[OP]
Jr. Member
Jul 28, 2012
144 posts
25 upvotes

Wish I'd Known

Hi all, I work in higher education and am trying to create a youtube channel to help the next generation avoid the mistakes or make the right decisions not all of us may have made in the categories of 1) Career 2) Personal Finance and 3) Student Life.

Is there anything particular student life wise you'd be open to sharing. My big piece of advice which I'll be making a video about is aim to break down your studying over time as opposed to cramming last minute. Also, be careful about choosing who you spend your time with, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with while in school.

Any of your thoughts on any topics/pieces of advice would be must appreciated. Cheers.
15 replies
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Aug 15, 2015
1260 posts
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Markham, ON
Enjoy it. You only live once. It's not the end of the world if you fail.
Jr. Member
Sep 2, 2015
113 posts
23 upvotes
East York, ON
Mention that the univeristy -> job pipeline isn't the only path to success. College is fine. Trades are fine. In fact those are better options for most people. If they go to university it should be for something they genuinely want to do and for which university is the best path.

Going to university for the prestige is a stupid life decision (very common for those of us with an immigrant background, if I could go back in time I'd have gone to college instead and told my mom to shut it).

Another mistake is assuming you have to get a job. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but it is a good option for a lot of people who never end up considering it because the overpriced education to corporate cog is glorified by our society above everything else. Running a business is easier than ever too thanks to the internet and access to foreign productions/markets is easier than ever.
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May 11, 2009
4198 posts
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Debtario
Outside of admission to professional programs, grades don't matter in the real world. Who you know is more important that what you know/how well you know it!
"I possess a device, in my pocket, capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers"
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2010
4166 posts
1010 upvotes
Toronto
Don't make the mistake of thinking that your university/college is going to get you a job. "Career Services" isn't there to actually find you a job. You need to be thinking about your career while still a student and looking out for yourself. I know people who bought into the whole "9 out of 10 of our grads got their dream job within 6 months!" BS and thought they could basically stand outside waving their degree and employers would be lining up to talk to them.
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Nov 24, 2004
3672 posts
401 upvotes
Toronto
"Townie" students need to mix with out-of-towners and vice-versa. Join clubs, etc. Don't stay in the high-school bubble or the bubble of your academic program.
Start networking in your second year of university. Volunteer with the appropriate professional society or club.
Do at least one co-op or career-related internship if at all possible. Graduates with no work experience, or only irrelevant experience, are at an immediate disadvantage in the job market.
Review your class notes every day and again at the end of the week.
Take notes by hand, on paper -- this is proven to be more effective for learning than taking notes on a device.
Get adequate sleep -- less than 7-8 hrs per night severely impedes learning.
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Dec 27, 2013
2030 posts
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Woodbridge
I went to York for my undergrad. I was living with my folks and was about a 15-minute bus ride from campus. I commuted the first year. Through random chance and the magic of Facebook, I met my younger brother's swimming instructor who happened to be in my first-year Psych class. She lived in residence and I met a bunch of her friends and visited them in residence a few times. I made the decision that even though I lived so close to campus and York is a commuter school, I would apply to live on campus during second year. That was a defining decision in my life. I ended up becoming a don in residence, worked for my college's newspaper as sports editor, ran for and was elected to a seat on my college council, participated in intramural sports etc. I met my closest friends in residence. The best man at my wedding was a fellow residence don. Life on campus is what you make it and even a school with the reputation of York University can have a kickass campus life if you look for it and participate in it. If you're just going to get off the bus 10 minutes before your class and hop on 10 minutes after, you might as well just take correspondence courses on Skype. Your experience will not be much different.

So, to summarize - look for opportunities to live on your own and get involved in campus life. Your four years at university are not exclusively reserved for academic growth.
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Nov 12, 2011
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Avoid grad school unless you're getting paid to go!
Sr. Member
Apr 14, 2017
566 posts
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DT Calgary
Typhoonz wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 10:55 am
Avoid grad school unless you're getting paid to go!
Why do you say this?
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Nov 12, 2011
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FreshCo wrote:
Jan 8th, 2019 10:37 pm
Why do you say this?
Unless it's a professional program I don't really see a point sinking more $$ into a master's or a doctorate degree if all you're doing is looking for a job - especially in Arts or the Social Sciences. If you're dead set on becoming a professor and you don't have funding from the institution where you got your degree it only makes your chances of landing a tenure track position that much harder. I'm only familiar with graduate studies in the Arts / Social Sciences area, so perhaps its different in STEM.
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Nov 24, 2004
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Typhoonz wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 1:21 pm
I'm only familiar with graduate studies in the Arts / Social Sciences area, so perhaps its different in STEM.
In STEM, or at least in science and engineering, a grad student is usually given a stipend to work as a teaching or research assistant as part of their graduate program. In this way, they are getting "paid" to go to school (enough to cover living expenses and the occasional night out, not enough to really save up or get rich). In many fields, graduate work consists of 50-60 hour weeks in the lab, so holding an outside job is not really an option like it may be in the humanities and social sciences.

Note that the above is for research-based degrees, not "coursework Masters" you sometimes see in engineering. Those are more akin to an undergraduate experience.
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Nov 12, 2011
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JHW wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 4:35 pm
In STEM, or at least in science and engineering, a grad student is usually given a stipend to work as a teaching or research assistant as part of their graduate program. In this way, they are getting "paid" to go to school (enough to cover living expenses and the occasional night out, not enough to really save up or get rich). In many fields, graduate work consists of 50-60 hour weeks in the lab, so holding an outside job is not really an option like it may be in the humanities and social sciences.

Note that the above is for research-based degrees, not "coursework Masters" you sometimes see in engineering. Those are more akin to an undergraduate experience.
Interesting on the 50-60 hours of work a week in a lab. Would this be related to your coursework/research? In Arts/Social Sciences PhD students have coursework for the first two years (generally) then the remainder is spent researching by yourself. The Ontario government limits grad students working more than 10 hours a week outside of the university anyways, so working elsewhere isn't really much of an option (though most people do because, well... how do you survive with such funding). Our stipends are earned through TAships usually.
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Aug 15, 2015
1260 posts
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Markham, ON
My Student Life:

Year 1: Frosh, met new acquitances on campus and in class and ran in to past acquitances, class, tutorials, labs, assignments, commute, study, did I fail, I passed!

Summer: Course selection for next year. Major decisions based on Year 1 performance. Extracurricular activities are not considered at all.

Year 2: study, test, exams, commute, library, paper, proposals, met new acquitances, search for volunteer opportunities outside of school, obtained and completed volunteer training

Year 3:. Study, commute, tests, class, assignments, proposals, research, writing centre, library, Volunteer, vacation with friends, completed program requirements for graduation

Year 4: made the mistake of taking year 1 classes on interested topics had to drop one subject as a result, loss of money, classes, assignments, tests, exam, still volunteering, writing centre, graduated, looked for job before graduation, got my foot in the door.
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Nov 24, 2004
3672 posts
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Toronto
Typhoonz wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 5:04 pm
Interesting on the 50-60 hours of work a week in a lab. Would this be related to your coursework/research?
Typically, for a PhD program in the sciences and engineering, you'd have actual classes for only the first year or two (school-dependent) after which research becomes the primary activity. Many people would also be TAing in their first couple of years and perhaps afterward as well, depending on the program. While people are TAing, that job is the source of their stipend; after that, it switches to an RA stipend paid out of faculty grant money.

The research that goes into a STEM PhD is not so much "researching by yourself" but rather working under close supervision, as part of a research group headed by your professor, who sets the direction of your project collaboratively with you. The relationship between the student and the supervisor is much stronger than it is in the social sciences and humanities.

The 50-60 hrs per week is not "universal" but is typical for programs like biology and chemistry, where experiments are lengthy and require attention. Actually, I think that it may be an underestimate for biology, as I knew biology PhD students who would routinely be in the lab north of 70 hrs per week.
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Jun 9, 2003
23894 posts
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good luck...

most ppl go to youtube to be entertained....and a small population to learn about a topic.

I find motivation lecturing is more for matured adults...

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