By Essence Aikman, Queen’s University, Canada
Hello! I am writing around the middle of my studies here in Canada. My “midterms” have just finished nearly two weeks ago and I am now preparing for my final assignments all due in the first two weeks of April. Time truly does fly by when you’re having fun. I thought it would be helpful to reflect back on the past two months being here and discuss how best to prepare for the month of March where reading week and your midterms will take place.
As stated, I’ve completed that terrible time of the school year where everyone is just aching for a break from it all. While this term is shorter here in Canada, the workload is just as heavy. This isn’t to frighten you, more to be aware that you will need to keep the same focus you’d have in Manchester overseas too. Here are my tips as a Drama and Film student, studying a mix of Film, Drama, and Gender Studies classes abroad.
1. Keep on top of your weekly workload
In Canada, there are a lot of mini-assignments that all add up to your overall final grade. Keep up with these assignments, and make sure you’re handing them in on time and completing them at high standards as even the 5-10% assignments could mean the difference between a B+ and an A-. In keeping on top of this, it means when it comes time for your midterms you can focus all of your time on the assignments at hand, not on week-old reading reviews.
2. Make sure to look out for extensions for certain assignments
After speaking with one of my professors out here, he let me know that I was able to have an extension for one of my assignments. He told me he understood that sometimes deadlines for a handful of classes overlap which can be stressful and that a week’s extension allows us to assign times that work best with our timetables. Do not rely on extensions, but do know that if things are becoming too overwhelming that there is an option to balance out the work weight. This brings me to my best advice.
3. Speak with your professors
I can’t stress this enough. I wouldn’t even say building a personal relationship with them is most important, while it can help, speaking with them about your position as an exchange student simply and what you might need from class is a must. They are there to teach us and help with our studies in any way they can. If you need that extra help, don’t be afraid to address any concerns with a professor, it could help out big time.
Those last points were especially helpful for me during my midterms as I got extremely ill again after recovering from the cold back in late January. After speaking with my teachers, we were able to discuss how best to help me in my situation to make sure I still provided the work necessary at the level I needed.
I hope these tips are useful to any student coming to Canada on exchange! As I referenced before I was pretty ill for a lot of my placement. Even though this was my reality, I was still able to experience some amazing outings that I plan on writing about here soon!
Keep an eye out for my first hockey game, my visit to Montreal, and going to the Kingston Film Festival (where I got to speak with the actors, directors, and writers of the films).
Till next time!