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EP 01: Settling Into the Routine of School

Welcome to our weekly show – The Homework Help Show!

We are here to bring value to your life as a student. Today we will be discussing back to school routines, homework, exploring new things, and how to get it together! Join the conversation and ask your questions today.


Cath Anne: [00:00:04] My name is Cath Anne and I am the host of Homework Help Global’s “The Learning Studio”. We are launching our first episode today and I’m just going to wait a little bit so that people can log on and join the live stream before I get started.

Cath Anne: [00:00:23] So it’s really nice to see some people jumping on to join us. Hello @coachkaur. Thank you for joining us. So I wanted to explain a little bit about what we want to do with this program. This is a livestream put on by Homework Help Global and I will be hosting every week so I will be coming on and talking to you about what it’s like to be a student, answering some questions about academic life and personal life. All those things that kind of go hand in hand with being a student. Our hope is that we will bring some value into your life as a student and offer you some tips to help you navigate the university life and respond to questions as we go along. So the ideas that this program will kind of evolve as we gain some more viewers and hopefully you’ll be able to contribute to some of the content that we end up releasing on the program. Some of the content that we’ll be putting out is we’ll be talking about school routines, so how to get into the routine of maximizing your abilities and capabilities as a student. We will be talking about homework of course. I’ll be giving you some tips around different kinds of formatting, how to do research and things like that exploring different ways of connecting with community and just enhancing your life as a student and how to stay organized and how to make the best of your experiences as a student as well. So we’re really hoping to add some value to your experience. We’re really hoping that you will continue to join us each week as we as we evolve and as we go along with the program.

Cath Anne: [00:02:50] So I see some peoople have joined on Instagram. Thank you Ginny. I hope you enjoy. And as we go along I can respond to questions as we go. So feel free to put them in the comment boxes or you can use the hash tag #askHHG. And that’s capital H H G. So it’s hashtag #askHHG and that’s how you will be able to give us some questions or else you can use the comments as we continue to go live here. So I guess I’ll just jump into the content that we wanted to cover for this week. So this week we wanted to talk about getting into the routine of school and exploring new things. In other words, how do you kind of set yourself up to maximize your school year. We thought that would be a good topic to start off with since the beginning of the school year. I guess I’ll introduce myself a little bit.

Cath Anne: [00:03:59] Just before we jump into the content, like I said my name is Cathy and I will be hosting the show every week. I am a former social worker turned freelance writer and I am also a writer for Homework Help Global. I’ve been working with the organization for about three years now and I absolutely love it. As such I have gone through a series of experiences in universities so I do have lots of experience being on campus and knowing what it’s like to be a student and all the different challenges that go along with that whether it be you know studying and having navigating large workloads, or building relationships/making connections with professors, community involvement, and then also work on the side. So all of those things that kind of going into being a good student and developing your abilities as you go on.

Cath Anne: [00:05:08] That’s a little bit about me and I hope that I can bring some of my experience and my knowledge to the table. Like I said I am a former social worker so I can incorporate some of that. You know if you have any passions that you need support around certainly I would be open to providing some resources or providing a little bit of support or a listening ear. So just let me know where you want the content to go and we can go from there.

Instagram Viewer: [00:05:40] Comment from Kaur: We’d love to hear you talk about student wellness and mental health.

Cath Anne: [00:05:46] Yes that is actually a really good topic and we are going to be talking about that. I believe it’s on the content calendar in the next couple of weeks.

Cath Anne: [00:05:56] So we will give you a heads up for that for sure. And I think I have two weeks scheduled for mental health so just. So yeah I think we have two weeks scheduled for specifically on mental health and different ways to navigate that and provide support for people so certainly that will be a topic that we’ll be covering because I know it is a huge issue and it’s definitely something that you know I bring some knowledge because of my former profession. So I can provide some resources and some information regarding that. So that’s great. Thank you so much. And we’ll keep you posted. So just make sure that you are staying in the loop with our Instagram feed and our Facebook because we’ll be letting you know where and when that information will be coming out. So thank you for thank you so much for joining us and I look forward to talking about that because that is certainly a topic that is of interest to me. So I’m really excited to kind of cover that. Thank you. So as I was saying about this week’s content we kind of wanted to just discuss how did you get the ball rolling with being a good student and setting the tone for your school year and getting into routine. Because starting a new program or even if you’ve already been a student and you’re getting back to school it can be tough to get it out of that kind of groove of the summer.

Cath Anne: [00:07:35] So we wanted to give you some pointers on how to navigate that and how to set the tone for yourself to be successful through the school year. So I do have about five tips that I wanted to discuss around that topic. So I guess I’ll just go through those and if you have any questions as time goes on please let me know and we’ll do that kind of informally as we go. So I wanted to start off with one of the most probably basic tips that we’ve all heard. I know I certainly have heard this throughout the course of my school years but the number one tip to be successful in university or college is of course to attend class. I know that I certainly have had the experience of being in the hallway in those comfy chairs in university they always seem to have those really soft comfy chairs out in either the library or the hallway and it’s so tempting sometimes to just sit in them and not go to class. Especially I imagine I never lived on campus but sometimes you could be comfortable maybe in your dorm and you don’t feel like getting up for that eight thirty class in the morning but attending class is pretty integral to being successful as a student because professors tailor your education around attending class. A lot of the time so when you do attend class you will have access to information that you might not have had if you had not attended class so that would be kind of my number one tip. Also I’m sure that some of you have already been in university before and you’ll know that sometimes.

Cath Anne: [00:09:38] I’ve had this experience before where professors will provide additional information so they might say a test is coming up or something they might say I’m going to give you bonus points if you answer this question and this is only for the people who are in attendance right now. So if you don’t attend class then you might miss out on some of that pertinent information and they will also obviously eventually impact your grade. And as well sometimes a lot of professors build participation points into your grade and into your syllabus. So you know 5 or 10 percent could be allotted to your grade if you attend class and they get to know you and they get to know that you’re attending class on a regular basis. So really attendance and participation can mean the difference between an A grade or a B grade. So I would really encourage you to attend class on a regular basis. And it’s also really beneficial to be going to your classes because it helps you build community. So you know sometimes the university can be a lonely experience for some folks and it can feel a little bit isolating. So if you’re attending class then you have the opportunity to make friendships with different people who you might not have connected with before. I know that personally some of my very best friends come from university and college experiences and working with them on group projects and eventually we just became friends and there they continue to be some of my strongest friendships. So those are the experiences that you might miss out on if you if you don’t attend class. So that is tip number one is go to class on a regular basis.

Cath Anne: [00:11:55] The second tip is again another very basic tip that we’ve all probably heard our whole life long is do your homework. I know that some people might laugh at me saying that but doing your homework is integral to your education. Not only is it going to enhance your grade, but also doing that homework lays the foundation for the information that you’re going to acquire later on in your degree. So a lot of the time some of those base courses that you’re taking in first and second year you might not want to do the readings and you might not want to do the exercises but they are truly going to lay the foundation for the more interesting information that you’re going to learn as time goes on. And if you don’t have that foundation then you’re not going to gain as much quality from the from the information that you acquire in later years. So I really recommend doing your homework and doing those readings. I know that like I’ve been in a few different degrees and it always seems like professors pile on their reading but they’re doing that for a reason. The readings are really important and they help you to understand complex topics from different perspectives and so doing your readings and doing your exercises helps to lay the foundation for more interesting stuff as time goes on.

Cath Anne: [00:13:48] So of course I’m certainly impacted by this. I know that social media is such a huge thing nowadays and we can get so distracted being on the internet all the time especially because most of us do our work.

Cath Anne: [00:14:04] Question from @coachkaur: How can we learn to speed skim read? That is a really excellent question and I will I will write that down and that’ll be a great topic for a couple of weeks from now because I think that is essential especially as you get onto you know third and fourth year or if you’re doing a master’s degree there does seem to be a lot of reading that you’re not necessarily going to be able to accomplish especially if you’re trying to navigate you know having a job and maintaining relationships and things like that. So it is it is an important skill to learn to speed or skim read. And I want to make sure that that is covered thoroughly so I will make a note of that and we’ll follow up on that.

Cath Anne: [00:15:20] So as I was saying you can get somewhat distracted by social media. I know that I certainly can be a procrastinator when it comes to that. So we need to make sure that we are putting our homework first and doing those readings and trying not to be distracted by all of that stuff that’s out in the world these days that kind of can be can be very distracting to us so.

Cath Anne: [00:15:48] And also being someone now that has completed a few degrees I recognize the value in doing those readings and having access to all of that information. It’s so valuable in developing your own knowledge in your own understanding of the world. So you know certainly you’re what you’re wanting to get good grades in school and you’re going to want to set yourself up for success in university. But I would say like over all those readings and those theories will impact who you will become as a person and who you develop you know how you develop a sense of the world and how you think about things. So doing homework, doing readings are very important of course.

Cath Anne: [00:16:37] The third tip that I wanted to offer this week is to make sure that you’re asking questions in class. I know that sometimes people can be shy and not want to ask questions. I certainly in my undergrad I was very quiet. I would sit at the back of the class sometimes and I wouldn’t really want really engage with the professor but looking back I truly believe that that was a detriment to my own learning and my second degree the classroom sizes were a bit smaller. So it gave me more ability to and more comfort I guess to engage in conversation and the profs were really good at supporting people who weren’t as vocal. Asking questions is very key to your learning because in reality I know that sometimes we are. Hi Sanjay. Thanks for joining.

Cath Anne: [00:17:43] I know in reality we are not expected to know everything that’s the reason we’re going to university but for some reason sometimes we’re under this impression that we should know everything or that we should be coming to classes already knowledgeable about what we’re supposed to be learning and that’s kind of a backwards way of thinking about it because the reason we’re in class is to learn so we aren’t meant to know everything and that’s what the profs are there for and they are the ones who have studied this topic and they know they know the information to provide. So I really encourage you even if you are kind of a shy person and you’re a little bit more hesitant to speak up. I really do encourage you to ask questions and if you are the type of person who doesn’t really like to speak out in a big group maybe well one suggestion might be ask your friend to ask the question or speak to the prof after class. A lot of times the profs will be very supportive. When you approach them after class because truly they are in the profession to support you to learn. And a lot of times profs have office hours so look up their office hours on it on your syllabus and go to speak to them in their office. They tend to be extremely receptive to that. So if you do have a burning question or something’s kind of going over your head in terms of what they’re explaining, I truly encourage you to ask those questions whether it be one on one in office hours or after class or if you if you feel comfortable to speak up during class. Certainly do that as well.

Cath Anne: [00:19:41] The other thing is one thing that can be beneficial is to develop learning groups so to speak to friends or other classmates and say hey like I’m kind of having trouble with this topic in class. What do you think. Do you think we could set up a group and maybe meet on a weekly basis and do an overview of what we’re learning and I’ll talk about it together and then maybe designate someone in in the group to go speak to the prof on the behalf of the group so that can be a really beneficial way of learning. I think a lot of times we think of our learning experiences as just like these individual people. That’s kind of the way that we’ve been conditioned we’re individuals and we don’t really need the support of other people. But really some of the most beneficial learning you can do is in a group and @coachkaur I see you agree with me that study groups are amazing. They are amazing. And I think sometimes group work can get a bad rap. But I think that they’re really beneficial way to learn because you can bounce ideas off of each other and that’s really a lot of how we learn. Right.

Cath Anne: [00:20:59] We’ll move on to tip number four. Explore and try new things. So university or college is a vast arena of opportunity. Whether you’re on a larger campus or whether you’re on a small campus there are always opportunities. I know that the university in my hometown where I am now they have a club week. They call it.

Cath Anne: [00:21:30] So they it’s a time for students to go and explore different clubs that happen not just on campus but in the community as a whole. So I would really encourage you to do that. I’m sure that they have them at most universities and just kind of be open to trying something new. You might find that you know you’re an adult now and you might not feel like you can try something new or a different activity that you’ve never done before. But I really encourage you to branch out and do so even if you are hesitant to do it because unless we try things and we don’t know we don’t know if we’re going to like it or we’re going to be any good at it. There are a plethora of new clubs and different things on campus and in the community and it can just be a really positive way to build community. Meet new friends give back to your community and learn more about what’s going on in the community and also in a really practical sense it can be great to enhance your education with that kind of extracurricular activities and then you can put it on your resume. So there are a lot of benefits to being involved in community. And also you never know what you’re going to learn as a new skill. So if you’re open say let’s give an example like I had a friend recently who was interested in joining a fencing group and they are there in their 30s and they were hesitant to do that. But you never know what you’re going to learn. So they did end up signing up for the fencing group and it ended up being a really beneficial experience for them.

Cath Anne: [00:23:31] So I think we just have to be open to different experiences and different ways of seeing the world. And that’s what exploring and trying new things being engaging community that can really enhance your student life as well as your life as a whole. So I really recommend to especially take that opportunity while you’re in university because when you’re out in the working world you’re not necessarily going to have the time just the way that we conditioned ourselves to work. We don’t always have the time to spend doing extracurricular activities. So I really would encourage you to use this time as a student to do some of that.

Cath Anne: [00:24:23] Let’s see what else do I have for you. So this kind of goes hand in hand with the last topic. Tip number five is to make a commitment to reach out to others and build community. Perhaps you’re a shy person, perhaps you’re not a person who is very outgoing and in that way if you’re especially if you’re starting a new program or even if you’re midway through your program maybe you’re hesitant to reach out to people or maybe you don’t have that strong of community basis yet and just keep in mind though that some people there are other people in the same situation. So especially on the large campuses or even on small ones and there can be some level of isolation. So I truly would you know suggest that if you do see someone eating alone at the cafeteria or someone sitting inside the library on a regular basis by themselves doing their work maybe go sit beside them. Find out what they’re all about and ask them some questions.

Cath Anne: [00:25:47] And if they’re not interested that’s fine. But you never know when you’re going to be able to form friendships. And I know in my experience when I went to social work school like I said I was a relatively shy person at first and I was going to a new city. I didn’t really know that many people and I went into the classroom and this other classmate approached me and she said, “You look like a person that I want to be friends with”. And of course I was taken aback because not a lot of people do that. But she was intentional about the groups of people that she made friends with and the groups that she formed. And I think that’s a really interesting way to look at building relationships so really being intentional about the people that you’re reaching out to. And if you see someone saying something in class that that really resonates with you maybe go up to them afterwards and say, “Hey I really appreciated what you said in class I was wondering if you wanted to grab a coffee and we could talk about that.” Or maybe you go to that club week and you think oh my goodness that sounds like a great activity to do. But I really need someone to go with me maybe you ask that person outside the library.

Cath Anne: [00:27:28] I really encourage that intentional building of community because it’s not done a lot these days especially because you know where were you we use social media so much and we’re on the internet so much that we don’t often have that face to face interaction and that’s something that I think we really need to get back to. So yeah just be intentional about building community and reaching out to people.

Instagram Viewer: [00:27:57] So I do see @theneighborlyconsultant asking a question: Did you live on residence? How was that experience like? Any tips for us first year students?

Cath Anne: [00:28:08] I didn’t leave on residence I but I did go to two different universities. So my first year my first few years in university I stayed in my hometown. So I lived with my family and then a couple of years after that I moved to another city in another province. And I lived in an apartment and then a couple of years after that I moved to Toronto to begin a Masters degree. And so I didn’t know I didn’t live on residence. But I do know some people who did. And I think one of the biggest tips that they would provide to students who are first year students is like I’m saying to get involved. I think that especially in residence there are so many different things to do and different activities going on community building stuff that happens on campus that you might miss out on if you’re not an on campus resident. So really I would I would say probably the biggest tip would be to be involved and start developing some community around that.

Cath Anne: [00:29:25] I’m trying to think if there’s any tips for first year that I that I might have garnered from my own experiences. Yeah I think as as an off residence person I would say it was tempting to kind of go home after classes but I think that I did miss out a little bit on some on campus activities and developing those relationships. So I would say really develop relationships with people. Put yourself out there be involved. And you’ll start to see that that will benefit your career as a student. But certainly let me write that down,@theneighborlyconsultant, and we can revisit that and I can do a session specifically tailored to first year students if that would be helpful at all because I wanted to this week do more of an overview for everyone but we could certainly tailor our sessions specifically to first year students. So yeah I will write that down. So thank you. Thank you for the question. And I guess too even though I wasn’t living on campus I did live away from my home. So one of the things that I used to love doing because I was new to Toronto as a city I would explore. So I would I would leave my classes in the afternoon and then I would go and walk around the city and just see what was going on. Try different restaurants. I would go engage in the community see what was going on. Go do my work in different cafes.

Cath Anne: [00:31:35] So if you are, @theneighborlyconsultant, if you are living in a new space I really would say you know go with a group of friends or even with yourself just walk around and wander and explore because those are the times that you’re going to really take in some interesting stuff that you might not have experienced before. So really maximize that that experience because being a student is such a wonderful experience. And I’m actually jealous of those of you who were still in school because it’s just that the opportunity of a lifetime really to explore and learn and build friendships that you don’t really have in any other context. So definitely take the bull by the horns and embrace that lifestyle as a student for sure.

Cath Anne: [00:32:36] I’m just trying to recap and see what I have left for you. So I think that’s it for all the information that I have to provide for you this week unless there are any other questions.

Cath Anne: [00:33:28] So next week I wanted to kind of furthered the discussion around building community becoming involved in community and volunteering and being intentional about making friends slash colleagues and offer some kind of more structured advice and tips around those strategies. Potentially we might talk a little bit about mental health. Just kind of depending because I feel like I talked a lot about building relationships this week but do people think that would be helpful to have some more kind of networking strategies around volunteer. Or would it be beneficial to begin a talk on mental health next week.

Cath Anne: [00:34:34] Yeah I think that that is a good way to go maybe for next week we can start talking about some strategies for self care. You know maybe some meditation strategies and things like that. So maybe we’ll bring that to the table for next week. Discuss some strategies just to support you through your process as a student and making sure you’re taking care of yourself as you engage in this wonderful life experience. So OK that’s good. I’ll write that down. And so are we thinking kind of like strategies and techniques for de-stressing? OK. OK. So yes so I guess next week that’s great. Thank you for the suggestion @coachkaur. I think de-stressing, self care information will be beneficial especially as the year’s getting is kicking off and you’re starting to probably get into the heavier content and figuring out how to navigate all your responsibilities. So I think that could be a great topic for next week. So that’s what we’ll cover. So I guess that’s pretty much it for this week unless someone else had another question or a suggestion. OK. So I hope everyone has found this relatively helpful. And like I said we’re going to be adapting the show as we go along. And thank you for the suggestions. We will be taking those into account for sure as we want to provide value to you. You’re spending your precious time viewing with us and so we want to make your time worthwhile. And we want to give you something that’s beneficial.

Cath Anne: [00:36:54] So please continue to provide us questions or you know things come up afterwards. You can put a comment. Thank you so much @coachkaur. You can put a comment on this or you can use the hash tag #askHHG. And those will be that will be how you can ask us some questions. If something comes up afterwards. We are pretty open to whatever you guys have to suggest. We’ll be adapting it as questions come in. And so I think that’s it for me for this week. Again my name is Cath Anne and thank you guys so much for joining me on the “The Homework Help Learning Studio” and I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to jump on here. We hope that this is going to be a beneficial stream. It’ll be happening every week on Tuesdays at 1:00p.m. Eastern Standard Time. So jump on with us. We will take up too much of your time but hopefully this will be a beneficial hour or so where we can chat about some things that are pertinent to your learning experience. So thank you so much again and I really look forward to speaking with you again. Take care guys.