Tips to Enjoying Your First Year of College

Tips to Enjoying Your First Year of College

College is an exciting and nerve-racking time, with endless possibilities. Many are moving out on their own for the first time, and while this can be stressful, once you develop a schedule and routine, you will be more comfortable. Here are a few tips that can hopefully help you thrive and enjoy in your first year of college.

  1. If you accidentally close Microsoft without saving your work, type .asd into file explorer in “my/this pc” your work will be there.
  2. Instead of deleting a sentence you accidentally typed in all caps, highlight it and press shift and F3 at the same time.
  3. To protect your computer from viruses, avoid downloading PDF files that end in “.exe.”
  4. If you are looking for practice tests so you can quiz yourself, type in google “site: edu (the subject) exam.”
  5. I highly suggest studying your notes the same day you take them; this will give you a better chance of remembering them.
  6. Trying to find your way around the Grande Prairie Regional College campus is nearly impossible, and it will take you a while to get used to it. A little information that will hopefully help is that rooms that are in the 100s are on the first level, 200s are on the second level, and 300s are on the third level.
  7. Get organized in whatever way works best for you, because you are responsible for scheduling your classes, study time, extracurricular activities, and homework.
  8. Even though some of your teachers will not require attendance, going to class is very helpful.
  9. Become friends with people in your classes because it can be helpful if you need class notes, or if you study better in groups.
  10. People often study differently, so find the best place for you. The second level of the library at GPRC is a great location; however, if you search, you can find a few hidden gems.
  11. Use a planner!! If it tracks important dates, deadlines, and schedules, one on your phone works just fine.
  12. The academic advisers at GPRC are very helpful as they will guide you when it comes to classes. They will also advise you if you are planning to transfer to another post-secondary institution or desire to go to grad school.
  13. Last year, I devoted my time to studying and was not involved in my community or college. I learned from this mistake. While this may prove difficult at first, learn to balance social activities and schoolwork. I highly recommend you seek out the clubs and events on campus; there is something for everyone!
  14. You have access to many resources on campus. There are two places on campus where you can find free tutoring. First, there is the academic success center in the library which has writing and grammar tutor, and math and science tutor. Second, there is the on-campus friendship which offers free tutoring, plus potlucks every third Wednesday of the month and unlimited coffee for a small price!
  15. If you struggle with maintaining excellent mental health, GPRC students have access to free, confidential, and professional mental health counseling. If you would like, you can make an appointment with Dr. Katie Stabb, the on-site college psychologist. Or, with the “My SSP” app, you can get confidentiality text or talk to a licensed psychologist, whenever you need, 24/7. They advise you to set aside 30 uninterrupted, minutes to talk to the psychologist; however, I advise an hour.
  16. For my last tip, exercise is essential. I love that as a student of GPRC; you have free access to the gym on campus!

While the first couple weeks of college may be stressful and overwhelming, do not worry, almost everyone feels this way. I know I sure did. Try your best to call your family and friends from home, no matter where they are; however, be open to making new friends. In the end, be sure to use all your resources and help each other out.

Submitted by GPRC Ambassador, Heidi Benson.

Tips for Managing Reading Week

Tips for Managing Reading Week

It is almost that time of year! The time that students everywhere look forward to… Reading Week!

I have been attending GPRC for the past four years. The first two years, I was taking just a class or two, but the past two years I have been a full-time student.  As a student I have very mixed feelings about Reading Week. It’s hard to not love the break, but truth be told, I have a really hard time getting back into the swing of things after Reading Week ends.  With that in mind, if anyone else feels the same struggles as I do, I have compiled a list of a few tips to help you with managing and staying on track during your Reading Week.

  1. Take the time at the beginning of the Reading Week break to make a list of what you want to accomplish over the week. Make a list, and plan the things that you want to do with your time.
  2. Get some rest during the week.
    Our brains are so tired, we really do need some sleep. Treat yourself to some early bedtimes.
  3. During your week off give yourself some time to plan out your next two months of school. Make a schedule using your course outlines as a guide to what is coming up. There is going to be a lot to do, but with a plan in place, you are laying out the ground work for success.
  4. Use some of Reading Week to get caught up. Whether that means doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning your house, or maybe making some meals for the week ahead.
  5. Plan some “you-time”. For myself, this means catching up on texts and phone calls, doing some Netflix binging, and taking my dog, Richelieu (shown in picture), for some good walks. Whatever it is, do things that make you feel good, things that have been weighing on your mind when you are busy with school.

  1. Don’t stop doing school work for the whole week. This is a big one. It is so hard to get back at it once you have completely stopped. I give myself a few days totally off, but then I start slowly getting back into the school routine.
  1. Use the weekend before school starts as a regular weekend. Meaning, use your weekend as you normally would during the school year.
    For me, that means coming to the college to study for a few hours, especially on Saturday, because that is what I do most weekends.

It definitely would be easy to take the whole week off, and I have done that… but the fact is, I’m way more successful at handling the after break blues when I follow these tips.

Have a great Reading Week everyone!

Submitted by Jessica Fontaine Gwin, Student Ambassador

Tips for Choosing Your Post-Secondary Path!

Tips for Choosing Your Post-Secondary Path!

College/University is one of the most exciting/stressful/important times in your life.

You’ve spent around 13-years of your life preparing to go out into the adult world of careers, bills and independence. You’ve decided to attend post-secondary and you have a general idea of what you want to do every day for the rest of your life. Now what?

The first time I applied to university I was 17 and in my senior year of high school. Growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere I set my heart on a big university experiences under the city lights many miles from home. It had tons of classes offered, was one of the top in the country, limited amounts of snow, and of course, some of my best friends had also chosen to go there.

Perfect! Or so I thought… turns out there’s a lot more to consider when choosing your post-secondary path.

Now that I’m in my second round of college, attending GPRC, I’m going to share five things with you that I wish I would have thought about when choosing my post-secondary path.

  1. Classroom Sizes

With big universities and colleges comes big classroom sizes. BIG classroom sizes. My first year of university I attended a Geography lecture with over 200 fellow students. I actually had to put a recording device at the front of the room to ensure I didn’t miss anything if I got stuck at the back of the hall. Sure, the professor had a microphone but every cough, laugh, keyboard click, and pencil scribble is amplified when there’s 200 of them.

I hadn’t considered that the bigger the school, the more students there were, the more faceless we became. My professors didn’t know my name, there was no time for 200 questions in a 90-minute lecture, and it was difficult to make friends or study partners with so many of us.

Having been able to attend GPRC I can see the difference smaller classroom sizes can make in my education. Professors know my name, I know my fellow student’s names and I can connect with them both offering and receiving support. Have the flu? No problem, your desk neighbour will share notes.  Need some clarification on a term used in a lecture? You got it, questions and discussions are welcomed in smaller classes.

  1. Distance to Classes

I knew my campus was going to be big heading to the university of my choice. Separate faculty buildings, floors and floors of classrooms, and multiple study areas. What I forgot about was the fact that I would need to both navigate and run from building to building in order to get to class on time. Sure, this is an excellent way to stave off the “Freshmen 15” but it’s also a great way to build up frustration and not make it to class on time.

Having kilometers between classes means you need to run, not walk, as fast as you can. Many of your core classes will be in the same building but electives, not so much. If running from A-Wing to J-Wing in 10 minutes at GPRC seems daunting, you’re going to want to definitely consider this with other universities/colleges.

  1. Grocery Shopping

If you have a vehicle and don’t mind driving in the city, it’s no problem to go grocery shopping. My first year of university I decided to go green and take the bus. The city had an excellent bus system and stopped at a variety of grocery stores. What I didn’t factor in is that carrying armfuls of groceries onto a packed city bus is not only difficult but often impossible. With two transfers and a 1 km walk, grocery shopping became a chore and ordering pizza became the solution (flashback to that pesky “Freshmen 15”). If I could do it all over again, I would definitely factor in my chosen university/college proximity to necessities. GPRC is right across the street from a grocery store…BONUS!

  1. Transferring

When I started university, I had a clear path to a career. I knew what I wanted to be, what courses I needed to take, and how long it would take me to get there. Two years into the program I realized life had other plans and my passions had taken me on a completely different path. What I didn’t know was that my old university didn’t offer the new program path I wanted to take and that transferring courses isn’t as simple as it sounds.

We all choose our programs with the best of intentions. Some of us know as soon as we can talk, some of us decide later in life, and some of us are just winging it and hoping for the best. Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry and sometimes our careers find us, rather than the other way around. Attending a college/university that offers transfer programs or is affiliated with other colleges/universities is an excellent way to ensure you’ll never be limited when life happens!

  1. Professors Who Care!

This is the most important part of college/university in my opinion and one that was not on my radar when I first chose my old university. While I like to think all professors care about their students, it’s not always possible on such a personal level that you can get at GPRC.

Look up professors student ratings for any faculty at GPRC and you’ll be overloaded with admiring comments and praises. The professor is the link between you and the knowledge. Having professors who genuinely want to see their students succeed and who are always working towards improving their own methods in the classroom is key to student success. If I had to pick one thing to focus on when choosing my post-secondary, it would be this. We look at what courses we need and what time slots they fall in and where they’re located but we don’t always look at who is going to be the one teaching it.

Choosing a post-secondary path is incredibly fun and nerve-wrecking, but I hope these tips will help make it a little less of the nerve-wrecking and a little more on the fun-side. And if you’ve already chosen I hope this helps make your decision even more concrete and congratulations on your first step to post-secondary education!

Submitted by GPRC Education Ambassador and student, Casey Caines.