Student success guide: Proactive planning essentials

It is never too early to plan your next move! Every student is on their own journey, and they’ve discovered tools, organizational habits, strategies, and resources that help map out the road ahead. 

We spoke to six Arts students to gather their advice, and find out which essential resources and UBC hubs have played a pivotal role in shaping their academic experiences from day-to-day organization to career networking journeys.

1. Find organizational tools that suit your everyday

“I frequently use a paper planner and journal. Having everything laid out in front of me makes me feel more organized, even if I don’t complete everything on the list! If I really want to hunker down and lock in, I’ll put my phone in another room or shut it down and put it in my bag. I know some work requires you to have your phone on, but I usually try accessing those things on my other devices. When you have a detailed list in front of you and minimal distractions, things like writing essays, contributing to discussion threads, and taking notes on your endless number of readings becomes a whole lot easier!”

“I use various planning tools like Notion, Google Calendar, Microsoft To-Do, and sticky notes. Using Notion primarily for academic purposes allows me to manage my assignments, notes, and grades in a centralized location. What distinguishes Notion is its user-friendly interface and the availability of ready-to-use templates, enabling me to tailor my school year to meet my desired structure. The flexibility to create multiple pages for various tasks, such as “School”, “Work”, and “Clubs” enhances the efficiency of my time management. In combining the functionalities of the Notion Calendar and Google Calendar, I achieve a dual-calendar strategy that allows me to separate my academic assignments and tests from my general weekly routine, which encompasses classes, work, and dedicated study periods.”

2. Take advantage of the UBC- and Arts-specific services available to help you prepare for your academic term

UBC’s Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication offers academic writing support and consultations that are extremely helpful for improving a student’s written skills and capabilities, all while gaining constructive feedback. Another resource I’m aware of is UBC’s Wellness Centre, which provides great mental health support and wellbeing resources and services.”

“I’m a huge advocate for joining the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS). Over the past three years, I have gained so much from this network. I learnt many transferable skills, found a community of passionate and creative students, all the while having many amazing social opportunities. Through the Arts Undergraduate Society, I gained exposure to the variety of resources UBC has to offer students.”

“Arts Advising, Compass Workshops and networking opportunities are resources Arts students should explore. They have helped me streamline my degree the way I envisioned it as well as discover the opportunities awaiting me beyond the academic environment.”
3rd Year Psychology

3. Network with professionals and explore future career opportunities

“For networking and career opportunities, make sure you are signed up to receive emails from your undergraduate office! Each department often has in-depth workshops and networking events that may even provide a meal. It’s a great way to spend your lunchtime on campus, and either expand your learning on career relevant topics, or meet people that can inspire ideas for your career.”

“Since last year, I’ve been attending Arts Compass events. These events have taught me important and relevant skills for my career journey, but the most significant workshop has been the Career Design Studio. Through this workshop, I was able to identify the various career paths that lie ahead for me, while also allowing me to expand my professional network!”

A variety of resources and services are available to you year-round! Don’t miss out on support and begin planning your personalized journey at UBC with these services.

Emma Li (she/her) is a fourth-year Arts student, majoring in International Relations and minoring in African Studies. She is currently on a co-op term working with the Faculty of Arts as a Communications and Social Media Assistant.