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Meet our 2021-22 student bloggers

Introducing our student bloggers for 2021-22: Noor, Liyi, Santosh and Shahnawaz

Below, our team of bloggers introduce themselves, their plans for this year, and their anxieties and excitement as they start the 2021-22 year .

Check back regularly to hear about Noor, Liyi, Santosh and Shahnawaz’s academic journey this year. They’ll share all the tips, tricks and lessons they learn along the way!


Hi everyone! My name is Noor and I am so excited to go into my first year of Health Sciences at Queen’s. I’ve lived in Toronto since I was four, but I’m ready to explore all Kingston has to offer. I love baking, sports, travelling, going on adventures, and spending time with family and friends. I am a huge adrenaline junkie. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to go skydiving or bungee jumping somewhere in the world. If anyone wants to join me, feel free to let me know! 🙂

By writing this blog, I want to connect with other students. Come what may, I want you to feel like you’re not alone. All of us will experience struggles and joys in our first year. High school was somewhat similar. Anyone familiar with the word “procrastination”? Because I can’t name one week in grade 12 where that word didn’t come up. We’ve all been there: there’s weeks to complete an assignment but we don’t start until the last day. Then when we get a bad grade, it must be the teacher’s fault. They didn’t give us enough time, right? Well, apparently procrastination is something we’re all going to need to work on to stay on top of our game at Queen’s … let’s see how long we can last!

I’ve heard extracurriculars help you to find friends and feel less homesick. I am looking forward to participating in intramurals and some science-related clubs. In terms of my program choice, I am stoked to take unique courses in Health Sciences. I can’t wait to meet classmates and profs with similar academic interests. I hope that you too are excited to learn more about who you are and what you like. I know that with COVID things might be different, but hopefully by staying optimistic and approaching everything with an open mind, university will meet my expectations. I encourage you guys to do the same. We’ll see how it goes; I’ll make sure to keep you updated—and you can keep me updated in the comments below!

I am beyond ecstatic to be able to share my experiences through the SASS peer blog. I hope that I’ll be able to share some tips and tricks so we can all succeed and find our way through the next four years at Queen’s. Let’s do this!


Hometown: Guelph

Program: BSc Engineering, Computing & Communications, Year 2

Hi, my name is Liyi! Last year when I wrote my SASS blog introduction, I had just completed high school, I was living in Guelph, and I was ecstatic but scared about my first year of Engineering. Now, I just finished my first year, I live in Kingston, and am ecstatic but scared about my second year!

When I visited Kingston for the first time in July, I joked that the city was an alternate reality of Guelph. Like Guelph, it felt happy and comfortable, with a great atmosphere. I’m sure walks around downtown Kingston and the pier will clear my head from school this year.

I’m excited to finally be on campus, and I’m interested to see how my motivation and procrastination progress in an in-person year. Last year, I struggled with learning content and finding the best way to study. It is challenging to learn information from several courses, and the constant barrage of new content makes me procrastinate.

Second year will be more complex, so I will need to keep up with the workload. I’m a perfectionist, so I will need to balance “you are spending too much time on this” and “this is not enough.” I like pretty notes, and I want to write too much info because I have major FOMO. Learning more in 2nd year plus my procrastination means I need to get better!

I’m excited to work on time-blocking, a form of time management where I assign a task to each hour of my day. That means time for essential tasks, so I feel in control, and for friends, family, and food too! I made a weekly calendar template that suits me already—you should try it too! Looking for time-management strategies is vital because staying focused on work is a skill we will use for the rest of our life, so I hope that time-blocking will (fingers-crossed) help me decrease my procrastination.

Engineering is tough, but I want to “work hard, play hard.” Meeting new people and overcoming challenges is part of university and life, so we should have fun in some of our best years! I can’t wait to do so in person this year. Best of luck to all of us, and let’s set ourselves up for success!



SASS Peer: Santash

Hometown: Ajax

Program: BSc Life Sciences, Year 3

Hey Gaels!

My name is Santosh and I’m delighted to be back for another year of SASS blogging! When I am not submerged in the books, you can find me on the soccer pitch, jamming on my guitar to the latest songs, and rooting for the Toronto Raptors!

Even though I’m starting third year, I feel I’ve only just begun to appreciate the amazing academic & non-academic opportunities here at Queen’s. From courses to clubs, there is so much we can do during our time at university. At first, that can be a big change. I struggled with managing my time during my first few months at Queen’s. Leaving my family and friends took a toll on me. It was not until I became a member of clubs and joined intramurals that I was able to integrate myself into the Queen’s community and find my place. Getting over that initial homesickness also helped me focus on my courses. First years: taking time out for extracurrics can actually BOOST your grades!

I have, however, been a procrastinator for as long as I can remember. Whether by a notification from my phone or the buzzing of a fly, I am easily distracted. This has caused me to endure several all-nighters. So I have decided that my goal this year is to increase my productivity and organization. Taking things one step at a time, I hope to get a little better over this year. What is one goal of yours for this year? Hopefully, we all accomplish most of what we set out to do over the next eight months!

As we inch closer to the beginning of another academic year, I would like to welcome all first-year students and welcome back upper-year students to Queen’s! I am excited to meet my peers once again and explore more of what Kingston has to offer. I am especially looking forward to attending in-person science labs this year since I love hands-on experiments. If you are nervous heading into the semester (which is totally normal), create a list of things you are excited to experience at Queen’s to hype you up. I hope this blog has amped you up for the year ahead. See you soon!



Hometown: Kingston

Program: MSc Public Health (Epidemiology), Year 1

Hi! I am a first-year MSc student in the Public Health Sciences department, specializing in Epidemiology. I was born in Kingston and have lived here all my life. In fact, I just finished my undergraduate Psychology major at Queen’s! Outside of the classroom, I enjoy playing and watching basketball, going for long walks, reading (like every other grad student!), and volunteering at the local hospital. I’m in the process of (slowly) teaching myself the piano. I hope to carry on playing throughout the school year.

Much of my academic growth followed shortly after I began my undergraduate studies. Experience taught me that the study habits that worked in high school—e.g. highlighting and re-reading textbook pages—would not suffice at the university level. Thankfully, I began experimenting with some evidence-based study strategies after my first semester (active recall being my favourite!) and have stuck with these methods since. My academic struggles today revolve around procrastination, time management, and perfectionism—especially when I am writing research papers. I feel a sense of urgency to improve in these areas because my graduate program is thesis-based: the next two years will involve a lot of writing.

A defining characteristic of grad school is the small class size—gone are the days of having >400 students crammed into a single lecture hall! Indeed, the Public Health Sciences department in its entirety consists of under 100 students. Personally, I am excited to begin a new area of study with a tight-knit cohort for the next two years. I can’t wait to start on my thesis about the mental health impacts of COVID. Lastly, like many of you, I also cannot wait to get back on campus in person this fall!

To my fellow incoming graduate students: congratulations on your acceptance, and welcome to Queen’s! I hope you explore the extra-curricular opportunities that our campus offers—there is something for everyone. Stay with me as I document my ups and downs. I will be sure to provide advice from lessons learned along the way!