The transition from high school to university is an exciting time. You’re filled with anticipation, and you’ve got a whole new set of opportunities and responsibilities to look forward to. But what should you do if you aren’t sure that you’re prepared for this new chapter?
To help you decide if you’re ready to join us in the fall semester, take our handy quiz below. Read through the eight statements and ask yourself if they reflect who you are. Don’t panic if you see an area where you could use a little improvement! Dalhousie has tons of services to help you succeed once the fall term begins.
Give yourself a score from 1–5 for each (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree) and check your results below.
1. I’m self-directed, hand in homework and assignments on time, and never leave them until the last minute.
Managing your university work can be a challenge even in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. As you likely know, finding motivation is harder when we’re all stuck at home, but it can be done. Something that helps is creating a plan to manage your time and due dates. If you leave assignments and homework until the last minute, you’ll be creating unneeded stress for yourself. You won’t have physical classes to give you in-person reminders, so you’ll need to stay on top of things yourself.
2. I’m able to maintain a clean and functional living environment.
Studying remotely means that every little issue in your environment feels amplified. You’ll need to know basic skills for taking care of yourself, because it’s harder to ignore that pile of laundry or stack of dirty dishes if you aren’t able to leave your home. When you’re working to meet major deadlines, it’s important to have a clean, organized space to limit distractions. If you’re responsible for your own groceries and cooking, you’ll also want to make sure you have healthy meal options to keep you fuelled.
3. I’m good at managing my personal finances, making a budget, and sticking to it.
Adding financial stress on top of everything else that’s going on in your life can really affect your success in university. You should have a financial plan or budget in place before you start classes. Visit dal.ca/moneymatters for budgeting tips, and use Dal’s budget calculator to help you plan.
4. I know when to put my mental health first and am comfortable with asking for help.
If the ups and downs of life are consuming your thoughts, or you’re overwhelmed in your classes, it’s completely OK to ask for help. The Student Health and Wellness Centre on our Halifax Campus and Health Services on our Agricultural Campus can connect you with the right services to help you create a plan to make your mental health a priority. They even have a workbook specifically for helping with coronavirus anxiety.
5. I’m prepared to study for 25–30 hours per week outside of my class time.
Yes, this is the average amount of time university students spend studying outside of classes. It works out to be around 1.5–2 hours for every hour you spend in class. Remember, studying doesn’t just mean preparing for a test or exam. You should also use this time to do your readings, finish your assignments, and go over your notes. If you require accommodations, such as help with taking notes, you’ll want to book an appointment with our Student Accessibility Centre.
6. I know my learning style and how to use it to my advantage.
You’re more likely to find academic success if you’re aware of your personal learning style. Some students retain information best when they read it out loud to themselves, while others need a more hands-on approach like rewriting their notes. Don’t worry too much if you haven’t figured it out yet. Dalhousie’s Stay on Track program can help you identify your learning style and ensure that it’s compatible with your degree program.
7. I’m open to meeting new people and having new experiences.
While it may be harder to make friends when you’re not face-to-face, it’s not impossible. Join our Incoming Class Facebook groups (Halifax or Truro) to connect with your fellow students. You can start a study group with people in your program, or even set up a virtual game night. And don’t forget to check our Events calendar (dal.ca/studentevents) for other ways to meet students. Once we’re back on campus, you’ll already have a support network built in.
8. I’m willing to go the extra mile for my studies.
Remote learning brings its own challenges, but it’s also an opportunity to build essential skills that will help you later. You’ll learn how to create your own schedule, since you won’t have in-person classes that will break up your day. You’ll also have to strengthen your willpower—it’s harder to resist checking Instagram when you don’t have a teacher standing over your shoulder. And though we have many great support services, you’ll need to take the initiative to seek them out, since you’re not passing by their offices on campus.
So how did you do?
Add up your points and read your results below:
30–40 points: Congratulations! You’re well-equipped to start university. You may have a couple of skills you’re still working on, but you feel confident in your ability to manage your workload, your finances, and still be an active member of the Dalhousie community.
10–29 points: You have some of the skills needed to succeed in university, but you may need to fine-tune them before classes begin. Improving your self-discipline ensures that you’re ready to manage all of your class work and personal responsibilities. You should check out some of the resources I’ve mentioned.
0–9 points: You might not feel ready to come to university and that’s completely OK. You have time to work on your skills, and the option to defer your acceptance until you feel ready.
But don’t feel that you need to defer! As I’ve mentioned, there are tons of support services at Dal. If you still feel unsure when the fall semester begins, reach out to an advisor in the Bisset Student Success Centre on our Halifax Campus or the Student Success Centre on our Agricultural Campus for advice and support.
Make sure to keep checking Dal’s Outlook for the Fall 2020 page for the latest information on the plans for remote learning.