of course, from the actual essay itself). I say it’s difficult because I use it as a tool to organize my ideas and to clarify my argument, and I find those aspects of essays to require the most brainpower. Once I’ve outlined my main points, I can see if any part of my thesis remains unsupported (rare) or if any of my points are digressions from my argument (basically every essay I’ve ever written). At that point, if I need to, I can cut out some points or do some more research. It’s also pretty great for making sure that your paper is balanced – nobody likes to read eight pages about your first point, and only two pages about your second.

Another bonus of having an outline is that you can take it to your TA for feedback. It’s one thing to have a TA approve your thesis (something I always recommend before beginning to write), but, if your TA can see your whole outline (and is so inclined), she or he can suggest where your argument needs more support or where you should rearrange your ideas.

How should you write an outline?

I have no one answer for this question. If you find a way that works for you, stick with it; if not, try something else. You want your outline to put your thoughts in order: you should try to have your ideas build on each other throughout your paper. In a strong essay, intentional paragraph order is important – you shouldn’t be able to randomly rearrange your paragraphs and have your argument still make as much sense, or “flow” as well from one point to another. Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to prove your entire thesis in every paragraph. Work through it bit by bit, and support those bits with different paragraphs.

Personally, I like to outline by word count. I tend to write short essays, and I find that if I ascribe a certain number of words to each concept, it keeps me on track. I also like to colour code my outline (usually with highlighter dots), both because it looks pretty and because I can then go through my notes and mark the points that go in each section of my paper. From there, all I have to do is group all of my pink dots and all of my green dots, and then my essay practically writes itself.

Another method that I know is popular, especially if you’re technologically savvy and like to type up your notes, is to create your outline by cutting and pasting your notes into groups of main points. After that, you can just reword your clumps of notes into coherent sentences, and again, your essay is essentially writing itself.

If neither of those methods appeal to you, check out the Writing Centre’s handout on outlines:

Good luck with your essays, and until next time, happy writing!


Image of Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar outline courtesy of under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No-Derivations 2.0 license.

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The Beauty of Looking Forward

By Zoe Clarke, 2nd year Bio/Music student

When I grow up, I want to be a ___________ (insert super-cool-most-likely-unattainable-potentially-involving-magical-powers-job-here). This phrase has been said by probably every small child under the age of 10. It seems like when we were younger, we just had this beautiful ability to see the glory in what waited next for us around the corner of life. We didn’t worry about the struggles it would take to get there (I mean, it can’t be that hard to become a superhero, am I right?)

So when did this all change? Why, all of the sudden, did our future turn from glorious to grim? From daring to dismal? From brilliant to barren? Why don’t we picture ourselves as these incredible people that we still have the rest of our lives to become, and instead are cowering under the fear of hot, sweaty exam rooms, and assignments that break your wrist? These images seem rather… well… scary! They certainly don’t make you look forward to your next day of class.

So what can we do on those difficult days when it’s just so hard to get out of bed and the day is just too intimidating to face?

Perhaps the key is to keep looking ahead – but let’s look past those textbook readings and assignments that you feel like you can’t possibly finish. Picture yourself in 5 years. Where are you? Are you taking part in a biological research project in Antarctica? Are you published in a well-read newspaper? Are you sitting on a lake with your parents having a picnic? Let me guess – your future image of you doesn’t depend on the mark you got on one 10% paper.

Unfortunately, it can be so easy to blow up little tasks and assignments into such huge deals to worry and stress over. I can’t say I haven’t done it myself! But all too often, we let our homework get the better of us, and it starts affecting our overall health and well-being – our happiness. But it doesn’t have to. Let’s get ourselves out of this loop of worry, shall we?

It all starts with one step in the right direction. Divide that huge assignment into smaller chunks and work until your first checkpoint. Bang. Check! There’s one less thing to worry about. Now schedule in 10 pages of those text readings (not the entire thing, mind you), and put a break at the end to chat with your friends. Check! There’s another task done! Get into a routine of doing at least an hour of homework before your first morning class. Check! There’s a task accomplished already and the day has hardly even begun!

Now look at that – you didn’t get every single thing done, but breaking down some of those large, scary tasks into chunks and getting them under control sure did make you feel on top of things, didn’t it? In fact, you’ve probably even got enough extra time to schedule into your evening to go to swing dance club or go watch a movie with some friends! And there isn’t a single drop of guilt involved.

This is where you let go of some of that unnecessary stress and worry. Every time you pick up a boulder, you don’t have to drop it on your toe, – (please don’t drop it on your toe!) – but, you can instead start chipping away at it and carve it into something beautiful. I mean, the process will be long, but you can dream while you’re at it. Please let yourself dream! Dream about your cool future job. Dream about the look of your shiny new degree hanging on your wall. Dream about exploring the world! If you’re feeling stressed, dream about a time where nothing you’re doing right now will really matter that much, because it will come eventually.

Fill your dreams with hope, love, inspiration, and excitement – rediscover the beauty of looking forward.


Photo courtesy of Lane Pearman under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Beating the Midterm Blues

By Sam Werger, 4th year History student

The end of October, as we know all too well, is quite a busy time of the school year for most of us. Assignments are beginning to pile up. Due dates that seemed so far away in September are rapidly approaching. Midterms abound. To top it all off winter is in the air and the inevitable grey skies and slushy streets are inching closer and closer. All of this can be daunting and it can be all too easy to get down on yourself during this hectic time of year. But there are some simple things we can all do to stay positive and beat the midterm blues.

Take breaks. This may seem counter-intuitive to some of us but it is all too important. We may think we lack the time to take breaks:

“Breaks?! I don’t have time to take a break! I NEED to study for 8 hours straight for my midterm exam on Friday.”

While regular review is immensely important in achieving academic success, it is not the only element of good study habits. Breaks are an absolute must when studying. If you’ve ever been so fortunate to hear a PLA presentation you probably know about the 50/10 rule. For those of you who have not been so fortunate allow me to explain. The 50/10 rule stipulates that you should study for 50 minutes then take a 10-minute break. Since studies have shown that the brain, on average, retains the first 25 minutes of studying and the last 25 minutes the 50/10 rule will boost your focus and help you retain more information. Additionally, the 50/10 rule will keep you out of the doldrums of marathon study sessions. Not only will your focus improve but your overall mood will be more positive if you take productive breaks. Don’t just watch a ten minute YouTube video; go outside and take a stroll down University Avenue or grab a cup of tea in the ARC. This type of active break will keep you refreshed and focused over long study periods.

The 10-minute break is great but sometimes a more substantial break is needed. Too often, we can get trapped in the habit of sitting in Stauffer all day long. This can be productive when done properly (i.e. using the 50/10 rule) but sometimes it’s just too much and can actually be counterproductive. As the days get shorter it isn’t uncommon for many students to see very little sunlight around this time of year. Furthermore, too many of us begin to neglect our mental and physical health. Sitting all day hunched over a laptop is simply not a sustainable practice. The human body requires exercise to keep it healthy. Take a long walk, enjoy the fresh air by the lake, hit the gym for a quick workout, and take the time to cook yourself a nice meal. The key is to stay fresh and energized physically. This will translate into a more positive mood, increased mental alertness and focus, and will improve your studying.

Mental health is especially important at all times of year and during this time of year it can be especially difficult to maintain. It is so easy to get down on yourself this time of year and to dwell on your shortcomings. Even if you’re taking care of your physical health your mental health could still be dragging behind. First, remember that you are not alone. Call your best friend. Call your parents. Call your grandparents (they love when you call). The people who love you the most will always be there to support you. Your emotional well-being is so important and it can have an effect on your academic success. Never hesitate to reach out to your loved ones for support. Try your best to stay positive and remember that this will all soon pass. Keep on working hard and taking the time to take care for yourself. We’re lucky at Queen’s to have people -professionals and volunteers- who want to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the many Queen’s services. Of course, the PLA’s have great learning strategies to help you succeed. There is also the Peer Support Centre and there are professionals on campus who want to help you, such as Student Health.


Photos courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Staying On Top Of It All!

By Anna Farronato, 4th year Con-Ed/Environ. Sci student

Whether you are in the midst of midterms or have a number of papers due, one thing that most students can all agree on is that we are in the middle of one of the busiest and most stressful times of year. Many students are faced with what seems like endless amounts of midterms and large assignments, with course work and readings to top it all off. It is a busy time of year indeed, and these items tend to pile up fast. Deadlines seem weeks away, until you realize that you have left everything till the last minute. Many students assume they will simply be able to stay on top of it all without the required effort; however, that is not always the best plan of action. The middle of the semester certainly has a reputation for putting students behind, and I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling a little bit crunched for time. It’s completely normal to feel like you’ve fallen behind; however, Learning Strategies has some great tips and ticks on how to stay on top of it all for the rest of the semester!

Taking the time to plan and use your time effectively and efficiently is one of the most important strategies for keeping on track. This might seem difficult, but having effective time management is one of the best things you can do to avoid cramming come exam time. A great tool for planning your time is using a weekly schedule or daily to do list. By writing down tasks that need to be completed, this allows for a clear visual representation of how much you have on your plate and allows you to designate the necessary time for each task to be completed. By using these tools, you can schedule in some “catch up” time to complete missed readings, notes, etc. One thing to keep in mind is not spending too much time on catching up that you are falling behind on current content. Given the circumstance, it may or may not be realistic to catch up completely. While it is important to catch up on missed readings, notes, and assignments, prioritization should be involved when allotting time for catch up. For example, if you have fallen behind on 3 weeks of making notes on readings, and you have a ton of other work on your plate, try scaling back the detail of your notes to save time.

Another important tip to help keep up with your course work and prepare you for midterms is to review your notes soon after each lecture. This will make studying way easier, as you will feel much more prepared for when the day of your midterm or test approaches. Scheduling in time to review is just as important as scheduling in time to complete assignments and to study for tests. Paying attention to how much work you can do in a certain period of time, and how quickly you actually read a chapter will be very beneficial for prioritizing your time effectively. It is also important to remember that not all assignments and midterms are “equal” and some courses will be more important or more difficult for you. It is essential that you keep in mind setting realistic goals and prioritizing your time appropriately.

One last tip to help you stay on top of your work is to keep yourself motivated. Getting the motivation to study, do readings and make notes can sometimes be difficult. To help get started, one tip that I like to use is the “5 More Rule.” This means committing to 5 minutes, or 5 pages of reading, or 5 sentences to write. From here, try the 50/10 rule (study for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break). If the 50/10 rule doesn’t work for you, try setting a different target in terms of time spent on the current activity, or amount of work to be completed. Everyone is different when it comes to how long they can keep concentrated on a task. If you’re finding that distractions are a problem, try working in a quiet place away from friends and turn off your technology. Lastly, remember to think positively, believe in yourself, and reward yourself after reaching your goals.

These are just some of many great tips that Learning Strategies has to offer to help you get back on track with your courses. You can visit the Strategies and Tools page to find more helpful tips and tricks on exam preparation, stress and coping strategies, motivation and concentration, and much more!


Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Getting Involved at University

By Sam Taylor, third-year ConEd English student

Queen’s Yoga Club A Grant Hall welcome! Queen’s Bands performing at Homecoming 2016

Sometimes the most difficult step is the first one. Whether you are in your first year of university or your last, there is some way that everyone can become involved. When I made my transition from high school to university, I personally found it challenging to get involved. I felt like there were just so many people here and I was very overwhelmed by the amount of information I was receiving that I didn’t put myself out there. Unfortunately, this is something I regret doing. In order for you all to learn from my mistakes, here are a few tips on getting involved in university!


Why Should I Get Involved?

One of the main reasons why you should become involved is because it transforms your overall experience as a student. Joining a new club or team gives you the opportunity to be put into situations where there are new people with various interests and experiences; sometimes these things are different from your own! These people could become some of your closest friends or even teach you something new that you might not have known without meeting them.

Existere: Social action theatre group that aims to raise awareness around important issues relevant to first-year students coming to Queen’s, including living in residence, academics, health, violence, sex, alcohol, and diversity.

Finding various ways to meet new people helps give you a sense of belonging in this new environment. As I mentioned above, in my first year I was overwhelmed by the amount of people at the university in comparison to my high school. Thus, sometimes I felt like I was just another student at the university and I wasn’t playing a critical role here. It was in second year when I expanded my horizons and joined three different clubs that I began to feel more confident about my place as a student here.

Another beneficial aspect of getting involved as a student is the amount it can benefit you after you graduate. Employers are looking for well-rounded employees. These well-rounded employees were once students who became involved with more than just their school work. Being immersed in a variety of ways at work or school helps to shape your character and also positively influences the environment around you.


Queen’s Recreation and Services

Ways to Get Involved!

My best advice on choosing something to become involved with is joining something that you care about. By joining a club or team that you are passionate about, it will be more enjoyable and easier to balance amongst school work and other aspects of your busy schedule. If you cannot seem to find a club that best suits you, create one! Queen’s University consists of 270+ clubs that are student run. So go ahead, get involved!


Photos courtesy of Hillary Newediuk (Queen’s Yoga Club), Queen’s University and Queen’s Recreation and Services under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Making Molehills out of Mount Doom

By Sophie Lachapelle, third-year Health Studies and Global Development student

Let’s talk about The Lord of the Rings. Frodo the hobbit was given the mission of destroying the One Ring, essentially destroying all evil in the world. As you could expect, the journey wasn’t completed in a one shot attempt. Frodo, with the Fellowship of the Ring, worked tirelessly for months to reach his goal while making sacrifices along the way. As we all know, the Ring was destroyed, Lord Sauron was defeated, and Middle Earth experienced peace once again.

Okay, back to Queen’s University in Kingston for a second. We’re still lamenting the end of Thanksgiving and perhaps recovering from Homecoming Weekend – why are we talking about Lord of the Rings? Although I am a big fan of the movies, there is a lesson to be learned here.

Who has a big project (or two, or five) due sometime in the next seven weeks of class? Ya, me too. Don’t those titles like “Final Term Essay” or “Group Project Discussing Everything We’ve Ever Learned” sound a bit intimidating? I’m sure that Frodo felt the same way when Lord Elrond gave him the Ring to destroy. It would be really easy right now to ride the holiday train a few more weeks and put off starting those mountainous projects. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer grade-weight that this project will have on your final mark, I suggest you follow Frodo’s example: take it one phase at a time. As we say at Learning Strategies, “Make molehills out of mountains.

When I write an essay, I break it into four stages: research, outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. I generally try to leave a week for each stage so that I’m not racing against time two days before the deadline. Frodo and his friends did something similar; their journey was broken up into crossing smaller geographical distances, instead of traversing the whole of Middle Earth in one go. Not only did breaking up the journey re-energize Frodo to take on the next stage, it gave him the motivation and pressure he needed to continue.

Try breaking up your projects into more manageable steps and you’ll be more likely to start them earlier, put more effort into the final results, and finish with a higher degree of satisfaction. If you need some help breaking up your projects, head on over to the Queen’s Learning Commons’ Assignment Calculator and simply enter the desired project start and end dates to see a schedule of smaller, easier-to-complete deadlines!

If you’re like me and you like to see when projects are due ahead of time, print off a couple copies of the Learning Strategies Term Calendar Template! This term calendar will help you visualize each deadline in relation to the others – an important thing to keep in mind when you have more than one final project!

Although these last seven weeks may feel like you’re travelling through Middle Earth on a nearly impossible mission, remember that if Frodo can climb up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring, you can finish this project. You’ve got this.


Photo courtesy of Antoine Skipper under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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“Not just about the marks you get, but the marks you make”

By Nicole Teplin, third-year Con-Ed Psych/Religious Studies student

There is such a heavy emphasis placed on the grades you get in university. We strive for perfection and are disappointed when our marks do not reflect the effort we put in. The pressure to do well in school can come from our parents, professors, peers, and sometimes our worst critic is ourselves!

Although marks are certainly important, they are not all that matter. There are other aspects of your university career that are arguably just as important, if not more! It is believed that people do not regret the things they have done, but regret the things they did not do when they had the chance. It is important to make the most of your university experience because it will be over before you know it and you do not want to leave with any regrets. There are many ways to make your time at Queen’s count. Take the initiative to broaden your horizons and push yourself to be the absolute best version of yourself. You can do this by taking on new learning opportunities and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Join that intramural team or attend that conference! It will also improve your university experience to get involved in a variety of ways.

You have the power to make a difference by simply joining a club that interests you or starting your own if you do not feel connected to an existing club on campus. This is a great way to experience personal growth and pursue your passions, as well as meet others who have similar interests to you. If you take advantage of all of the opportunities that Queen’s has to offer, you will leave feeling accomplished and have no regrets upon graduating. Use your time at university to explore your passions and gain experience in a variety of areas. Remember that you get what you put in and it is never too late to get involved. Queen’s has a lot to offer you, but you also have a lot to offer it, so show this place what you are made of and let your voice be heard.

So, how will you make your mark?


Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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