How to Succeed in Your Arts Degree

Congratulations on starting your arts degree! With that said, your next few years will involve a ton of writing, stress, and critical analysis. To help with the transition, our 2 National Young Leaders, Ava Cramp, and Jason Liu provide tips on how to succeed in your arts degree.

On writing papers:

When I entered university, I was very nervous about writing my first paper (which ended up coming along only 2 weeks after the first day of classes). I had gotten the hang of writing high school papers but I had no idea what professors expected, nor how hard they would be marking. Unsurprisingly, I did very poorly on my first paper.

Thankfully, the paper did not account for much of my overall grade; so I had a lot of room to improve. I learned to read my papers very thoroughly, when I received them back. This is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your papers.

Often,  the teaching assistants or professors who mark your papers will provide you with some feedback. This feedback can help improve your overall writing skills, which you can then apply to papers in all your classes. Additionally, their feedback  gives you the perfect idea on how to continue writing papers in that class. Whatever you do, do not ignore this feedback!

If you are unclear on what they said, or if they didn’t write much, teaching assistants are always very helpful for feedback (after all, they are there to help you succeed!). After you write a few papers in university you will get the hang of it and recognize your weaknesses. Whether it is editing, or elaborating on your ideas, there is always room for improvement.

Ava Cramp

On the optimal mindset for school:

Be excited and be curious. You’ve spent about 13 years of your life in an institution that has basically set everything out for you and now YOU are able to choose what you want to learn. Looking back, I think one of the most important things is to be curious and to give everything a try with an open mind. If it works out, great! And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have a fun story to tell. But always remember that you are a student. Keep your focus on studying and finding your passion.

Jason Liu


If you have any questions, our NYLs would be happy to chat!


Photo Credits: Epicantus

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