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Old 08-16-2011 at 09:08 AM   #1
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New things...
OK guys heres the deal. im terrified. first year of uni. would love any advice you can give me. cheers!
Old 08-16-2011 at 09:10 AM   #2
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I was terrified as well, I almost puked on the way to school. All I can say is just take things as they come, scope out every opportunity possible, and remember: be open to change and flexibility.

James CW
McMaster University-Bachelor's of Social Work and Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology (2012)
York University-Masters of Social Work (2014-2015)
Old 08-16-2011 at 09:16 AM   #3
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Introduce yourself to people, don't be afraid to talk to strangers. Remember that all freshmen are in the situation, everyone wants to make new friends.

Join clubs (check out clubsfest to get info on all the clubs at Mac), great way to get involved and meet people with the same interests.

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Old 08-16-2011 at 09:19 AM   #4
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Come to school with an open mind. Don't be scared to try new things or go out of your way to meet new people or have a good time, because thats what everyone else is doing. Be sure to start off on the right foot when it comes to classes and try and make a schedule that works for you, so that you don't find yourself missing classes, or studying for only 2 classes and letting the rest suffer. Explore the clubs that Mcmaster has to offer, you are sure to find something that suits you. Just remember that University is about learning inside AND outside of the classroom, so try to experience as much as you can. I remember being in the same boat as you 2 years ago, being the first in my family to go to university. I really took advantage of, and had a great time during Welcome Week and met a lot of new people. Before you know it, the fear will be gone and you won't want to go home
Old 08-16-2011 at 09:19 AM   #5
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What exactly are you terrified of?

Interactions? Living away from home? School work? Lectures? It's a lot of fun meeting new people and being away from home for the first time. Are you in residence? If so hang out in your common room the first couple of days, that's were everyone typically meets their first friends.

Also remember, there are a ton of other kids in the exact same situation as you so everyone has something to relate to.
Old 08-16-2011 at 09:34 AM   #6
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Want my advice? LEARN TO ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS! (partial joke intended)
Kevin Yin
Chemical Biology IV
|Economics (minor)
President, McMaster Undergraduate Society for the Chemical Sciences
Old 08-16-2011 at 10:39 AM   #7
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I am scare of failing !! who can we ask for help? I heard of academic advisor,,how do we get in contact with them??
Old 08-16-2011 at 10:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ymich View Post
I am scare of failing !! who can we ask for help? I heard of academic advisor,,how do we get in contact with them??
Here you go:
Academic Help

To make an appointment with an Academic Advisor, please contact the Academic Programs Office (APO):

Academic Programs Office
DeGroote School of Business
DSB 104
(905) 525-9140, ext. 24433

For all e-mail enquiries, please contact:
[email protected]

Academic Programs Office:
Benoit Chapdelaine

Academic Advisors:
Lori Hill
Lori Johnston
Barb Pegg

Administrative Assistant:
Nola Plumb

Internship & Exchange
Program Co-ordinator:
Sriyani Dissanayake
Ext. 26534
Internship Program E-Mail:
[email protected]

Exchange Program E-Mail:
[email protected]
Jeremy Han
McMaster Alumni - Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University Third Year - Doctor of Optometry
Old 08-16-2011 at 10:47 AM   #9
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University >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> High School

Unless you actually have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, I am sure you will have a blast here at Mac =D
Honours Molecular Biology & Genetics Co-op 2014
Hedden Hall 2009/2010

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Old 08-16-2011 at 10:56 AM   #10
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Just know that uni is nothing compared to what you will experience once you go out there into the real world. Your experiences here are like a training camp, to tackle what the world has in store for you after you graduate.
Old 08-16-2011 at 12:01 PM   #11
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To me, it was just like High School, except bigger classes and more annoying schedules. Other than that, same as High School. You have advisers, cafeterias (sort of), bank machines, libraries, etc.

Think of it as a High School on steroids.
Immolation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Old 08-16-2011 at 12:42 PM   #12
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Your MacID and student number are invaluable.

When you email your professors, your academic advisors, your TA's, or anybody at all significant, use your Mac email. This provides your recipient with your MacID and always identify yourself by your full name, program and student number.

Here is how I do it:

Hi Mr. Obama,
My name is Bushra Habib (0000000) and I'm a student registered in Honours Biology III.

With the OSAP Office
Include your SIN, include your OAN.
No you don't need the OAN but it's damn good practice for you to remember.
The more valuable information you include the easier and more pleasant your correspondences will be.

Thank People
Thank all the people who make a difference. Don't kiss ass. Spend time thinking about it. Be able to list some meaningful differences they made in your life. That really fantastic TA? Send them a thank you card. If you were on good terms with a professor who wanted to see you do well, keep in touch. Let them know about your successes and ask about their careers too.

Be Nice to Your Servers
Whether they are cashiers or cooks, be nice to the people who serve you. Most are very pleasant and they stand on their feet for pretty long shifts making your life easier. So thank them. Ask them about their day. Get to know them. You think you feel invisible? Imagine how they do.

Develop a rapport with your CA's
When I was a CA, I loved hearing about my students. I enjoyed all our interactions, whether they were small complaints or really big milestones. There are plenty of people who give a crap about you in your university career. Include them.

Drink responsibly
It is never too early to call a cab. Space your drinks and drink on a full stomach.

Go partying or clubbing with a friend you can trust
Especially if you go to a shadier part of Hamilton. You'll never know who you will meet and it's good to have company. This is especially important if one person enjoys drinking more than the other or gets drunk more easily.

Apologise for your mistakes
Whether it's with the friend you didn't call, the one night stand who was really interested in you, the mess you made in a Chem lab or repeatedly emailing a department.

Be considerate of other people's time.

Carry protection
And be sure to look into contraceptive options early. It is never to early to start playing it safe, but it can be too late before you know it.

Get a physical and get yearly bloodwork

Cut down your fried foods
Or the jeans will not fit.

You don't need to do 7 hours of homework per night
But when you do crack the books, sit down and make it count. You'll work faster, you'll make less mistakes and you retain the information for longer. When you feel like procrastinating, procrastinate on your distraction.

In other words, if you want to watch TV instead of reading 50 pages, put off TV to read 5 pages.

Take a break and stop talking about work all the time
Everybody's stressed out. Nobody likes the person who can't stop talking about themselves.

If you feel boring, learn to listen
Because people love to talk about themselves.

Be respectful
Stop calling people "gay" or "retarded" or making jokes about the disabled or mentally ill. You may not be able to appreciate their 17 to 18 years of struggling, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen and that doesn't mean it wasn't difficult. A lot more people have invisible disabilities as well.

Don't abuse the mental health or campus health support networks
If you have a concern, by all means, seek help. Better safe than sorry. But the more they get "I'm depressed" fakeouts for doctor's notes during exam time, the harder it becomes for people who really need the help.

Pursue your passions
There is always time to do so.
You know those 5 hours you sat with your friend in the common room staring at the TV? Yeah, you could have gone to the gym and for a dance class in that time.

Emma Ali
Honours Life Sciences

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Old 08-16-2011 at 02:26 PM   #13
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"Don't go looking for love. You'll find it when you find it."
I have a friend who loves saying that to people and so I thought I would include that.

We pay to listen to the prof
Think of class as a movie.
No, that person's head is not your footrest, nobody is interested in your cell phone ringing, and we'd rather not hear about how cute that person was. We pay to be bored. That is exactly what we want.

If you have permission to record lectures
Listen to them again when you have spare time. I found this invaluable for Orgo when I wasn't sure on a concept and didn't have time to get it clarified.

Do the practice problems for Chemistry
The Chemistry department is probably one of the fairest, most efficient departments on campus. They will tell you how to succeed.

Essays and lab reports are both areas you can do well in
Follow the instructions provided and clarify your concerns with your marker. Get your work edited. Be concise. Do this ahead of time. Always have a strong thesis statement for essays. Support your arguments.

Prepare for labs
Do as much of the lab writeup at home as you can.

When a professor says "I don't expect you to memorize"...memorize anyway
I'm going to use the example of Organic chemistry. You could throw almost any Organic chemistry question from 2nd year at me and if I had the reagents, I could show you a detailed mechanism to get the products.

But...your professors will not always give you reagents. You cannot make that assumption. Everything is testable unless explicitly stated. Understand the concepts required to get to the more thermodynamic product, understand the concepts behind bond formation and the way molecules attack, but memorize the reagents.

If your prof throws up something and doesn't explain it and says "It's inorganic" or "The explanation is beyond the course", the expectation is that you know it anyway unless they say "I will not test this".

When they say "know" and you don't understand the concept or the explanation behind it, that means memorize.

"But university should be about understanding"
Yeah...let's do it this way.
Your doctor hasn't memorized every variation of irritable bowel syndrome he will ever see. He knows the symptoms though and that's cause he memorized them. He also understands how they were caused which is why, he can explain them or explain other anomalies. But he had to memorize something to get there.

"But if I do enough practice, I'll just know it really well"
Yes, but that's still memorizing. You're memorizing through practice. What I'm suggesting you do is retain the information and know it. I'm going to call that memorizing. You can call it "learning by practice". You should still know it in your sleep.

"What's a good way to memorize?"
Learn by practice. Expose yourself to as much of the material as possible. I can still list the body's response to decreased temperatures because I spent a lot of time thinking about it, not because I sat there and read the list of responses until I knew them by heart.

Just don't do this:

If you are late handing in something and you have to choose what you will hand in
Pick the references.
Always pick the references.

I once handed in a lab that didn't have a complete Results section or a Discussion. But I cited everything and handed in my references.

Here's why
Let's say you get a 50% for not handing in half your lab. So you lost 50% of your mark on that assignment. You can still do well in the course because you're in it.

No references? Academic dishonesty, you might get kicked out.

Always pick the references.

Emma Ali
Honours Life Sciences

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Old 08-16-2011 at 02:41 PM   #14
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..and if you wanna switch, do it EARLY - by the end of 2nd yr favourably. The earlier the better.
Old 08-17-2011 at 03:09 PM   #15
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Give it time, you will eventually adapt. First few weeks may be tough, but after the first month it gets a lot easier.

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