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Mix it up: Study hard, volunteer and play

How to get the most out of your studies
September 18, 2010
By Marlene Gross

A great university experience isn’t just based on what’s learnt in classrooms or how much time students spend in the library. Extra-curricular activities are just as essential in making school years memorable.

Extracurricular activities can give students an edge after university. Employers seek graduates who possess organizational, people and leadership skills. Such skills can be developed by taking part in clubs, team competitions, workshops, discussion groups and volunteering.

The same goes for university scholarships and prizes: Good marks alone are not sufficient to win many of these awards. Recipients are expected to be active in student life, make a positive contribution to their community or demonstrate leadership among peers.

By attending workshops and learning how to manage time and stress-levels, students can do it all and reap the benefits. Read on for tips from at Concordia University’s Marlene Gross, Manager of Student Success and New Student Programs, Counselling and Development:

  • Be genuinely interested in and enjoy what you are studying. If you don’t like your subject, explore your interests and find a better match. A good way to do this is with the assistance of a professional counselor from Counseling and Development.
  • Develop effective study skills and learning strategies. If you don’t think you’re getting the most out of your reading and study time, or if you’d like to improve your writing, take learning and study skills workshops offered by Counselling and Development, or meet with a learning specialist or peer assistant.
  • Get to know your university library. It’s not just a quiet place to study, it’s a valuable tool. Make sure you know how to access and use all the different resources the library has to offer. Take a library tour or talk to a librarian. Concordia’s Libraries website has many valuable tools, tips and workshops to help.
  • Balance your life. Make time for friends, family and exercise – in addition to the time scheduled for classes and homework. Set aside specific times for hobbies, socializing or exercise.
  • Learn to manage stress. Take a workshop on stress management or relaxation techniques. Go to the gym. Enjoy one of the many free or inexpensive entertainments on campus like movies, student art shows or concerts. Go to a varsity game and let loose!
  • Get involved and become a part of the university community. Join a student club or association, get involved in student governance, get a job or volunteer on campus. There’s no better way to network and develop essential soft skills, make new friends and have some fun. You can learn more about them from the Dean of Students Office.
  • If volunteering is your thing, check out Concordia’s LIVE Centre, which assists students in finding volunteer opportunities on campus and off. Read more about the LIVE Centre in the Concordia Journal article Volunteers at the ready.
  • University is a period when students can expand their knowledge base, benefit from personal growth and network. Students who use the many tools at their disposal can reach their full potential and achieve true success.

Get more Concordia Student Success tips online. To learn more about student associations or other services, consult the Dean of Students website.

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