Most York University students commute back and forth to campus, which can take a big chunk out of the day. Regardless of the length of your commute, we recognize that as a York student, you’re on the go all the time! It can be a real challenge finding the time to attend on-campus workshops or schedule a one-on-one session with a Learning Skills Specialist. That's why we're constantly updating our services and resources to help you access useful Learning Skills tips and strategies anywhere, any time. Check out our academic success videos for practical learning skills information and strategies to help you achieve academic success. Our additional on-line resources include a vast array of study tips and strategies on topics such as time management, reading & note-taking, exam preparation, etc., with printable handouts and worksheets to help you achieve your academic goals. Worried about your upcoming writing assignment? Don’t forget to check out SPARK (Student Papers and Academic Research Kit), for in-depth modules on every aspect of an academic writing assignment.
To help you achieve your academic goals:
Treat school like a full time job
Since commuting takes so much time, plan to maximize the time you spend on campus. The university has a lot to offer beyond just classes, including great places to study, alone or with classmates. Create a routine that works for you, to keep you on the path to academic success, and expect full-time university studies to take about as much time as a full-time job, i.e. 35-40 hours a week.
One effective strategy is to arrive on campus around the same time every day, just as you would for a job, and stay until your ‘work’ day ends (e.g. 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri; 10-2 pm, Mon-Sat, etc.). Do readings in between classes (you'll be amazed how a page here and there can really add up), visit a Professor or T.A during their office hours to get clarification on upcoming assignments, come to a Learning Skills or Library workshop to improve your study and research skills, attend a student club or group meeting, or work out! Take scheduled breaks throughout your ‘work’ day to enhance your energy and productivity, so you can put away your school work, guilt-free, the minute your 'study shift' ends. Having an end time can help you become more efficient in completing your course work, and free up time for other important things in your life. Balance is essential to provide the energy you need to succeed academically.
Form a study group and learn from each other
Use the group discussion section on your course website to set up a group meeting with your classmates before or after class. As a group, you can review upcoming assignments, or discuss important concepts that may be covered in a future midterm. Talking things out with one another can really help clarify difficult concepts. It’s much easier to remember material once you understand it. Your goal should always be to understand first-memorize later!
Use your commute time as study time
Learn as you commute! Use your commuting time to review class notes, cover a few pages of your weekly readings, or skim through a journal article that looks relevant to the essay you're starting to research. Reading a page here and there can really add up and might save you time in the future, to do other things that are important to you. If reading on your commute isn't possible - maybe you can't get a seat, or reading in transit makes you dizzy or queasy - don't worry! Use the time to listen to relaxing music and recharge, or better yet, just quietly reflect on what you learned in today's lectures. Reflecting on material within 24 hours of learning it can really help solidify your understanding and cement the information into your long term memory.
Don't forget those smart phones!
Smart phones aren't just for texting your friends - they can be a great "study buddy" too! Use apps such as study blue to make flash cards that will help you zero in on key concepts to review during that long commute. Find a good note-taking app (there are lots of them, from the one pre-loaded on your phone, to Evernote) and use it during your commute to brainstorm your argument for your next essay. Save your work to Dropbox or email it to yourself, so later on, you can easily add it to the folder on your laptop which contains the rest of the notes for your paper. You might discover you're well on the way to a first draft, and you'll be surprised how much time all that "commuting brainstorming" will save you.