Alyssa (Year 2)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
I chose Brock University over other institutions because when talking to upper year students, I found that students were balanced between their school work, social life, and extra curricular activities. The student life and community is smaller compared to other institutions because the campus is smaller. As first year students, attending multiple events during Welcome Week, finding clubs with interests you love during the club fair, and joining an intramural team if you love sports are activities that I highly encourage to meet new people and expand beyond just learning. Some advantages of Brock are that they provide an overnight program, called LEAP, to help students get familiar with the campus and meet other first years before attending school in September and that the campus is small and connected inside so you don't have to walk outside to get to the next building in the winter. To get to know the building more, even if you attended LEAP, is to walk around the school and wander to figure out where your classes are located. Another advantage of Brock is that they provide a Living Learning Community opportunity, where you can live with people in the same program or with people with similar interests. This program helped me to get to know my roommates better since we all lived in the same house with similar interests. A disadvantage would be that to go anywhere off campus, you would have to bus. Within walking distance of the campus, there is nothing much you can do or eat without taking the bus.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
Some mistakes that I would try to correct are staying on top of my readings and notes by managing my time better as well as talking to more people in my labs and seminars. Another mistake that I would try to correct is being prepared to pick my courses and to plan ahead to make a more balanced schedule. I didn't plan ahead when picking my courses so I had really heavy days and really light days. Things that I wouldn't change are my ways of studying, which I figured out once I started university, and finding a group of people that you can complete online quizzes with. For me, these people happened to live with me in my living learning community. An advantage for my program, and other programs, is that TA's and professors are easy to meet with and email to ask questions. They respond fairly quickly and are helpful when asking questions. Another advantage is having the opportunity to work with the varsity team as a therapist or assistant coach to get some practical experience. A disadvantage is that the Brock kinesiology program doesn't provide activities for the entire program to meet one another. Although the program is smaller than others, it is still hard to meet other people in your program just through labs and lectures.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at Brock was joining intramural teams which helped me to meet other first year students. Through intramurals, I got to meet new people in different programs by joining an individuals team, which is made for people who couldn't make a full team. Intramurals were also a way to take a break from schoolwork.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My least favourite experience at Brock was having late classes and dealing with two of my roommates. Obviously, roommates are something that is out of your control, but I lived in a house with five girls total and two happened to not be the best. There's always a risk of being assigned to roommates that are complete opposites. Having late classes wasn't fun because having these classes around dinner time meant I would be eating really late and I was hungry during the lecture. I would have to eat after the class which would sometimes be 9:00pm but some dining halls were still open so I didn't have to cook for myself after a long class.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
In general, the kinesiology program at Brock isn't super competitive like other universities and so, the nature of the program is nice. Most people are willing to help others understand the concepts of the course and there are multiple group chats on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat with other people within the program. For me, a difficult course was Health Promotion and Policy (KINE 2P41) because I don't find it the most interesting and the course material was pretty dry. This course had one lecture a week but a lot of readings to do beforehand. Some study habits that I used were starting early and preparing notes early in case you have any questions about the material. If the exam covers five lectures, I would go over a lecture a day that way I'm not cramming a lot of information in my head at one time. Each day I would add another lecture and repeat what I went over the day before and repeat until I finished each one. By the end, I would have a couple of "review" days where I go over all the lectures. With multiple courses, this helped me to study a little bit of each course a day and not feel over stressed. I was fortunate to have roommates and neighbours in the same program and courses, so I was able to review the material with them. Going over the material everyday seems like a lot of work but putting in this effort helped me to get the marks I got and to better understand the material. In kinesiology, we also have lab exams for our anatomy courses. These are harder to study for since you don't have the models and cadavers accessible 24/7. We have extra lab hours to study but those get busy so I would find labelling quizzes online to help me with visuals and spelling the names of muscles, bones, and nerves.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
One of the electives I took was Introduction to Sport Management (SPMA 1P91). Before going to Brock, Sport Management was a program that I was looking in to as a possible major option and so, I took this course as an elective to see if this program was for me. I loved this elective because it gave me an insight about the sport's world and what goes on beyond the athletes. For this course, it's important to attend the lectures which will also help prepare your seminar presentation. The textbook is a good way to get extra insight into the course material but it's not needed as everything within the chapter is gone over in class. For this course, I would suggest taking extra notes in class, not just writing what's on the slides, and writing down the examples the professor gives you to better understand the content. Overall, to me, this course interested me because of my interest in sports and it helps you to view sports in a different way.
What tips and advice would you give to first year students?
Some tips that I would give to first year students is to stay balanced between school work, social life, and sports. Having this balance helps adjusting to university life a lot easier. I didn't realize this until second semester which is why my second semester was a lot more enjoyable. Get to know your roommates and neighbours, join an intramural team to meet new people or go to the gym to relieve some stress. Even if the people around you don't have similar personalities, people that you mesh well with will come so join what you love to do. For the people that love going to the gym or want to start, Brock is expanding their gym, which should be done by September. Another tip that I have is use your resources. I found that the TAs were always willing to help especially if you attended labs, seminars, or tutorials every week. Whenever I had questions, they were always helpful and it gives you one on one time with them to understand the course material, essays, assignments, or even study tips that helped them. The professors always have extra hours in case you aren't clear on course material and assignments as well and if their hours don't work, you can always email them. As I said before, the professors are always an email away and usually respond fairly quickly.