Reminiscing on First Term: Academics

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

So, my first term at Simon Fraser University!

As you may have been able to tell from the previous post, I was having a moment trying to pass all my classes last term. But now that I'm gratefully on the other side, I'd like to highlight what went down. For reflection purposes as well as perhaps advice for anyone else who follows the same path. All in all, I'm grateful about everything that went wrong, well, horrible and the opposite of that.

Coming into my first term, in hindsight, there was nothing that could have ever prepared me for the amount of work and stress that would hit me like a wall. Academically, I wasn't sure I had it in me to compete around here. University is on another level, the A's from high school turn into C+'s and you actually sit there happy about it. This is all to say, they grade rigorously here and it's a real challenge in every aspect of your life.

To begin, I took a four course load for Fall 2019, which was 12 credits made up of Philosophy, Political Science, Mathematics, and Business.

PHIL100W- Knowledge and Reality

This was the first class I attended on a Tuesday morning, I was nervous, got lost and made my first friend who just happened to also be a Business student. It was a good start to University and then I sat in my first lecture hall with nearly 300 other people and almost dropped out after. It was a crazy class and I'll leave it there. In the end though, it was my favourite class, the readings were interesting and encouraged new ways of thinking. The lectures were unstructured and often dominated by a select few but they were tolerable; until the last month of term.

Workload wise: It was three papers and a take-home final that was basically another paper. They were manageable, the guidelines were a little confusing but Philosophy writing just takes practice, it's honestly another mindset.

POL100- Introduction to Politics and Government

The content of this course blends in with Socials 10 and Law 12 (if you're from B.C). It may seem basic and old but it went deeper a few levels. It is heavy on memorizing concepts and examples but a rewarding experience and fresh look at Political Science. This was the only course I think I actually enjoyed and didn't complain about. It wasn't that it was easy but the material was engaging.

Workload wise: There was a midterm, paper, quizzes and a final- that were all curved*.

MATH157- Calculus I for the Social Sciences

I didn't love Pre-Calculus 12 too much and this course did not rectify Math's reputation for me. I had to take it, it made me want to kill myself every other day but, if you do all the practice, the curve will save you. The TA's will also be your best friend. I highly advise getting a group to go with to make it less daunting. GL. The most challenging part of this course is probably just understanding how calculus works if you've never taken it before, like moi. I made some of my best friends and memories because of this class though, so I'm not too salty anymore.

Workload wise: Midterm, Final, Weekly written and electronic assignments.

BUS201- Introduction to Business

This course is extremely high on memorizing every single concept and list of things in order to get a good mark. Every piece of work I did for this course was a challenge but it was also one of my favourites because of that aspect as well as the fact that it was a good introduction to Beedie. My prof was extremely kind and explained things well, my friends were in a common mindset as me and it was my first real teamwork experience-the presentation did make me a level 10 of stress the upcoming week. It is a required course though a good, brief, understanding for every concentration Beedie has to offer.

Workload wise: In class and tutorial assignments, midterm, individual assignment, team assignment and presentation, then a final.

Four courses is the standard workload for a full-time student and I'll be honest, it is completely doable for a full time student. But I'm fully prepared to admit I didn't want to be here until week 6 of the term. The adjustment to new standards, life routine and pre-readings takes time. Only once you know how to prepare yourself does it really feel like being here is worth it.

These days I don't mind being graded to death because it just feels that much better when you work your ass off to get that B.

A tip: Review material on a weekly basis because all your midterms and assignments will end up due on the same day.

From second term,


*I'm also putting scaling grades under this. Basically, the mark you get isn't the actual mark you get because it depends on how well everyone else did and it's adjusted that way. Which rather brings you up or sinks you.

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