Class of ’22: The Start of an Academic Journey

“It may be tempting to see your studies in First Year as separate from your degree. That’s a mistake.”

Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt 

For the Class of 2022, this past week was not only the start of the new academic year but for many, at least, it was also the start of their post-secondary education. As First Years at RMC, they have yet to settle on a major and therefore they take a broad selection of courses. For some, these courses will expose them to subjects they may not have considered for a major but which peak their interest nonetheless. For others, there will be courses that they get through successfully simply because it’s required in order to graduate. Looking back on my own First Year, I remember being one of the students in the latter group. Certain courses represented little more than a check in the box on the way to getting my degree.

If I could give any advice on this to the First Years now starting their academic journeys, it would be not to view your courses that way. Even if you already know what your major is going to be, and you have required courses that have no relation to that subject, take the time to learn all that you can. Engage with the material and with your profs. You can run into trouble academically if you don’t. I remember one of my First Year courses in particular where I failed to do that and as a result failed the course and had to repeat it in Third Year. Your First Year isn’t just a check in the box.

As a First Year, it can be difficult to see all the way through to actually earning your degree. You have so much to deal with and so many different expectations to meet that it can be tempting to view your studies as separate from your degree. That’s an illusion. After the I left the Forces, for example, I was able to complete my Master of Arts degree. It was the discipline and the study habits I learned at the College, going all the way back to First Year, which made that possible. The connections you make with your professors and the skills that you learn in these classes will be invaluable in the years to come.

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