Introducing our Back-to-School Advice Series

A few months, in a 400 level psychology class, I overheard two classmates discussing the paper that had been assigned.

One classmate sighed,”The writing is fine but the citations are just the worst! I’m colour coding like 20 references and it’s hard to keep track of which one is what.”

Her friend agreed,”I totally understand! I’m numbering my references as I go, but it’s difficult because when I go back and have to add another reference, my numbering system gets messed up.”

Unfortunately, no one had ever told them about reference managers in their 3-4 years of undergrad! Otherwise, their hair-pulling frustration could be avoided.

Luckily for me, early in my undergrad, I worked in a lab where the graduate students had told me about reference managers. Reference managers save time and painstaking effort in writing out each and every reference. Do you need to create a bibliography? One click of the bibliography button— done. Later on, friends introduced me to some incredible features on one particular reference manager, Mendeley. Do you need to add another reference? Use the write and cite feature and the reference manager can update the numbering system automatically.

Since then, this conversation has lingered at the back of my mind. I wonder what hacks we students don’t know. If someone had given us a tiny piece of advice, how many hours of frustration could we have spared ourselves during studying or while participating in extra-curricular activities?

To help address this problem, the NSN is publishing our “Back-to-School Advice” series, featuring advice both general and specific to various areas of study. We hope that you can avoid being frustrated over something with a relatively simple solution!

Over the next two weeks, our National Young Leaders (NYLs) and our Regional Chairs (RCs) will be sharing their advice on leading the best possible undergraduate career. To start off, Jason Peng, an MBA student at Brock University, will provide his ten tips on success in post-secondary. Then, Yany Siek, a Political Science student at the University of Alberta, will discuss the seven things every arts student should know; followed by Michelle Ly, a Biological Science Student at the University of British Columbia, who will outline her tips for science students. We also have compilations of bit-sized tips on arts and sciences  from our NYLs, Andy Le, Ava Cramp, Clara van Ommen, Jacqueline Siu, and our RCs, Tak Pham and Putri Klismianti.

In our next article, Karanbir Gill, a Chemical Engineering student at the University of Alberta,  will explain “must-dos” in engineering. Afterwards, Lauren Mickel, a Communications Student at Grant MacEwan University will describe her “must-knows” for communications student.

We even have advice for our high school students! Coco Wang, a grade 12 student in Toronto and Annie Du, a second year student at UBC, will share their insights on making the best of high school.

Regardless of the field and stage of schooling you are in, experiential learning and exercise are great ways to complement your academics. Jacqueline Siu, an Immunology student at UBC, will discuss the benefits of research and how to land a lab position. Courtney Long, a physical therapy student, will provide a few simple exercises to keep in shape and to stay focused, while studying.

Check out the NSN daily for the next two weeks for these back-to-school insights! We hope that you discover helpful tips and can incorporate them into your year. If you have any questions, our NYLs would be happy to chat with you further. On behalf of the NSN, I wish you a fulfilling, productive academic year!


Photo Credits: Libre Shot

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