High school grades are out, University offers in! You may be sitting at your screen wondering “should I do Biomedical Science or Health Science..?” Well, here at SAMS, we’ve got a disclaimer: we’re probably slightly biased towards Biomedical Science! :P
Biomed (compared to Healthsci)
Go click “accept” on whichever programme you fancy here: apply.auckland.ac.nz
Now that you’ve clicked “accept”, you now have to enrol in your papers. Think of each of these papers like the “subject choices” you had back in High School - except, for 1st year, you have very little choice. And because there are 1000+ of y’all, the University has come up with a great system to make it nice and easy for you!
Go to student.auckland.ac.nz > click “Enrol” > click “Add Classes with” > “Timetable Planner” > then click timetable planner again > now you’ll enter a nice little app where you should be able to see the “Search by Cohort” button where you can preview all the possible options available to you.
Tip: you can try to get a timetable with nothing on Wednesdays because it cuts down on the number of days you need to come in to Uni – esp. if you live far away!
Another tip: you might have a choice between morning or afternoon stream for lectures where the approximate times are 8am ~ 12pm vs 2pm ~ 5pm. Note that if you’re in the morning stream for lectures, then your lab will be in the afternoon. Given that lectures occur far more often, this is what you should be thinking about – whether you’re a morning person or if you like to sleep in (like me!). However, sometimes, depending on the availability of labs, you don’t get a choice!
Reminder: after you have sent the papers to the enrolment cart, make sure you actually enrol! You’ll see that they ask you to pay for stuff but don’t get too fussed; you don’t need to pay immediately! –as long as you pay (or get your Studylink sorted) before the start of semester (e.g. late-Feb / early March), all will be fine :)
Another Reminder: It’s a good idea to enrol in Semester 2 papers now! They fill up quickly and if you don’t enrol, it can get annoying for you later!
GEN-ED: As you might realise, you have the one choice of selecting what gen-ed paper to pick! There are usually 2 camps of advice: (i) pick what you’re genuinely interested in, or (ii) pick the “easiest” option. I’d just like to point out that the “easiest” option, assuming “easiness” is judged by how good your grades can be, is usually highly correlated with interest :P. It’s difficult to know whether your interest in something means that you’ll do better in it, or if because you’re good at something, you’ll be more interested in it! What I personally would recommend is that you pick an option that doesn’t take up a lot of time. Subjects which have a lot of coursework components (e.g. mid-sem test + quizzes + multiple assignments) can take up excessive amounts of time that you might not have. Try to aim for a subject with minimal coursework components to make sure you can maximise your study time for your more important papers! (Of course, if you are genuinely interested in a certain subject, don’t let us preclude you from taking it!) I think you may find that choosing a light coursework paper will allow you to enjoy the paper, as well as maximise your study time for your core papers.
Suggestions: PHIL 105G, ECON 151G, INTBUS 151G, MUS 144G, EDUC 121G, EDUC 122G.
Many of these have been suggested in the past! Have a search for them on Google/the UoA website and see if they interest you :)
Lastly, your timetable: just a brief introduction to Uni/Life Scheduling.
Timetable: There are 2 semesters. There are 12 taught weeks per semester, split in the middle with a 2-week mid-semester break. The 12 weeks can therefore be designated as “odd” (Weeks 1, 3, 5, etc.) or “even” (Weeks 2, 4, 6, etc.), so you can expect your lab stream to be consistently either “odd” or “even” for each paper, as labs are held fortnightly. The week prior to and after the mid-semester break (USUALLY week 6 and week 7) are “test weeks”, with many papers having mid-semester tests around this time. For 2018 Semester 1, the mid-semester break is after Week 5, so you’ll have a 5-2-7 structure: 5 weeks of classes, 2 weeks break, then 7 weeks of classes. After 12 weeks of classes, there’s typically a 1-month exam period (although Biomed/Healthsci usually finishes pretty early).
There are lecture and lab components for each “paper”/ “course”/ “subject” (i.e. BIOSCI 107 is a “paper”, “course”, or “subject”). It consists of 3 lectures a week and one 3-hour lab every 2 weeks - this is typical for most papers. Lecture attendance is not typically compulsory so you could technically not attend any lectures and just watch the recorded lecture – however: (i) the lecture recording system fails from time to time, and (ii) it is seriously super recommended to just go to the lecture! Labs, on the other hand, are compulsory to attend and attendance is taken.
Anyhow! That’s about it from us! Ask us anything in the FB group or at our FB page and we’ll respond ASAP! Otherwise, there’s still like a month and a half until University starts, so kick back and relax :)
Next time, we’ll be talking about the High School to Uni transition and study tips ^_^
Hi everyone and welcome to SAMS’ Common Year 1 Blog 2018!
We are the Student Association for the Medical Sciences (SAMS) and made up of medical science students primarily advocating and catering to the academic, social, and welfare needs of all (past, present, and future) medical science (MEDSCI) students at the University of Auckland! We write this particular blog to include both opinion and factual pieces to share experiences, give advice, and offer perspectives for this popular yet daunting Common Year 1!
This blog will have inputs by many guests all of whom have been through the infamous Common Year 1 (AKA “Biomed/Healthsci 1st year”); but all content will be authored or edited by a team of us here at SAMS. We have been helped by others and are simply trying to #payitforward!
First and foremost, this blog is here to help YOU. With over 1000 Common Year 1 students, you often might feel drowned out through all the rabble but I want to assure you that we are here to help; every single one of you lovely people!
Lastly, just a little opinion: Common Year 1 is definitely an interesting year – not only are you entering University for the first time, but you are entering one of the more intensive and challenging degrees of all the available University degrees. People often say that first year is competitive and very pressured; perhaps it is – I personally thought it was a little. But I think the best way to view this is more as a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement – try to be the best version of yourself, don’t excessively compare yourself to others, and make the most of your time here!
‘Nuff said – until next time, we’ll be talking more about Enrolling and what University is like in general!
It’s hard to believe that the summer holidays are nearly over with only 10 days left until semester 1 starts! As a biomedical science major going into my final year, I thought I’d write a short list of things that you might want to tick off your list before the first day.
University log-in (UPI)
Hopefully by now, you have been accepted and enrolled into the course you’ve chosen. Once this is completed, you should have been emailed your username (also known as UPI) and have been given instructions to set up a password for your university log in. It is crucial to have this completed and ready before the first day because your UPI and password will give you access to Student Services Online (SSO), Canvas, and your university email.
SSO contains all the administrative information for your enrolment, which includes your timetable, fees, paper concessions, and so on. Once logged into SSO with your UPI, your timetable will be displayed on the home page of SSO; providing that you’ve enrolled into your papers.
On the other hand, Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) where lecturers and course co-ordinators are able to put specific course information as well as send out announcements to students. Once you’ve logged into Canvas using your UPI, it would display all the papers that you have enrolled for Semester 1. Please note that even though Semester 1 is approaching, some papers have not published; this simply means that you would not see a ‘folder’ on your dashboard (home page of Canvas). Don’t worry too much about this, just make sure that you have enrolled to the specific paper (which can be checked on SSO); the course co-ordinator will publish the paper soon on Canvas before Semester 1 begins. If you are lucky enough to have all your papers published on Canvas, make sure that you read all the information and announcements that are posted on each of the published papers on Canvas. These are crucial as it contains information about your course guides, recommended textbooks, and heaps more. It does take time to get used to using Canvas, so it is worthwhile to have a play around with the different tabs and explore Canvas if you have time to spare.
Last but not least, your UPI also gives you access to your own university email. The email address should be UPI@aucklanduni.ac.nz and this is the email address that you should be using for any university matters. It is crucial that you use this email when emailing lecturers and course-coordinators as it proves that you are enrolled as a student at the university and they will prioritise your email over non-UoA email addresses. With the semester fast approaching, some lecturers/course-coordinators are already sending emails to student, so do make sure you get into the habit of regularly checking you emails.
Before I start, it is important that you understand that course guides are not textbooks! Course guides are specific to each paper they contain all lecture notes for that paper as well as lab manuals which you will need to bring along for every lab. In addition to that, your course guide contains useful information such as a timeline for the paper, due dates for assignments/test, and contact details for lecturers and course co-ordinators. It is definitely worth getting hold of a copy (either physical or electronic copy) for every paper before the first day of semester so that you are well-prepared.
Some papers do not produce a physical copy of course guides, instead they choose to upload the lecture materials on Canvas (for example, POPLHLTH111 did not have a physical course guide). Meanwhile some papers do have a physical copy of the course guides available for purchase. The details of where you can purchase the course guide and the cost should have been either emailed to you (to your university email) or posted on Canvas, under the specific paper. From memory, I purchased both BIOSCI107 and BIOSCI101 from UBS while CHEM110 was purchased from the Student Resource Centre. For papers that do offer physical hard copy of the course guide, an electronic copy is often uploaded on Canvas (free of charge). This means that you do not need to fork out extra cash to purchase a course guide!
Stationery & Lab coats
On your first day, you need to make sure you have all your stationery and equipment ready! Throughout my first and second year, I’ve tested out different stationery and found that keeping it simple is the key. By keeping it simple, it reduces the amount of time and money wasted on trying to make my notes ‘pretty.’ Believe me, just keep it simple! Here is what’s usually on my list of stationery:
Moving on from stationery, you will also need a lab coat and safety glasses for your BIOSCI and CHEM labs. There’s no specific ‘brand’ or style of lab coats or safety glasses, you can purchase them new (often from USB) or second hand (which is often cheaper). The only thing you want to be aware of is the fit of the lab coat and safety glasses. For the lab coat, make sure that the sleeves are not longer than your arms and you must be able to fully button up your lab coats when asked. For safety glasses, make sure that they do not fall off your nose when wearing them. If are planning to wear your glasses underneath your safety glasses, make sure that the safety glasses are big enough to accommodate your glasses.
Many first years have asked whether or not they need to purchase the recommended textbook for each paper. The answer is no! Speaking from experience, I did purchase all the recommended textbook for the core papers in First Year Biomedical Sciences (Campbell biology, Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, A&P, and Epidemiology) but I barely touched any one of them. Why? Well, because I did not use the textbook as my first source of information, but instead I looked at my course guides, lecture slides, and recordings to abstract as much information as I can. If I don’t understand a certain concept that was discussed by the lecturer, then I would use my textbook to seek for different approach of explaining the same concept.
My rule of thumb for textbooks is:
Wait until the lectures have started and after 1-2 weeks ask yourself whether you need extra help with the lecture content. It is also useful to borrow the textbook from Short Loan or the general library to read through a couple of relevant lecture and help you evaluate whether you should purchase a copy of the textbook.
So there it is, my short list of important things that I would recommend to all first year students! I hope that this can help you prepare for the next coming days. If you need any help, please feel free to send SAMS a message on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
Enjoy the rest of your summer holiday!~
Member of SAMS 2017