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3 Tips for Clueless Freshmen

Posted in Life by thisisanexperiment on October 9, 2009

If you’ve just entered University not too long ago, welcome to the world of tertiary education, where we (don’t) always pay attention to our (not always) riveting Professors. If you’re in a University like mine, welcome to the rat race. It’s Projects and Presentations from here on out.

Pray for Summer to come soon.

Here are some tips if ye be a clueless freshman, or even sophomore. Hell, even older!

If you are not clueless, then no worries, this does not apply to you.

Tip 1: If you are going to a project meeting about a certain Research Journal/godknowswhat article review, it is highly encouraged, NAY, downright MANDATORY for you to read the journal/article beforehand.

If you didn’t, but the rest did, then you would be the annoying one who just wasted everyone’s T-I-M-E.

If you read it, but your group mate did not, then don’t fret too much. Depending on how annoying your group mate is, you can say “It’s alright, *polite smile*, you can read it now”, or shoot death glares at him/her.

If your reason for not reading the article was something like “my laptop crashed” or family crises, most group mates will understand, unless the last time your laptop crashed was six months ago and you lied about any ‘issues’. It is a small school, people WILL find out.

If your reason was more of “I had so much to do!”, SUCK-IT-UP. So did your group mates, some of whom will be in your year (if they can do it, why can’t you?), or older (they have more shit to do, do not even compare).

It is basic respect for other people’s time.

Tip 2: In a project group, it is always useful to have a skill/skill set so that you’ll be able to contribute. That means a proficiency / above average ability / expertise in at least one of the following:

Powerpoint, Keynote, Video-editing, Presentation Skills, Research Skills (that includes providing appropriate citations), Report Writing Skills.

If you do not have one of these, it would be good to quickly acquire one, or make up for it with due diligence (see Tip 1), and doing the work to which you are assigned (it is necessary for you to actually know what work you were assigned).

Tip 3: Doing Research

Well, this should be simple enough. In doing casual research, like finding out what (for example) is an ‘option’, or a ‘bond’, or how to calculate a certain something, Google is your friend. So is Wikipedia.

Do not however, expect to cite something you pulled off google/wikipedia in your report and get credit for it. Discretion is still needed. Just because Google said it, doesn’t mean it’s always reliable.

When looking for reliable, citable information and data, it is more useful to use things like Google Scholar, your library’s available online databases and resources (various academic journals), more reputable magazines such as The Economist, newspaper articles, and so on so forth.

Other sources of hard, solid numbers and information include a company’s annual report, their official website, a country’s annual report, etc. Most countries would also have available statistical resources/websites that provide you the numbers on basic economic indicators and demographic stats.

You may not get the information you want on the first try, it may actually *gasp* take repeated clicking on different sources before you find what you need. Research never (always) took 2 minutes.

So come on, it’s not that hard to find simple information if you look hard enough now is it?

If you still have problems finding information you need, or using databases, approach a librarian, a TA, or even your group mates (at least they would know you’ve been trying), and they might teach you how to fish!

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