As midterms wrap up and the end of the semester approaches, the Student Success Centre is offering a brand new program called Get Back on Track: Study Strategies for Struggling Students.
Since March 6, the centre has been giving various workshops as well as providing tips on how to manage studies.
“We noticed that in our offices, we were having a lot of meetings with students who, at this time in the semester, just as they begin to receive their mid-term exams back, aren’t as happy with the results as they thought they might be,” said Jennifer Banton, learning specialist and organizer of the workshops.
Banton said this could be a source of stress for students as they realize they only have a few evaluations left, which could be critical for their grades.
According to Banton, there are numerous reasons why students have a hard time and may fall behind on schoolwork. This can be due to personal reasons such as physical or mental health, overbooking in terms of classes or workload––but it is mainly due to time-management.
The centre recommends a total of seven hours of studying per course each week, but this can be a challenge for some students.
“They may unknowingly bite off more than they can chew,” Banton said, adding that even if some students struggle at the beginning of the semester, they usually find it much easier by the end.
Aamna Sheikh, a masters student in information system security at Concordia, said that looking for internships makes time-management more difficult for her.
“Nobody is going to help you with the extra things, because that’s your job,” said Sheikh. “If you want to land a good job or an internship, you need to learn the extra things.”
Sheikh said that this student-life reality is “emotionally torturing” but she will look into applying the reading tips she learned at the workshop.
Some of these tips include what the workshop called “learning essentials,” such as reviewing notes in proactive ways, creating study groups, reading the conclusions of textbooks first, and making non-linear notes (using visual maps and diagrams).
Students were advised to use course outlines and semester planners to sort out the number of hours required to complete their assignments. Organizers also suggested dropping a class if students felt overwhelmed.
The concept of responsibility and self-management called “locus of control,″ was also part of the conversation. Its purpose is to encourage students to recognize that they’re responsible for their progress, which creates a sense of control over what they can do to change things.
“The hardest part is knowing when and how to start,” said Camila Caridad Rivas, a journalism student at Concordia, regarding assignments. “It’s not only about doing the work. You have to accept that you’re human. You need to take breaks and rest. You can’t do everything because then you’re going to exhaust yourself.”
Students may book appointments to get individual guidance and advising from the Student Success Centre. Learning support workshops are offered more than once to accommodate students. The event calendar is available on the Concordia website.
“We’re here to help students succeed in their academic career,” Banton said.
Photo by Alex Hutchins