By: Keely Grossman
I’m sure you’ve all heard that familiar statement, “make sure you attend all your lectures because they’re important.” If you haven’t, well you have now. This statement was repeated throughout all of my high school years and again by most of my professors. Most professors admitted they didn’t care whether you attended their lectures or not. In fact, they said they wouldn’t even notice. So the question becomes, why should you even bother going? Because it’s important and can teach you valuable skills.
Attending your lectures can be deemed as a “waste of time” by some people, especially if it’s an 8:00 AM class with a monotone professor. However, in reality it’s not a waste of time. It’s a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to practice good punctuality, and it offers you another chance outside of the readings and seminars to go over the course material, as well as, giving you another opportunity to really engage with the course. Lectures also provide you with the ability to meet your professors either after, or before class starts. Meeting your professors can provide you with many benefits. For example, if you’re really interested in Child and Youth Studies, meeting with your professor (or professors) will allow you to ask field related questions and learn about the work that they do – which might be of interest to you. Talking to your professors also builds stronger relationships and enhances the sense of community that Brock University already has. Let me also tell you, it feels really great when your professors know you by name which a majority, if not all, of mine already do. Sometimes if you attend a lecture, especially if it’s one where a lot of students have decided not to show up to, the professor will recognize this and give you exam details.
Seminars are also very important to attend because you not only get marks for showing up, you get marks for participating, being engaged in the course material, as well as building analytical skills. Seminars also allow you to learn in a classroom with about 20 students instead of a lecture hall of 300 or more students. In seminars you get the opportunity to get anything you didn’t catch, or understand in lecture clarified as well as an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the course readings for that week. Seminar leaders or teacher’s assistants (TAs) will also provide an explanation with regards to any upcoming projects in the course. Try to get to know your TAs, because they are who you would go to if you had a question before you go to the Professor. TAs are also good resources when it comes to questions with regards to the particular program they are associated with as well as course grading.
It’s important to attend your seminars, but it’s just as important to attend your lectures. I know you’ve probably heard this many times before, but I’ve only been a university student for a little over a month and I’ve realized that it’s true. Personally I would be disappointed in myself if I ever slept through, or did not go to a lecture because I will have missed a great learning opportunity. Use your professors and use your TAs; they are great resources and they only want to help you succeed. But first, you need to help yourself. School is my favourite part of the day. I hope by getting more involved with your learning, it might end up being yours too.