Eunice (Post-Graduate Studies)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
I chose Carleton because of the unique program that I could not find anywhere else. Carleton has fantastic professors that truly care about their students. There are lots of resources in place to help you succeed. To any incoming first-years, I would say time management is one of the most important skills to possess in university. It is completely different from high school so you need to always stay on top of your work. No professors are going to chase you down if you skip class or don't hand in assignments, so it is imperative that you do not get behind.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
I would try to make more friends in my program early on. My program is relatively small, but we don't take program-specific courses until third year. First and second year courses are huge and more general, so I made the mistake of not seeking out friends in cog sci to study with, go over course info with, etc. I only started to make friends in my program in third year, which is a bit late. Advantages to cog sci is that it is a smaller program, so you get to know the professors very well. It feels like a tight knit community and I have met some truly amazing people. A disadvantage is that it cog sci is still a relatively new discipline so a lot of employers are unfamiliar with it.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience was all the amazing people I met along the way that helped me to obtain my degree (professors, working professionals, and my friends). I have met some life-long friends at university and have truly gained so much knowledge about my field. 4 years seems like a long time but it honestly goes by so quickly. Cherish your university years as they are some of the most memorable years of your life :)
What was your least favourite university experience?
My least favourite experience at university is definitely the stress and anxiety I would feel when I had a lot of studying/work to do. Many nights were spent studying and I definitely felt burnt out at times. Many times I questioned if I should drop out or if I could even finish my degree. However, looking back, I'm so glad I pushed through. All the stressful sleepless nights are truly worth it. You just have to believe in yourself and push yourself.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
Cog sci is extremely interdisciplinary, which can be good and bad. It can be good, because I got to learn about so much from different disciplines like psychology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, and philosophy. However, this can also be bad because I had to take a lot of courses in disciplines that I did not find as interesting as others (i.e. philosophy). Group work is pretty minimal in my program, which is good for those of you who don't love working with others (like myself). Some of my most helpful tips include: starting things early and not leaving them until the last minute. Keep a planner as it will ensure you never miss important deadlines and get to know your professors! Go to their office hours or approach them after class. They are there to help and most professors I know would love to get to know their students on a more personal level.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
Mysteries of Language (LING 1100) was one of my favourite electives. It's a great introductory linguistics class that answers the key questions we have about language! I also loved Child Development (PSYC 2500). I liked learning about cognitive, physical, and emotional development of kids from birth-aged 12.
The transition from high school to university is tough! I would say first and second year is definitely the hardest. But, you will eventually settle into a routine and get used to the workload. Don't give up!