Three ways to actively engage in your post-secondary education

What year are you in? First, third, last? Graduate?How have you gotten through so far? Do you think you’re flourishing in this world of post-secondary education? Or are you swamped and bogged down?

I am in my last semester at the University of Victoria and I’ve learned some things about getting by. No, I’m not all-knowing. No, I can’t debunk some crazy philosophical concept. And no, I can’t clinically diagnose your behaviour. But, I can offer advice from my experience. Here are three ways that I’ve learned to be actively engaged in my university education.

1. Sign up for stuff.

outdoors-club No, really. It can be intimidating in your first year to walk into a classroom and sit down among 200 or more students in a lecture hall. But for some it is even more intimidating to sign up for extra-curricular activities such as clubs, rec teams, or rec classes. Is it because these activities are in smaller groups of 20-30 students? Do you feel like you stand out more in a small group rather than blending in to a class of 200?

I participated in two clubs throughout my degree. One of them I ended up running. It has been a huge benefit for me because I can connect with students who I don’t run into every day and whom I normally would not socialize with.

2. Get to know your profs.

I feel like a broken record repeating everything that my professors have told me over the last 5 years. But they were right. Get to know your profs. Take a risk, be brave. Ask questions, even if you feel like they are dumb and you already know the answers.

Any time you can put your hand up in class or talk to the prof after class, you stand out. There is no better way to move yourself forward in your education than working in your field of study. And the best way to get into co-ops, work studies, or directed readings is to have a professor recommend you for them.

3. Make friends.

It can be scary to sit in a classroom alone. The easiest way to change that is to say hi to the person sitting next to you. This can be equally terrifying, especially if you are shy in new social situations. But, once you’ve introduced yourself, it could be a road to a new friendship!

Do you work in the same place every day? Biblio? Mystic? The library’s 2nd floor? Do you consistently see the same people there? Say hi. You may be in a class with them. It can be terrifying to put yourself out there and talk to someone you don’t know, but it’s more terrifying to go through your post-secondary education alone.

I have been told these tips by many other people, but I can really say that they are true because I’ve experienced the direct benefits of being actively involved in my education rather than being passive to the onslaught of information.


This is a guest blog post by Kate VanGiesen. It originally appeared in the blog The Pursuit of Knowing.

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1 Response

  1. Kate says:

    So true! I’m glad to have met you through dance classes Kate 😀