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The keys to success in this class

Learning means doing something new, so everyone in this class will be doing something that they have never done before. It's OK to ask for help and advice along the way; it's not a sign of failure to ask for help.

Our best advice for students is that whenever you have any concerns about what you are doing, or your progress in the unit, you should immediately get in touch with your tutor or the lecturers and ask to discuss the class. Consultation times (also known as “office hours”) are open for students to drop in and talk about anything that interests them (see Staff page). You can also write an email to the lecturers or your tutor to make an appointment. Send three blocks of time when you are available, so they can pick a good time when you can both meet.

Help is most useful when you seek it early, so don’t wait till the last minute. This also applies to all the different resources the University and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers for staying on top of your work. For full information on the many different kinds of support and advising services that the university and the Faculty of Arts provide, see the details in the unit outline for this class, or the Faculty web site.

Every student has to make a number of adjustments in how they approach learning when they come to university. We believe that we have set this class up in a way that helps each of you to do this easily. In general, we have set up some clear guidelines and procedures for your weekly work in this class, but they are not meant to be busywork or things you do simply to score points. Rather, we want you to feel comfortable taking a risk, doing something new, and reflecting on your own ideas and the reasoning behind them.

We do not ask you to do a lot in this class, but if you want to succeed, you do have to do something for this class every week. Woody Allen once said that “Showing up is 80% of life” (Braudy 1977). We want you to get in the habit of just showing up, that is, making a commitment to keep trying and making a continuous effort. We know that it can get tough and we also know that students are pulled in a million directions. When you feel overwhelmed, or when you lose interest in what you are doing, we still want to see you in lecture and in tutorial every week so we know how you are doing. When you get behind on your work—and it happens to everyone—come talk to us, the lecturers and the tutors, to let us know what is going on. Even if you think you are so far behind on everything that you can never catch up, we still want to see you in class, and we want to know how you are doing. If you talk to your tutors and the lecturers about how you are doing, we can help you.

A good strategy for success, especially when you are doing something new, is to form a habit of asking yourself how things are going. If you are spending a lot of time working on the class and it is frustrating, ask yourself what you could be doing differently. Study groups outside of class can be very helpful in this regard; when you work with other people, you get more insight into how you do things and what you could change. The Faculty of Arts also has an excellent “student mentoring” program that puts first-year students in touch with senior students who can act as guides to the university and university life. They have real-world, practical knowledge and insight into how the university actually works, and they always have the latest information about new events in the Faculty. If you make a habit of seeking information about studying, then when you run into an unexpected problem, you will be prepared to deal with it and it doesn't have to become a crisis.

Before the semester really gets underway, it is good to note these important dates1) also:

February 28 is the last day to make changes to your tutorial.

March 6 is the last day to add a new unit of study.

March 31 is the “census date” and thus the last day to drop a unit without remaining registered in it (and paying for it).

April 24 is the last day to discontinue a unit without counting it as a failure.

Remember: Whenever you have any concerns, or you want to know how you are doing in the class, go to Ryan's office hours or email him to make an appointment. You don't even need a special reason to see him.


Braudy, Susan. “He’s Woody Allen’s Not-So-Silent Partner.” The New York Times, August 21, 1977, sec. Arts and Leisure.

Please note that these dates are subject to change due to the ongoing ban on travel from China and nCoV areas. The university administration will keep everyone informed about any changes.
1001/2020/the_keys_to_success_in_this_class.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/01 21:08 (external edit)