Tag Archives: education

Would You Work As Hard If It Didn’t Count?

At our last Surviving Studenthood meeting, one of our bloggers brought up a very interesting student dilemma. We always hear students say that they would work harder at university if they were just there to learn – that tests, examinations and essays impede our quench for knowledge.

So when one of our bloggers has that very opportunity – to take a course without any real concern with the grade – the results have become rather surprising. In enacting an option for “credit/no credit”, she’s starting to get a little lazy in the course 🙂 – at least, placing this course at a lesser priority . Credit/No Credit is an option any U of T arts and science student can enact for 1.0 credits. If you get over 60% in the course, you just get “credit” on your transcript, without the grade actually showing up.

What do you guys think? Does the stress from test and papers make it difficult for you to keep up with the readings and materials taught in class? Or, do they provide proper check-points for you to make sure you keep on top of everything?

 

~ Surviving Studenthood

Cost of Res vs. Campus Experience

We got a great question on our previous post “Should I Live on Residence During University” and we decided it was worthy of a blog response! The question was:

I have a question, my step mother is stressing me out about the constant costs of residence and would prefer me to stay home to save money. like i hear what she is saying but like i really want that first time experience and to say “hey i lived on campus before”. And she is also stressing me out that i need a job, if i am going to live on campus….

I don’t know what to do!

Whitney

Hi Whitney,

Great question. Actually, I was in the same situation and so have many of our other writers – we have had parents that didn’t want me to live on campus, because of the cost. Totally get your position.

Here are some of your options:

1. Live at Home, and Get Involved in Other Ways: Campus life is very much what you make of it – in fact, I found I was involved much more in campus activities when I was living at home, rather than on campus, where I tried to get away from it all. What you really want is not “Hey, I have lived on campus before” – its more about “Hey, I got the campus life experience while I was studying at university”. And you can get that experience whether or not you live on campus by getting involved in clubs, volunteering, and participating in extra-curricular activities.

Further, it might be worth trying out travelling for first year, and if it really isn’t working, you can jump to number two, three, or four.

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Study Group or Study Date (via UpbeaT)

(The following blog post was reblogged from U of T’s student-life blog, UpbeaT)

Being part of a study group is a lot like casual dating. Sometimes, you meet someone and you hit it off instantly. You talk for hours and at the end, you get their number and genuinely hope to meet again. Other times, it’s a bust – something about the person makes you realize there is no “click” and by the time you go on your merry way, several valuable hours have been lost.

Most of my friends have never been in a study group. In accordance with the infamous U of T student experience, concerns about other students “taking my ideas” or “not doing enough work” deter many students from benefiting from being part of a study group. In doing so, they miss out on the experience, advice, knowledge and support of their fellow U of T students.

Perhaps you are interested in testing out the study group waters…so where to begin?

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How to Get Good Grades in University

If you are in university, this is probably right around the time you feel like hell, with exams, papers and a million readings that you put off, even though you swore this was the year you would keep up. Don’t fear, you are not alone.

My younger sister came home for the weekend, in a rather perplexed about her current university experience. She is travelling through her first year and, like some foreign visitors, was marred by an experience of unexpected surprises. Rather than brave the university world alone, she got smart and decided not to re-invent the wheel; instead, she opted to talk to her older siblings. It was a rather rousing debate – there are four of us, all at different universities and programs, and it seemed post-worthy for any university student who needs a little guidance to the elixir of good grades. I’ll confess – none of us are geniuses – but I maintain that because we each have averages above 3.5/4.0 GPA, we feel qualified to give a few tips on improving.

This post is a tough-love post: it is for those students who have been cruising through university, and have suddenly realized their grades are not high enough – whether it is for professional school or grad school, for graduation, for your parents, or just for yourself. One thing my sister mentioned is that university students (including herself) feel lost in their student experience, and that a little tough love from some older siblings might have helped. So we’ve decided to play “older sibling” to all of our readers and dish it out, cold (ice-cream!) style.

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Hunkering Down on Law School Applications

So, while we keep you posted on the 2010 Oct LSAT sitting (we suspect there may not be much for the next week-ish), we must turn our attention to those pesky law school applications which have been hiding in the rather magnanimous shadow of the LSAT. For those of you applying to Ontario Law Schools, the deadline is right around the corner, on Nov 1st, 2010. While you may be biting your nails in anxious fever about your score, don’t chew to the bone, because you need those fingers for typing!

Lets look at a couple things for applications.

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Re-Living the Oct 2010 LSAT: A Recap and Your Thoughts?

I thought the anxiety of the 2010 October LSAT would magically disappear after I wrote the test. Evidently not, as Surviving Studenthood kindly designates another post about this test despite the fact that there are only a few of us wrote it. In keeping with whole-hearted fashion of pursing every post to its fullest, we have decided not only to write a re-cap post, but to keep posting updates   – all the information we can find, as soon as we find it! – about the LSAT; such as the grading curve (that is, how many questions you can get wrong and still get a 170), when scores start to be released (as they take several hours to process – we will let you know when people start getting their scores) and any other exciting news about this LSAT!

So, lets recap:

Test Difficulty: There seems to be a tug-of-war opinion about whether this test was harder than the June 2010 LSAT. A friend of mine (and a co-writer for Surviving Studenthood!) who wrote both said she though the June one was harder, but her testing experience was different then – more commuting, more pressure, and more panic – all of which may contribute to her opinion. What are your thoughts? Was the test more challenging in Oct or June?

Section Difficulty: Reading Comprehension seems to have been a big problem for many test-takers – less for content reasons, and more for structural reasons. Apparently a passage on African-American nationalism had people’s knickers in a twist – I didn’t find it particularly challenging, but I did have to stop after reading the passage and really think about the author’s point before I moved to the questions. It has people in a rather uncomfortable and unhappy position. Apparently Reading Comp was time-consuming and had too many questions regarding inference or required referral back to the passage (e.g. detail questions).

Logic games seems to be a mixed bag – some people found it to be perfectly fine, and others thought it was not so hot. It seems wording was also a problem here: what were relatively easy games (e.g. grouping, distribution etc.) discombobulated people with strange wording. One person mentioned the car game as sporting unnecessarily round-about wording (though not a tough game once you got your head around it), and another student mentioned there were too many conditionals – requiring test-takes to re-draw out the game for every question. It seems wording rather than difficulty is what snatch away time for excellent score in this section.

If you felt that way about either of the sections, don’t worry about it – enough of a similar response from other LSAT takers will result in a more lenient grading curve (as in June 2010).

Logical reasoning seemed to be the most positively received – there is a debate going around about whether there were new types of questions on the LSAT. One student mentioned the question about the abridgment to Shakespeare’s Hamlet – which I confess had me stumped. I spent over a minute thinking “Wait, how am I supposed to know that? What are they even asking me?!” – but I think it was, subtly, an inference question. The same individual mentioned the car-theft question as well, but I confess I don’t remember it clearly enough to admit if it could be or couldn’t be categorized into an existing category of question types. Apparently one Logical reasoning section was notably harder than the other, but they both seemed to be better received than the other sections.

Testing Conditions: Like every other test, testing conditions vary around the world. I’ve read posts online of someone’s phone going off for a full minute during the test, someone else had a cougher right next to them that threw off their concentration.

From one of my favourite LSAT blogs, I read the following:

### In breaking news, our NY affiliates report a rumor that in a testing center in Columbia, the proctor asked that anyone with a phone place it on the table in the front of room. Those that did so were dismissed. Ouch.

Ouch is right. Aren’t you glad we told you not to bring your phone at all to the testing site in our previous post?

A couple of test-centers had an issue with hoodies – of course, there are always students who never bother to read the rules, and three hundred people have to sit and wait for every hooded test-taker to be escorted by a proctor one-by-one to place their sweater on the side. It happened at my testing center, and I think those students are very lucky – they could have been dismissed, like at Columbia. For future LSAT takers – PLEASE, read the rules IN FULL, well in advance of the test date – it will make your own testing experience more pleasant.

Should You Cancel Your Score?

Off the bat, I would discourage you from cancelling your scores. Often test-takers come home with unfounded test-day fears which subside when they receive their scores. For others, keeping your score is important for an accurate reflection of your true LSAT ability on a testing-day – an experience you cannot get from your practice test experience, no matter how closely you mimic the test day environment.

I talked to a student who wrote the test in June – she didn’t do so great, and she came back with a vengeance for October. While you may not be able to accurately predict how you did, there is no stigma in needing to repeat your test. All Canadian schools, and many US schools take your highest, rather than an average score. According to an admissions office I spoke to, there are too many students who re-write the test to be discriminatory. And although I suggested writing the LSAT multiple times may influence the admissions panel’s opinion about you when comparing to a candidate who only wrote it once, she firmly disagreed. Her advice (along with other admissions officer at difference schools) is: if you can improve your LSAT score, write it again – the point is to present the very best application and score you can. They recognize that students have a bad day or testing experience, and they don’t discriminate because someone had a good testing experience the first time they wrote the test as opposed to the second. In the end, you are judged on how well you fair in that testing session, and that’s that.

If you really feel the urge to cancel your score, you have 6 calendar says from your test date to notify LSAC. If you have LSAT jitters, wait it out, and spend the next three weeks immersed in something else. In my opinion, its better to know than be left guessing, but you need to go with your gut feeling. Remember, even if you do cancel your score, it will count as an LSAT sitting – and you are limited to writing the LSAT three times in a span of two years.

** Updates **

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4:37PM Friday October 29th, 2010

Its 20 minutes to 5pm, and according to our sources, NO ONE has received their scores. There has been no changing of little green icons to grey. While there is still time yet, it seems unlikely to me that everyone’s scores can be processed today – hence, no one scores will be.

We will keep you posted, but my suggestion is you enjoy a wonderful Halloween, and then come back here Monday morning and we will give you any updates we find.

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2:01 PM Friday October 29th, 2010

We’ve hit the 2 o’clock mark, with no updates on scores yet. It seems NO ONE is reporting a score release. There is talk that generally most of the scores come out between 3-4pm, but there is also a question of whether scores just might be released on Monday, as reported.

We’ll keep you posted!

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12:25 PM Friday October 29th, 2010

Okay, so some sources say the June LSAT scores started coming out around 3 – I got mine at 2:50, so maybe I was one of the earlier batches, I don’t know.

No one seems to know how the scores are released – by test centre, by score, by your favourite colour :). Haha!

Hang on tight – and leave your comments below! I get the impression the time is close – people are seeing weird changes in their previous LSAT scores, which may indicate accounts are being activated.

Hmm…

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11:37 AM Friday October 29th, 2010

I finally made it to bed last night, and got up to frantically check my email. I read somewhere that people have gotten their scores by 6AM but no such luck for me. Further research and talking to sources makes it seem that no one has gotten their scores yet, which is very interesting.

The June 2010 lsat scores were first received around 11ish, I believe – I know for sure by 3pm I had my score, but several people were waiting well into the evening. The fact that there has been no activity at all (changing of the score date from Nov 1st to Fri Oct 29th, little icons changing) is interesting.

If something happens and scores are not released today, there will be no processing till Monday. I understand LSAC is closed over the weekend, so at least there will be no agonizing during Halloween.

There is plenty of time yet – so we will keep you posted 🙂

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12:11 AM Friday October 29th, 2010

As we mentioned in this last update, it is likely today is the day we will start seeing changes. I’m so nervous – I feel sick. 🙂 But hey, we are in this together, and worrying isn’t going to help!

What can we tell you so far?

Your LSAC account will show your score before you get an email. To view your score, log into your LSAC account, place your mouse on the “LSAT” tab and select “LSAT Status” from the drop down menu. It will show your score there. A good way to tell your score will be coming in is when the green icons — not available — which stand for “not available yet” will change to grey icons — cannot be displayed — which means “cannot be displayed”. Your account is being processed and a score will be available then.

The scores come out in batches, but no one knows what the order is. Previously people on the east coast got their scores first, but it is up in the air every LSAT. We shall keep you posted on the score release progress, so check back here for details, and for other wonderful posts on surviving ‘studenthood’. Please subscribe to our blog (you can enter your email address) to get emails on all of our other wonderful posts!

Good luck to all!

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One week to go! Based on the last six previous LSATs, score have been released early. Starting Friday Oct 29th, people should start to see changes in their LSAC account – icons will change from “unavailable” (or little green icons) to “pending” or little grey icons. We shall keep you posted on the developments of scoring. Hang tight! We are almost there!

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Nothing yet – we just posted this post! 🙂 Keep coming back to check – we will post up any and every update we scour out about the LSAT on this post.

Please leave your thoughts, advice and experiences in a comment section below! What did you think of the 2010 October LSAT test and testing experience?

I’ve Graduated and I Don’t Know What to Do…

Hi Surviving Studenthood…

I enjoy your posts!

Thanks!

I’ve got a question for you although it is not directly related to the ‘student’ experience.

Hit us with it anyways!

I graduated just this year with a Bachelor’s degree specializing in Commerce. Congrats!

I enjoyed university, and I graduated feeling well-prepared for the ‘real world’, but now that I am ‘out there’, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I want to – for lack of better words – change the world, but I can barely find a job I enjoy. I’m confused about whether to start my own business or pursue an MBA or get a job in a corporation.

Any ideas?

George

Well George, your question may not apply to current students, but it is part of the student experience nonetheless, and we are happy to answer your question. Graduating can be scary – it is overwhelming, and a little nerve-wracking – and as we like to think of it as so, because students graduate full ideas and excitement that are ready to jump out into the real world and we know that no one wants to fall flat on their face.

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To Be Pluralistic In the Face of Adversity

The following post was kindly re-published with permission from Change Tomorrow’s World.

My naive side loves Canada – a country that encourages  its people promote pluralism and acceptance for different cultures and ethnicities. I love that I can walk in the streets of Toronto and be proud of my culture and heritage, and be able to be excited to share – with the world – my thoughts, ideas and attitudes stemming from my religious and cultural background. I like to learn from others about their customs, and I believe Canada is a country that discourages racism.

Unfortunately, my naive side seems to not quite have an accurate picture of this country of which I am so proud. A recent trip to Windsor opened my eyes to the racism that is ever present in our forward-thinking society. While sitting on a bus (public transit), a young woman dressed in traditional Muslim clothes – long sleeves blouse and long skirt and a traditional head scarf known as a hijab – got on the bus. Her face was visible, and she was a beautiful young lady, who sat quietly on the bus, waiting for her stop. I couldn’t catch all of what transpired next, but here was mostly how it went.

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