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5 Mistakes I Made as a fresher

Everyone makes mistakes, but here’s how to remedy the most common ones in the new academic year.

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1. Procrastinating

As a Law student, where you only have 6 hours of lectures and 3 hours of tutorials per week, it is so easy to procrastinate during the free time you have. Obviously, you should be using your free time to do your reading and research, but without your professor or seminar leaders looking over your shoulder, it’s tempting to avoid coursework completely. I have to confess that I was a procrastinator who did not take my studies very seriously – that was, until the exams rolled round. In the end, I was a huge mess trying to cram a whole year’s topics into one month of study time. It was not a pleasant experience. As I start my second year, I definitely want to avoid the same scenario from happening again.

2.Being impatient

I am a very impatient person which doesn’t bode well when you are required to read lots of long texts. The mistake I made was that I was not patient enough when it came to tackling the required course reading materials. I gave up easily whenever the texts got too long or technical, or if I didn’t understand something. This impacted my assignments and grades.

3. Ineffective reading

Part of what made me impatient in my reading was because I was not reading in the right way. When I was reading certain material, I always wanted to read it word-for-word which made my progress really slow. In the end, I got really frustrated because I was unable to finish my reading within a given weekend. It was after I finished my first year that I realised that I don’t need to read the whole book to understand the content – sometimes you can just read through the introduction and conclusion and already have a good grip on the subject!

4. Ineffective note-taking

First year was my first experience of having to take notes during class, and it was a totally new skill to me. When I started my first semester, I did not know what to write and so I copied everything that was in the PowerPoint presentation. Of course, this was highly ineffective because you can access all the PowerPoint slides through Queen’s Online, therefore there is not really a need to copy everything from the presentation.

I learnt that while taking notes, I should listen to the professor and write down points that are essential in my own words instead of looking at the PowerPoint presentation and copying them.

5. Regurgitating information

Part of the transition from college or even high school to university is learning to assess information instead trying to remember tonness of information and writing down everything in the exams.

At university, in order to assess or ‘critically analyse’, you need to read more journal articles and books in order to extract academic commentaries from it. Regurgitating information from the textbook and writing everything word-by-word during the exam is not going to take you any further.

Good luck to students who are starting of their new academic year!

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Jia Xin Chang

LLB Law| 2nd year |Malaysia

I’m a 20-year-old Law student from Malaysia with a weird accent. I’m occasionally talkative, however I’m a natural introvert. I’m a lone ranger who enjoys her solitude and calmness, but I’m not anti-social. I’m a music lover and I play the piano, and constantly regret not picking up a second instrument when I was younger. I love singing but I’m not vocally trained. I don’t listen to any other music except rock - the heavier the better! Sometimes called weird by my friends, but I prefer to think of myself as unique. I have had an immense passion for writing ever since I was very young, and I write in both English and Chinese. I was the editor of my school bulletin and a student journalist during my high school days. I’m now a casual blogger and I enjoy my job (despite suffering from writer's block all the time). Welcome to my space. ;

Jia Xin Chang
Photo: Jia Xin Chang
Jia Xin Chang
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