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Student Survival Guide

How to build a student survival guide.

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How to build a student survival guide!

One approach to help you with an assignment like this one is to provide illustrative examples to draw on. This is the approach this response takes.

It is often a good place to start an assignment like this one, to look to those who have already written a student survival guide. Then, you can include what you think will be important to you. These student survival guides are sometimes written by authors who have researched this topic (see Illustrative Example 1 below), or by students (sometimes after the fact) who know what she or he is talking about from experience (see Illustrative Example 3 below). Researchers also write books which include student survival guides (sometimes researchers have also been students), or who have interviewed students (see Illustrative Example 2 below). Others are written through research students and what they found useful (or not) in order to survive as a student (see Illustrative example 1 below).

Let's look at the following three illustrative examples. You would incorporate the components that you think will be most beneficial for your survival as a student. The second example is an excerpt from a book and fairly lengthy (/// means I left some information out), but it has some good tips to consider (although written in the UK it is applicable to other countries as well).

Illustrative Example 1: Student Survival Guide

Beginning college or university can be daunting, to say the least. Suddenly you're thrown into classes with hundreds of other students (if you can find your classes, that is). You have so many exams to study for that you're thinking of turning that empty shelf in the library into your new bed. The residence food tastes like soap and it's making you fat. Yes, university may seem scary at first, but don't go running home to mommy just yet. Our super-duper guide to surviving - and thriving - in your first year will help you get through the tough times.
Well, at least it should get you to second year.

Money money money!
"Everything is always more expensive than you think it is going to be. And if choosing between rent and food - your rent can wait 14 days."
- Joshua Shire, University of Alberta, History '07
"I never use debit and I don't have a credit card, because when you don't see the money you're spending, you spend it a lot quicker. "
- Eric Lam, Ryerson University, Journalism '09

Beware those extra pounds
"Sure, I can talk about the freshman 15. I know a kid who did the freshman 40! If you want to avoid the 15 you need to remember two things: It's not the food that's going to make you gain the most weight, it's the beer, cheap beer. And just because paying for food doesn't seem real when you just swipe a card, you shouldn't be buying a pint of Haagen-Dazs every night."
- Belle Kaplan, University of Waterloo, Kinesiology '09

Choosing your major
"Study what interests you! Not only will you do better in your courses, but it can lead to a career that you will enjoy too. Remember, what you decide isn't etched in stone. Whether you want to switch majors or add one, you're free to - it's not as finite as we are sometime lead to believe."
- Alycia Rodrigues, University of Toronto, French & Religion '07

Mimi is your wise elder
· "If your professor has a blue, sad face on ratemyprofessors.com, get out of the class."
· "Something that gets me through a really boring class is repeating the following lines in my head: You paid for this. You paid for this. You can't get a refund. You paid for this."
· "Sleep is a privilege, not a right."
- Mimi Szeto, Ryerson University, Journalism '08

Really, your professors do not want to eat you! (But a few will try to nibble)
"I wish someone had told me that professors are real people. I missed out on a full first year of hanging out with smart people because I thought they were a different breed, when it turns out they're 'hip' and 'with it!' (Just kidding, profs, I think you're sincerely cool. And so should every first year.)"
- Sara Johansson, Western Ontario '06, Calgary '08 Linguistics, Anthropology
"If you're nervous about an exam, see your professor during office hours. Tell them how you're planning on studying and [ask them] whether it's a good approach. Ask whether there are certain materials you don't need to spend as much time going over, etc. If you talk to your professors, they can usually give you hints on what will show up on the exam. Chatting with the prof after class or during office hours is a good method of getting to know them - which is essential if you ever want a reference letter."
- Helen Thi, UBC '07 Political Science

Recall the athletes' guide to good decision-making
"As a first-year varsity athlete there are many new choices that come about in your life. When one of your new compatriots asks for you to have a 'social drink' a few hours before a tryout, it is a good idea to pass on that offer. When that same compatriot enters your room at three in morning on the night before a game to engage in further 'debauchery," stand your ground. In the end, these choices are yours to make and yours alone. Most importantly though, as the infamous Hal Johnson and Joanne Mcleod once said, 'Keep fit and have fun!'"
- Jordan Balaban and Laura Joudrie, Queens, Commerce '07& '08

If all else fails, remember Ilia's advice
Class seating: "Do you sit at the front of the class or by the hot guy/girl? Most people will tell you that you sit at the front so your attention is focused on the lecture. However, you can supplement what you missed in a lecture at home. Are there any lookers there? Who you aren't related to?"
Food: "Know the consequences of eating burgers and ginger beef every day ... fatty."

People to avoid:
· "The 'I can drink so much' guy - No one is impressed by his stories. Note: Usually, this is also the 'I hook up all the time' guy. Lies.
· The "hip" old dude - He'll try to tell you not to get caught "ridin' dirty" and that the "hizzy fo shizzy." Don't give him the attention he craves.
· The ultra philosophical - He'll scoff when he learns you can't debate 'Locke's Second Treatise' or don't listen exclusively to indie. His contemptuous smirk will often be visible when people mispronounce 'Caramel Macchiato' - but he'll take their order anyway. "

People to know:
· Professors - "Be nice to the people that grade you.
· The social butterfly - Keep up with the scene by knowing the girl who knows everyone.
· The quiet ones - You always gotta watch out for the quiet ones."
Textbooks: "Buy used if you can. But, don't rely on what other people have highlighted. Despite what you may think, there are some stupid people in university."
- Ilia Poliakov, University of Calgary, Medicine '07

Don't be afraid ...
"What's the worst that could happen? You asking a stupid question, when probably all 80 people in the class are wondering the same thing. There are no stupid questions, just redundant ones. "
- Vivian Wong, UBC, International Relations'08

And lastly...
Get involved! Join a club or organization. Find a mentor, and a buddy who can fill you in on missed classes. Most importantly, know that what you learn outside of the classroom can be even more profound than what goes on inside of the classroom. And know that these years will go by before you realize it, so make them the best you can.

Good luck, first years. You'll be fine.

URL: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/consumers/student-survival-guide.html.

Illustrative Example 2:

Excerpted from Student Survival Guide. Copyright © 2001 by Lucy Clarke and Jenny Hawkins. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher

Student Survival Guide by Lucy Clarke and Jenny Hawkins
From Freshers' week antics and party games to renting a house and health care. This is the ultimate guide to surviving university, written by those in the know.

Student Survival Guide by Lucy Clarke and Jenny Hawkins How To Books, 2001, £5.99 pp 166

Freshers
Freshers' week - the thing you've been excited about all summer, heard crazy tales of, and will probably never forget for the rest of your life. This chapter will help to guide you through the haze that is your first taste of independence, so good luck and enjoy!

Things to Bring to University
? Passport photos - crucial for various forms and new identification cards, e.g. NUS, or membership for sports clubs and societies.
? Fancy dress - there will be numerous themed parties and nights out, so it's time to dust off that gorilla costume you've been dying to show off.
? Umbrella - especially if moving to Wales.
? Mobile phone - not essential, some unis may have phones in each room.
? Map - try to get a map of the new area early so you can get your bearings. A local guide of 'What's On' is a handy way of finding out the places to go in your new town.
? Bike - depending on where you're living, a bike is a cost-effective way of getting around. Remember to bring a bike lock. If you are taking a car, check that there is parking at your halls of residence.
? Address book - crucial for staying in touch. Note down all your friends' birthdays too.
? Bottle opener - need we explain?
? Young Person's Railcard - gives you a third off all train journeys. Definitely a worthwhile investment.
? Camera - useful for reminding you of what the drink made you forget.
? Headache tablets - if there's one thing you'll regret leaving behind on a Sunday morning - it's these.
?ID - passport or birth certificate is an essential.
? National Insurance details - you'll need these if you're thinking about getting part-time work.
? Adaptor plug.
? Washing powder.

Kitchen equipment
If you are in self-catered accommodation then it's a good idea to wait and see what other people bring in case you end up with five toasters, seven kettles, and no one brings any chopping knives or oven trays. For catered accommodation, it's always useful and sociable to have a kettle in your room.

Bedroom
? Photos - so you don't forget what your Mum looks like.
? Posters - sometimes worth waiting as there are generally poster sales at the start of each semester (NB some halls of residence won't let you put them up).
? Lamp - for study or bedside.
? Bedding - unless specified, bring your own duvet and sheets.
? Sleeping bag - in case you have friends staying.
? Alarm clock - so you can get up for opening time.

Tips from the home-front.
? Get some tips from your folks about how to work a washing machine and how to change a light bulb. (Sounds daft, but you'd be surprised how much you don't know about living on your own.)
? If self-catered, jot down the recipes of your favourite home-cooked dishes, it's useful to wash the alcohol down with a little food now and then. (See recipe section).

What Freshers' Week Consists of
? Getting drunk.
? Enrolment - be prepared for some long queues, and you may need those passport photos at this stage.
? Joining sports clubs and societies.
? Sorting out your room and unpacking.
? Locating your whereabouts in relation to lecture halls and pubs etc.
? Registering with a doctor.
? And most importantly - meeting people.

Meeting People
You will meet hundreds of people in your first couple of weeks at university and make the same small talk over and over again, which usually consists of four questions:
1. your name
2. where you're from
3. what course you are studying
4. where your accommodation is.

These questions may become tedious, but stick with it.

If in the first week or so you don't meet anyone you can see yourself becoming friends with, don't despair, there are usually thousands of people at each university, and there will be someone you click with eventually.

It always feels as though everyone else has instantly settled in and has a secure circle of friends already. But this is rarely the case. The people you spend the first week with are not necessarily the people you'll spend the rest of your 3 years with.

Tips for meeting people
? Smile and be approachable.
? Make an effort to introduce yourself to the people in your hall/flat.
? Socialise - even if you just feel like curling up and going to bed, don't.
? If you are feeling homesick, don't stay in your room. There's always someone to introduce yourself to, or share a cup of tea with which will make you feel much better than being alone.
? Try and make friends with a couple of people from your course, it's good to have someone to walk to your first lectures with.
? When someone introduces themselves, make an effort to say their name in conversation, it comes across as friendly and will make them more receptive to you. It's also useful for helping you to remember their name amongst the hundreds you'll be grappling with. It can be slightly awkward asking someone's name after being best mates with them for three months!
? And remember, everyone is in the same boat.

Gap years
If you have been travelling in your gap year, try and curb the wealth of experiences you are dying to share. Perhaps save them for other 'gappies', or those 'truly interested' in your day-by-day briefing of 11 months in Thailand.

Joining Clubs
Joining clubs is one of the best ways of meeting new people. Most universities have a sports and societies' fair where you are encouraged to sign up for clubs that take your fancy. It gives you a chance to find out about what each club offers, such as meeting/training times, social opportunities and possible expenses involved.
Not only are sports clubs a great opportunity of meeting like-minded people, they are also a fun way of staying fit and healthy to keep that beer belly at bay.

WARNING!
Be careful not to join too many clubs, it may end up being expensive and you won't have time to do everything. There's no need to rush into signing up, you can always join later in the year after checking out your timetable and speaking to other club members.

Sport is good for you
Sport plays a major part in many students' lives, whether you are someone who does the odd fitness class, or a committed hockey player who trains twice a day. Sport not only helps you keep a healthy body and a healthy mind, it's also a great release from work pressures, especially around exam time. It makes you feel part of something and offers you the opportunity to take part in university life, building strong friendships as you go.

Don't be put off if you are a beginner at something; university clubs cater for all levels of ability, and university is a great time to indulge in a new passion. Make the most of what's on offer - it is unlikely that you will get ...

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