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M c M aster U niversity S tudent S uccess C entre

S tudent S uccess G uide making student success easy !

“Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore in his or her own way.� ~ Noam Chomsky

T able O f C ontents Introduction..............................4 Chapter Four • Health & Welcome to McMaster! Wellness..................................32 With Dr. Phil Wood..............................................4

Health and Wellness..........................................................32

Mission Statements........................................................5

Challenges to Health in First Year..................................33

Chapter One • Learning............6

Tips for Managing Stress..................................................34 How Large is your Sleep Debt?......................................36

Learning Reconsidered......................................................6

Professional Assistance....................................................39

How to Adapt to University...............................................8

Developing Healthy Relationships

The 8 Cornerstones of High

in University........................................................................40


Chapter Five • Important Chapter Two • Goal Setting and Resources................................41 Priorities.................................11 MUGSI & SOLAR............................................................41 Setting Goals.............................................................11

Avenue to Learn and Grades...........................................42

How to Set Goals......................................................12

McMaster E-mail...............................................................43

Identify Course Goals......................................................14

Mac ID................................................................................44

Life-Map Exercise................................................15

Student Code of Conduct................................................44 Transportation...................................................................46

Chapter Three • Academic Success.....................................16 Chapter Six • Security Time Management............................................................16 Services.....................................48 Academic Tips Note-taking, Procrastination and more......................16 Ten Myths of Career Success..........................................22

Services and Duties...........................................................48 Campus Emergency...........................................................50

Assistive Technology.........................................................25

Chapter Seven • Services that Support Success.......................51


Various Student Services..................................................51

Academic Advising............................................................24

Academic Integrity............................................................28 Exam Study Tips...............................................................29 McMaster Success Survey.................................................31



W elcome T o M c M aster


Benvenuti! Sekon Chao Murng Soo Dhowow


Dobro dosli

Welcome to McMaster University! We are excited and honoured that you have selected McMaster University as the school for your postsecondary education. As the Dean of Students I’m pleased to open my door to you during your time here and wish you all the success that you are able to achieve. Student Affairs at McMaster is committed to student success and is here to help you meet your academic, personal and life goals throughout your university career. We are “partners” in your learning. When you consider that a significant number of a university student’s waking hours are spent participating in activities other than attending class and studying, it is easy to appreciate the impact Student Affairs has on students’ intellectual and personal development. Student Affairs supports the academic mission of the University by creating a campus environment with a strong sense of community and purpose. We provide students with purposeful opportunities for involvement that allow them to discover, learn and grow. To learn more about Student Affairs, check out our annual report at studentaffairs. Student Affairs is responsible for helping students to “learn in real life settings...and...reflect on the meaning of what they have learned in the context of their own lives” (Learning Re-considered 2, page 9). Students who are active members of the McMaster community through both academic and out-of-class activities are more likely to gain more from their university experience than those who are not. Your experience at McMaster University will inspire and nurture your passion for life-long learning and self-discovery while preparing you to live and prosper in a diverse and rapidly changing world. I wish you a scholarly and satisfying academic career at McMaster and again, welcome you to the McMaster community. All the best,


Dr. Phil Wood

Dr. Phil Wood

Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs) & Dean of Students

M ission

S tatements McMaster University Vision “To achieve international distinction for creativity, innovation and excellence.” “At McMaster, our purpose is the discovery, communication, and preservation of knowledge. In our teaching, research and scholarship, we are committed to creativity, innovation and excellence. We value integrity, quality, and teamwork in everything we do. We inspire critical thinking, personal growth, and passion for learning. We serve the social, cultural and economic needs of our community and our society.”

Student Affairs Mission As partners in learning we provide our students with opportunities to discover, learn and grow. We collaborate with our campus partners to create opportunities for our students to achieve their personal and career aspirations. Student Affairs is committed: 1. To modelling a student-centered, collaborative and integrated approach to learning 2. To creating a memorable and enjoyable McMaster experience 3. To helping students make meaning of their University experience 4. To achieving our mission and strategic goals within a sustainable financial and accountability framework for all of Student Affairs


Chapter One Learning Reconsidered Everyday you learn something new, from a new calculus formula to the words of a new song. There is a process for learning, and some of you may not even be aware that your minds are going through these steps. In “Power Learning; strategies for success in high education and life”, Chick and Feldman define “P.O.W.E.R.” as:

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within your goal then it is merely a dream. Be honest with yourself and be aware of what you can do but don’t let that prevent you from dreaming big! Organizing is making sure that you have all the materials and tools you will need before you get to work. You have already set your goal and now you must think it through. Organization can be physical or intellectual. For example, if you were going to build a shelf you could get

Prepare Organize Work Evaluate Rethink In order to succeed you need to get prepared; you need to set goals. There are suggested guidelines to setting the goals that you want to achieve. It is important to have both short and long term goals. For example, your long term goal could be graduating from McMaster; however your short-term goal would be completing a lab or an assignment for a class that could help you attain your long-term goal. It is important to understand that the goals you set are YOUR goals and not somebody else’s; depending on what is important to YOU, you determine what takes highest priority. You want to succeed, so you physically organized by making sure you had a hammer, you must ensure that your goals are realistic, attainable nails and wood. On the other hand, if you were about to write a paper on Brock’s role in the war of 1812, you would and within your control. If there is no plan to succeed refresh your memory with all the facts you already know to make any new learning easier. Many students fall into the trap of procrastinating on an assignment on a tight time line. These students dive right into the assignment without organizing. However, in the end they may have saved more time by organizing themselves beforehand instead of trying to jump around from reference to reference. It is important to start organizing before you begin the work.


Now you need to do the actual legwork which should be easier after fully completing the previous two steps. The key to getting the work done is your motivation. Motivation is the inner psychological power that fuels your behaviours. In order to succeed you need to become in tune with your motivations, then take charge and direct

L earning them. Don’t “view success as a result of effort – effort is the cause of success” (Feldman and Chick, 2005). Stay in a positive and optimistic mindset. You need to take responsibility for your successes as well as your failures. If you become accountable to yourself, reflect upon the job you did to improve and move forward. Yet, understand that not everything is within your control. During your university career, you may have an extenuating circumstance where you need an extension, and it is granted. Once you have completed this step, there is still more work. It is incredibly important to review and evaluate the work you have done. It is alright to take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on finishing the first three steps of P.O.W.E.R., but it is equally important to push on and compare your work with the goals you were trying to achieve. For example, you need to review your work and ensure that it meets your standards. Then, you should put yourself in the shoes of your professor as well as someone with no previous knowledge of the subject to assess the project. Finally, you can make the necessary changes based on these evaluations. Lastly, you need to rethink not only the outcome but the ideas and processes that were used. Critical thinking leads to greater success in the future. You can re-analyze what worked well and what didn’t, you can look at the big picture and whether or not you are satisfied. Challenge your own reasoning and question the assumptions that you made, and reflect upon the earlier alternatives that were rejected. In the end, the work is done and there is always another day and another chance to improve. “You almost always have an opportunity to recover from a failure”(Feldman and Chick, 2005). P.O.W.E.R. learning is not only a useful tool for university, but also for life afterwards. These skills can be applied at home, at school, at work, at the gym, etc. You just need to set the goal, organize, do the work, evaluate it and then rethink your methods. Being a good student lays a stable foundation for further goals; you attain good work habits, effective time management, and an organized system for working at a high standard.


L earning How to Adapt to University As you may notice during your first orientation program over the summer, or during your first week of school or even from the first time you step foot on campus, university is completely different than high school. Not only are the social and co-curricular opportunities different, but also academics at the university level are much more broad than those in high school. In high school, students were used to constant assignments, homework checks and quizzes. In university, learning is more independent and tests and assignments hold a higher value towards the final grade. Classes in university are often larger, tend to be longer and are only held on certain days of the week as opposed to everyday. It is necessary for students to stay on top of readings and assignments for each class. It is important to attend class on a regular basis, because a lot of the material covered in class may not be on an assignment but may show up on a final exam or test.

assistance with assignments and course content. Professors can also be helpful in giving students guidance and information. It is useful to get to know your professor. Often, upper year students look to professors for references and it is a lot easier to obtain these when the professor is familiar with a student and their work. The level of learning required in university is also very different than in high school. In high school students are primarily tested on facts and details covered in the classroom and within their textbooks. Many students adopt studying techniques such as memorization, which do not center on a deeper understanding of the material. In university students will be challenged to step beyond this style of learning and to think more critically about the topics they are studying. Critical thinking is an important element of the university learning experience and students should be prepared to discuss ideas and respond to topics discussed in class.

Overall, there is a large difference between high school and university. Students are held more University professors typically do not monitor class attendance as was done in high school. At directly responsible for their own personal progress. university, it is the student’s responsibility to contact Although this idea may seem daunting, it shouldn’t professors or teaching assistants if they have missed deter students from striving for success. University a class in order to get any important information that is an opportunity to have a say in one’s personal was lectured on. Papers and projects in university learning and a chance to expand one’s horizons and are assigned well in advance. At the beginning of to take part in some fantastic experiences both in the term, students will be provided with a course and out of the class room. syllabus. This is the outline of the class and provides students with professor contact information, reading lists, required readings and an outline of assignments and due dates. It is very important to follow along in the syllabus in order to stay on top of readings and due dates. It is each student’s responsibility to remember when work is due and to address any questions that may arise before handing in an assignment. Often, meeting with a professor is very helpful, not only for


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The Eight Cornerstones of High Performance

“Making your Mark” 7th Edition by Lisa Fraser

The 8 Cornerstones of high performance will help students develop their employable, personal and academic skills. The 8 cornerstones of high performance include components of: attitude, career vision, self-management skills, fundamental skills, workplace skills, contacts, experience and personal life.

1.) Attitude: positive outlook, motivation, initiative:

“Opportunityisnowhere” Did you read this as “opportunity is no where” or “opportunity is now here”? This is an old “do you see the glass as half empty or half full” type of question. Many employers say that the number one trait they look for is a positive attitude.

Work ethic, persistence, discipline: These are arguably the most important workplace skills, next to positive attitude. Having a good work ethic means being committed to doing whatever it takes to get a job done and seeing the job through to completion, regardless of the obstacles.

Coping with stress and change: Employers love people who view problems as challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth.

Willingness to learn: Look at new situations as learning opportunities, and be willing to learn a new skill if the situation requires it.

Commitment to quality: This is caring to do it right, from the smallest detail to the largest task. If you set employment

standards for your university work, you’ll develop a habit of producing quality work. Few people would give their boss a proposal that was thrown together at the last minute, so why not work on a paper as if you’re preparing it for an employer?

2.) Educational and Career Vision: If you’ve decided upon a career, you’ll be able to: • Gather educational and career information that’s relevant to your future profession • Get a clear picture of how your education will lead to a concrete job • Discover the skills you’ll need to be successful in university and in the workplace • Make a clear educational and career plan and follow it. If you don’t know what career you wish to pursue, that’s completely fine; you can focus on developing transferable employment skills that can apply to all careers. Whenever you are ready to make your decision, you’ll already have the other essential employment skills in place. 9

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decided which career is for you, you can concentrate on developing the other employment skills that are Time Management, Priority Setting, Decision universal to all careers.


Self-management ties in closely with work ethic and discipline and is a distinguishing characteristic of high achievers. Good self-managers know what needs to be done and manage their time so that it gets done on schedule. These kinds of people must be hard to findthe most common professional development seminar delivered around the world is on time management.

6.) Contacts: Networking, References, Mentors, Industry Contacts:

It’s been said that 85% of all jobs aren’t advertised, so it’s the people with the right contacts that are often successful in getting these jobs. The old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has more than a measure of truth to it. Creating contacts within 4.) Fundamental Skills: your industry can start now. Networking could involve your classmates, your Faculty and any contacts they Communication Skills: Good written, verbal, listening, and presentation may have, your career resources centre, professional skills are essential to most professions and are highly associations, conferences and events, and informational interviews with professionals within your industry. valued by employers.

Creativity, Critical thinking, Problem-Solving 7.) Experience: Skills:

It’s important to be able to think critically, evaluate situations, collect information, and produce Direct and indirect experience: Because employers want someone with solutions independently. experience, your work history should contain as much relevant experience as possible. To gain direct work 5.) Workplace Skills: experience, you can work part time or do volunteer work in your field. Volunteering is an ideal way to Teamwork Skills: A vital aspect of any job is the ability to work gain experience. You could find out which events or well in a group and deal effectively with all personality conferences are being held within your chosen field and types. Leadership skills are also part of group dynamics. volunteer your time at as many of them as you can. You could also approach a company you’d like to work for and offer your services. A part-time job and/or Computer Skills, Technology Skills: It’s a rare job that doesn’t involve at least volunteer work can often be that “ foot in the door” some computer work. You can greatly enhance your that leads to a full-time job. skill portfolio by learning as many different software programs and operating systems as you can. Many job 8.) Personal Life: candidates are selected because of their computer skills. It’s important to maintain balance in your life and make sure you leave time for family, friends, and a Professional Skills, Career Competencies: These are the career-specific skills you’ll need for healthy lifestyle. your chosen profession. If you haven’t yet

“It’s important to maintain balance in your life.”


Chapter Two

S etting G oals and P riorities

“Goals not only lead to the achievement of dreams, but they help motivate us and provide a sense of direction to where we need to stay focused.�

Goal setting is an important skill for university students to understand and possess if they are to achieve personal and academic success. In the fall of 2008, first year students at McMaster participated in a survey measuring student success and it was confirmed that students who set realistic goals and those who had already set long-term academic goals, significantly predicted better academic outcomes. Many students identified that the primary basis for their academic goals was based on their past performance in high school, their program requirements or future academic or career aspirations. It is very important for students to understand how their commitment to the goal, persistence in pursuing it, and belief in themselves can lead to a more successful outcome. Goals not only lead to the achievement of dreams, but they help motivate us and provide a sense of direction to where we need to stay focused. Goals are personal and may be influenced by external factors, but are driven by our own desires. It is the plans we set out to follow that support both what we believe in and what we want for ourselves. As a student, one of your long-term goals is to attain a degree. A short-term goal that supports the long-term goal could be to attend class regularly or complete assigned readings prior to class to be able to fully participate in discussions or to complete a research paper worth 50% in a course.


S etting G oals & P riorities

H ow 1. 2.

To help formulate your goals, you must understand what you want to achieve on a larger scale. Ask yourself, “in 10 years, what do I want my life to look like?� You may answer this question from a variety of perspectives, such as career, family, or travel experiences. By understanding what you ultimately want to achieve, you will narrow your focus and be able to direct yourself better. This is your Big Picture. This picture is a broad description of your long-term goals.

W hat



really want out of life ?

is within my reach to achieve ?

The next step is to prioritize the list of things you want and are able to achieve. Ideally you should focus on 2 or 3 goals at a time to be effective. To begin, choose something easy to accomplish to build confidence. These are your short-term goals.

W hat 12


From there you can narrow the list of wants to things you can realistically achieve. A wish list is wonderful, but looking at available resources, skills, time...factors such as these may limit what you set your sights on.

W hat


B ig P icture ?

is my

Next, think about what you really want. Write down what you see as your ideal life. If you could have everything you wanted, what would it be?

W hat


S et G oals








want to focus on achieving now ?

S etting G oals & P riorities

H ow

S et G oals

Now you’re ready! But do not think you are finished...goal-setting is an on-going process that 6. Lastly, you need to make your goals changes in response to things that happen, changes in you and changes in your life. You will learn more SMART. about yourself and what you value as you mature S - S pecific and your life priorities change. This impacts the Making your goals specific gives you a clear goals you set for yourself so it’s important to review direction to follow and helps to keep you your goals regularly to ensure they are still the most focused on it. relevant ones you should have. You will also need to establish new goals once you’ve achieved them. M - M easurable Using a method for measuring the goal will tell you that you are on track and identify when you R eview of the P rocess : achieve it.


A - A ction -O riented

Break down the steps needed to achieve the goal- 1. 2. -these are the actions you will take toward the 3. end goal. 4. R - R ealistic 5. Examine the resources you have that will help achieve the goal and the barriers you will face trying. Determine whether or not the goal is realistic or needs to be revised to make it realistic.

T -T imely

Establish a timeline for each action/step you’ve identified and a final deadline by which you expect to achieve the goal. Once you’ve clarified your goals and written them down, read through them. Ask yourself the following questions to confirm if you are committed to your goals.

Understand yourself Clarify what you really want Identify your goals Prepare your action plan Implement the action plan and monitor your progress, adjusting the plan when needed

Understand yourself clarify what you really want

identify your goals


Are these actions what I expected to have to do?


Is the time frame realistic to achieve these steps?

prepare your action plan


Is the end goal what I really want?


Do I get excited thinking about the end goal?


Am I really going to do what’s needed to achieve the goal?

adjust plan when needed!


S etting G oals & P riorities identify course goals What are your goals for each of your courses? What seems to be your instructor’s goals for these courses? Use the post-its below to jot down both your own and your instructor’s goals for your courses this term.

Course 1


My Goals

Instructor’s Goals





S etting G oals & P riorities

L ife M ap E xercise A Life Map is a creative way of making a blue print of the person you want to become. Life Mapping is a combination of words and images that will help you define a vision of who you want to be and what you want to achieve.

T he T hree S teps to C reating a L ife M ap 1. 2. 3.

Identify your life goals and your life purpose. Visualize exactly what you want to achieve. Create a design for the best version of yourself and the life you wish to have.

Once you have done this, create your life map. Draw out pictures of your goals. Use magazine clippings or quotes that will inspire you to get to where you want to be in the future.

Once you have created your life map, go back to it from time to time and reflect on your goals, decide if you are moving forward with your plans and identify what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be.

T houghts


R eflection

• What have I learned about myself from looking at my Life Map? • Are there patterns on my Life Map that surprise me? • Will I be okay with the life goals I have visualized? • Who do I need to become in order to fulfill the intentions on my Life Map? Your Life Map will build your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief. Life Mapping will give you the freedom to create and live a more goaloriented life!


Chapter Three Time Management

A cademic S uccess

treat these lists as if they have an expiration date and every once in while you just throw out the list and start One of the most essential skills students will new. learn in university is time management. Students A “To-Do” list can be a very effective system but who do not manage their time well generally achieve an even better system would be a calendar. By placing a lower grades than those with good organization and time-management skills. If time-management skills time line on dates and dead lines, students will be able to are poor, students may begin to feel overwhelmed, have an idea of how much time they require to getting especially during busy times such as midterms and done. A good tip is to use a calendar with 4 visible months exams because they will be trying to juggle so many (these are provided by the MSU at the beginning of the things at once. By learning to plan and manage time school year.) By mapping out a whole semester, students effectively, students will be able to cope with long lists will be able to visualize everything they need to get done. and make good decisions on what to spend their time. An agenda is also a very great way to map out and manage one’s time. An agenda is a larger scale to-do list and can A good way to develop good time management be organized monthly, weekly or daily. By getting into the skills is to use various tools that can assist in keeping habit of writing down tasks and deadlines in an agenda daily, students will form a habit of it and stay on top schedules and deadlines organized. of their deadlines. Using a calendar on your cellphone The first helpful tool students can use to (iPhone or Blackberry) can also keep you organized. manage their skills is a “To- Do” List. Since there is usually so much to be done in a week, a student needs some kind of external tool to keep track of it. Trying to keep track of it in their head usually just leads to problems. A simple way to solve this problem is to use a “To-Do” list. To use a “To-Do” list, simply write down the things you need to do as you think of them. As you do them, cross them off. If you decide you no longer want/need to perform a task, cross it off immediately. It’s often helpful to



The enemy of time management is procrastination. Everyone procrastinates to some extent or another, but procrastination can become negative when it adversely affects someone. Sometimes we procrastinate because the tasks seem enormous and we don’t know where to begin. In order to avoid procrastination, it is better to start projects sooner rather than later and break up tasks into small chunks.

A cademic S uccess When projects are broken down, tasks do not seem as daunting and can become a lot more manageable. Also, remembering to prioritize and writing down important dates is key. If these steps are followed, students will be able to avoid the all-nighters and stressful cramming that are in reality not effective study strategies.

Note Taking

Critical Thinking

Asking questions will help you take notes that best suit your study style and prevent you from having to write down everything the instructor said. Also remember that although short-hand writing

Critical thinking skills and habits are life skills. Learning to use them on a constant basis can help you become more actively involved and more effective in your studies. It may even make what you’re learning more stimulating and enjoyable. These skills are also transferable; that is, they can help you deal more thoughtfully and rationally with issues you encounter in your personal or professional life and even as a member of your community. The goal of critical thinking is to evaluate in a reasoned and unbiased way what you read, hear, or observe in order to judge its validity or worth. Critical thinking cannot be taught by lecturing, it is an active process. The intellectual skills of critical thinking-analysis, synthesis, reflection, etc.--must be learned by actually performing them. Classroom instruction, homework, term papers, and exams, are all ways that students can exercise critical thinking skills.

One of the most important aspects of academic success begins with a student’s ability to take effective notes. When taking notes during lecture, it is important to listen attentively and follow along as your instructor asks questions. critical.htm

and abbreviations can help with your note-taking, it is a good idea to briefly go over your notes on a consistent basis in order to review class material and ensure notes are complete. Some students find it effective to re-copy their class notes into good notes to review material and fill in any questions that may have come up. As a university student, remember to think like the instructor. If they emphasize a point, or feel that there is an important concept to know in the general scheme of the course material, make a point to study it.


A cademic S uccess University requires you to take initiative in your own learning and education. In many of your classes, the professor will provide skeleton notes. These are meant to be an outline of what they will cover within a particular topic or lecture. These notes should not replace the need for going to class and taking your own notes. Notes from a professor are sometimes available online. Be prepared to take these notes with you to your lectures, and elaborate or further explain the information already provided.

1. Go

4. Play close attention to content. • Details, facts, or explanations that expand or explain the main points that are mentioned. • Definitions. • Material written on the Smartboard, chalk board or on a transparency, including drawings or charts. • Information that is repeated or spelled out.

to class prepared. • A spiral bound book can be easier to carry and is useful for rough notes. • Use a three-ring binder instead of a spiral or bound book for your good copy notes. Pages can be easily removed for reviewing. Handouts can be inserted into your notes for cross-referencing. You can insert your own out-of-class notes in the correct order. • Bring highlighters to class. Instructors will frequently make comments like, “This is an important concept.” Or, “Make sure you understand this.” These are direct clues that this will more than likely be on an exam. Highlighting these notes will help remind you later that this is definitely something you need to know. • Read assigned material and previous class notes before class.

2. Improve your listening skills. • Make a conscious effort to pay attention. • Make a quotation in your notes if there is something you don’t understand. Be sure to ask the instructor about it after class. 3. Develop a note taking method that works for you. Fine-tune the structure and organization of your notes to increase your note taking speed and comprehension later. 18

• Start each new lecture on a new page, and date and number each page.

• Leave blank spaces. This allows you to add comments or note questions later. • Make your notes as brief as possible. • Develop a system of abbreviations and symbols you can use wherever possible. • Note all unfamiliar vocabulary or concepts you don’t understand. This reminds you to look them up later.

5. Review and edit your notes. • It is extremely important to review your notes within 24 hours. • Edit with a different colored pen to distinguish between what you wrote in class and what you filled in later. • Note anything you don’t understand by underlining or highlighting to remind you to ask the instructor. • Compare your notes with the text book reading and fill in important details in the blank spaces you left.

A cademic S uccess Teamwork Teamwork and group work have become a very important part of both work and academic environments. Teamwork is an important concept as many projects have better outcomes when multiple skills are incorporated into their creation. Therefore, it is important that students learn to function in a team environment in order to carry on these skills when they graduate and enter into the work force. Open communication is an important part of good teamwork, as it allows team members to understand each other’s point of view, to share ideas, to express feelings and to articulate plans. Poor communication can be a major barrier to effective teamwork. The balance of a team involves having people whose experience, skills, perspectives, interests and contributions complement one another, rather than counteract each other. Leadership is also very important in a team setting. This refers to the ability to create a positive working environment in order to motivate and inspire individuals to play their part in the team. A key part of leadership is ‘vision.’ This refers to the ability to keep a clear focus on what the team is trying to achieve and what its objectives are in terms of its overall strategy and aims. It is very easy for a team of people who are under pressure from various directions to lose their focus on what the team is all about and what purpose it is intended to fulfill. A good leader is somebody who creates a clear focus for the team’s purpose and direction, and ensures all members of the team share a similar vision. Everyone in a team should feel valued and supported in order for a good atmosphere to be created. Effective teamwork depends on good leadership skills, the right balance of creative input and skills and good communication. If these three core ingredients are brought together, teamwork can become a positive experience. Source: human-solutions/conflict-5.html


A cademic S uccess Active Listening When in class or while listening to presentations or peers, students are often not listening attentively to one another. They may be distracted, thinking about other things, or thinking about what they are going to say next. Active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others. It focuses attention on the speaker while suspending one’s own frame of

reference and suspending judgment in order to fully attend to the speaker. Active listening is about focusing on the person who is speaking. An active listener needs to focus full attention on the person who is speaking. Here are some strategies you can use to become a good listener. 1. Set a purpose for listening • • • •

What do you want to achieve? Main ideas or details of the topic? Improved notes from class? Better ability to participate in class discussion?

2. Concentrate on the message by eliminating internal and external distractions For example: Classmates arriving late, noise from outside classroom, worry about stack of papers on instructor desk due to be returned at end of class. 3. Listen for transitions These are often specific clues to various parts of a lecture. For example: “Today’s lecture covers...”, “Today I’d like to discuss...”, “To summarize, As a review, In conclusion...”. 4. Hear the speaker out Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t stop listening because of an emotional response to a word or topic. 5. Be prepared and be flexible If a chapter was assigned prior to lecture, read it. Some professors lecture and then ask questions of students on a daily basis; others prefer class discussion and wander from group to group. More information: learningcenter/Listening/suggestions_for_ active_listening.htm


A cademic S uccess Choosing a Major Choosing a major can be a daunting task for undergraduate students. Some students know exactly what they want to major in, while some know their career goal, but not which major will get them there. Others don’t know which major they want and they have no idea which careers they are aiming for. It seems as though you need to make a decision that will commit you to a certain course of study for the next four or five years. Although parents, friends or colleagues may be pressuring you to make a decision, you don’t need to know what major you want to choose right away.

students have a variety of options. Make sure to speak to an Academic Advisor if you are interested in talking about choosing a major, they have many helpful answers to your questions. Contact your faculty for more information on selecting a major or switching majors.

New experiences, academic and career investigation, and testing the waters are all valuable parts of a university education. Prior to coming to university, the only course subjects you have experienced are those taught in high school. Most high schools teach the traditional core subjects necessary for a high school diploma, but not a huge variety of subjects like what is available at a university. Most students have never experienced Sociology, Women’s Studies, Business, Indigenous Studies, or Social Work. This is why general education requirements and electives are built into degree programs. It gives students the opportunity to do some investigation of different subjects during your first and second year. When you do choose a major – it is not set in stone! The average student during their life time will change their major up to three times and change careers several times. Many parents, funding agencies, and students themselves want to make a decision about their major from the beginning. A university education is available so that you will experience new ways of thinking and gain new experiences. Experience various university classes before you decide on your major, learn what you are interested in and passionate about first before jumping to a decision. Remember, a major does not necessarily define your career path! There are hundreds of combinations of majors available at the university which means

“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.”

~ Steven D. Woodhull 21

A cademic S uccess Myths of Career Success

You should live a balanced life.

As people try to figure out how to navigate today’s work world, career and motivation gurus have a receptive audience. So they look for easy- toswallow maxims to preach- and in so doing, have let loose numerous myths about how to carve career success.

Finding balance in our lives really means finding things that make us feel good and fulfilled. Often when we are most engaged in our lives we are busy and have to juggle our time carefully. Balance is spending time on things you value and place importance on.

Some myths are based on a misunderstanding of contemporary workplace dynamics, or exaggerate what was once acceptable. Others are gross oversimplifications or half-baked truths.

If you try hard enough, you will be successful.

Here are the myths that are heard most frequently: Rare is the individual who has his or her whole life mapped out. Most people will have at least one period, if not several, during their careers in which they will say to themselves “this isn’t working. I am not happy, now what?” This ability to question yourself, and live with the discomfort of uncertainty and ambiguity, actually shows emotional maturity and confidence. Even if you don’t feel confident, when you ask yourself important questions, there is an underlying assertion that you feel you deserve more and will figure out how to obtain it.

You should be happy all the time. I know of no job where irritations don’t come as part of the package. Even people who love what they do can identify things that dissatisfy them, whether it’s some unpleasant people they have to work with, excessive demands or unappreciative clients and bosses. The real test is weighing the balance of the stuff you don’t like and the stuff you do. When people do a realistic appraisal of their own work, they usually find that the things that satisfy them outweigh the things that don’t.


Coach-speak aside (‘if you can dream it, you can do it’), we all have limitations as well as strengths. Simply wanting something because it’s your passion will not be sufficient. You may not have the aptitude to do what you want. As a general rule, if you think back to your past and find no strong indication of this aptitude, follow your bliss on your personal time and don’t quit your day job.

A cademic S uccess You should always give your boss or clients what they want. You are brought into a job because you have the experience to warrant it. And if you’re doing your job right and long enough, you probably know more about the program than they do. Your role is to share your expertise. If your opinion differs from that of your boss or client, share it respectfully. This is critical thinking and is what you are being paid to do.

Everyone you work with and for should like you. Just as you don’t like everyone you interact with, you shouldn’t expect everyone you come across to like you either. It is impossible to be the sort of person who everyone finds equally attractive. That is what makes us human.

You need to be an EXTROVERT to be successful. Here’s the thinking behind this one: To be most effective today, you need to be able to work in teams and to market yourself. Extroverts can do this better than introverts. In fact, neither is true. Most teamwork today involves a group coming together to solve a particular problem, and then moving on to the next project. Gone are the days of the casual social banter- what extroverts do so well.

It’s hard to find a mentor. About 80 per cent of midlife workers cite a strong desire to mentor someone as a source of career satisfaction and renewal, so there is a large pool of people looking to mentor younger talented people. Look around at those you work with, previous supervisors, consultants selling your company services, people you meet in volunteer capacities. Who do you admire? Ask if you can have a coffee with them, or talk on the phone. You are not imposing. Who isn’t flattered to feel they have something of value in the way of advice to offer to someone else?

You should focus networking on influential people. Often, senior people are too far removed from the work you are interested in to be truly helpful. Usually the most fruitful encounters are with people at or just about your level. More importantly, the point of networking is not purely instrumental, to get a job lead, for example. It is to make mutual connections and share information and experiences. Don’t assess the value of your networking on its immediate economic payoff or the organizational level of the person. When you make a genuine connection, the long-term rewards are significant.

The grass is greener elsewhere.

As far as marketing yourself goes, there are many ways of getting your name and credentials in front of people other than the relationship-building lunches that extroverts favor.

Most people significantly overestimate how much fun others are having. Do you feel overworked and unappreciated? Before you jump ship, ensure that you have accurately identified what is bothering you, remember what you like in your work, and carefully assess whether it’s truly different across the street.

Strategies that work for introverts include giving presentations, writing for your professional association’s newsletter, even sending someone an e-mail commenting about something they are working on.


A cademic S uccess Academic Advising Academic advising is offered to all students of the McMaster community through their Faculty Program Offices. Academic Advisors are extremely helpful in guiding students toward academic success by outlining academic requirements and avenues students may take to successfually graduate. Academic Advisors can help students in the following ways: • • • • • • •

Course requirements and changes Program selection, application and changes Study opportunities elsewhere including McMaster Exchanges and Letters of permission Petitions for missed term work and deferred examinations Petitions for special consideration of all kinds Appeal procedures Referral to other services on campus

Academic Advising is offered on both an appointment and drop in basis depending on the faculty. Academic Advising is located within the Faculty. Please visit your Faculty’s web page for further information on scheduling an Academic Advising appointment.

Academic Accommodation Policies Students may be eligible for academic accommodations, services and assistive technology depending on the nature of their disability. Possible accomodations and services may include: •


Use of assistive devices or auxiliary aids (e.g. FM systems, use of computers,

• • • • •

specialized software) Assistance from Note takers in the classroom Permission to audio record lectures Assistance of oral and visual language interpreters Wheelchair accessible tables and special seating requirements Test and exam accommodations (i.e. extended time, reader or scribe, distraction-free environment, use of computer etc.)

A cademic S uccess • • • • • •

Assistive Technology Speech recognition software (i.e. Dragon Naturally Speaking) Screen reading software (i.e. JAWS for Windows, Zoom Text) Screen magnification software (Zoom Text) FM transmitter/receiver systems Braille Lite and Braille printer Text to voice assistive technology (i.e. Kurz Weil)

Students with documented or suspected disabilities such as physical, medical, sensory, mental health, or learning disabilities are encouraged to come in and speak with the appropriate Program Coordinator. Students are responsible for identifying themselves to the Centre for Student Development (CSD) on an annual and regular basis in order to receive accommodations. Students must provide relevant professional, medical or psychological documentation

in order to qualify for consideration, access to services, academic accommodations and assistive technology. Students must get accommodation letters in order to be able to gain access to these academic services. Letters are only distributed at the beginning of each term. Students must print a single copy of the signature form to be signed by all instructors and to be returned to CSD. Once this is completed, students must give a copy of their accommodation letter to each instructor for their referral. Students must have booked an appointment or already have seen a counsellor in order to use this service. If students cancel or to do not show up for an appointment, they will need to book another appointment in order to continue. Academic Accommodation forms are available online at

A cademic S uccess For information on academic accommodation policies or to inquiry about academic disability information please visit CSD at http://csd. or disability_faqs.htm for an outline of the process and steps you can take in order to gain assistance.

The ATLAS Program Assistive Technology Learning and Academic Support

as they progress. The technologies and learning strategies will be integrated to work together, optimizing students’ opportunities for success. For more information on the ATLAS Program please visit: http://


Atlas is a program designed specifically for students with diagnosed learning disabilities. This program is funded through the Learning Opportunities Task Force through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. As a participant in the ATLAS program, students have access to the latest assistive technology devices as well as specialized services with a Learning Strategist and Assistive Technologist.

What is Assistive Technology?

The term ‘Assistive Technology’ refers to any device that enables a student with a disability to compensate for weaknesses and capitalize on strengths imposed by their disability.

What is a Learning Strategist?

A Learning Strategist is a knowledgeable professional who works with students to help make the most of their McMaster experience. They will help students understand the nature of their learning disability and its impact on academic and personal pursuits.

What is an Assistive Technologist?

An Assistive Technologist is a specialist who will work with students to recommend technologies that will allow them to compensate for and minimize the barriers presented by their learning disability. As a partner, they will introduce the tools, teach students how to use them and be there to support students


For students with disabilities who will be entering university in the fall 2010, the Centre for Student Development hosts a free, four-day transition program called HYPE!@McMaster. This program runs from August 3 to 6, 2010. Our goal during HYPE! is to provide these students with strong academic strategies and personal development skills that will be discussed during different workshops. As well, students will be able to familiarize themselves with the university environment as they participate in on- and off-campus activities and live in a university residence. The HYPE! program not only shows students resources that can help with a smooth transition to post-secondary education, but it is also a fun way to experience university first-hand before the school year begins! For more information visit or email us at lrn2lrn@

A cademic S uccess McMaster Libraries

( that brings together important information in one convenient place.

Key Stats and Neat Facts about McMaster’s Libraries

Winners of the 2008 “Excellence in Academic Libraries Award”, McMaster Libraries are a great place for your research and study. There are 4 libraries on campus and while each is subject-specific, you are free to use any library on campus. Thode Library, the most recent library to undergo renovation, caters to the Faculties of Science and Engineering and features a brand new café. The Health Sciences Library houses resources for the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Innis Library serves the Faculty of Business. Mills Library houses resources for the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences and offers a large learning commons complete with computers and laptop space. The libraries also offer services and resources that will further your academic success such as research help, bookable group study rooms and laptop lending. Be sure to participate in one of the library tours and stop by to learn the ins and outs of research. Check out our library website (http://library., where you can access all of our online resources. We also offer a First Year Experience Wiki

• In a year, more than 2,250,000 patrons enter the libraries and more than 64,000 research help questions are answered • The Library’s Division of Archives and Research Collections houses extensive archives including those of Bertrand Russell and a noteworthy collection of Eighteenth Century Literature • The combined collections of the libraries total more than 2 million books, 20,000 print and electronic journal titles, and an additional 200,000 e-resources General collection strengths support the research and teaching strengths of the University. Particular areas of emphases include Biology, British History, Business, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, Engineering, English Literature, Geography & Earth Sciences,Health Sciences (with particular emphasis on problem-based self-directed methods of teaching and learning), Maps, Nuclear, Physics and Religious Studies • The libraries acquire print, non-print, and electronic materials from multiple sources. The acquisitions budgets from the University Library and Health Sciences Library are funded separately, and materials are ordered, received and processed independently as well. The libraries participate in a number of consortial projects including CRKN (Canadian Research Knowledge Networker) and COAHL (Consortium of Ontario Academic Health Libraries) for digital content • The libraries use the integrated Horizon Software system for SirsiDynix to manage online cataloguing, circulation, and acquisitions and Endeca to power the search functionality of our catalogue

Mills Learning Commons Open 24/5 - Sunday through Thursday during both terms (September 13 - December 3 and January 3 to April 8) Open 24/7 during Fall and Spring exam periods (December 4 - December 22 and April 9 - April 25)


A cademic S uccess

Academic Integrity at McMaster University One way to make sure that you uphold and protect the code of academic integrity is to have a clear understanding of what constitutes academic dishonesty. Many students feel that to be academically dishonest is to plagiarize. Plagiarism is one form of academic dishonesty, but it is not the only form. According to McMaster’s Academic Integrity Policy, academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that may result or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage.

• •

laboratories) submitted by other students to the instructor, Alter a grade on academic work after it has been marked and using the altered materials to have the recorded grade changed, Steal, destroy or tamper with another student’s academic work,

• • • •

Prevent another student(s) from completing a task for academic assessment, Fail to take reasonable precautions to protect academic work such as assignments, projects, laboratory reports or examinations from being used by other students, Misrepresent academic credentials from other institutions or submit false information for the purpose of gaining admission or credits, Submit false information or false medical documentation to gain a postponement or advantage for any academic work, e.g., a test or an examination,

The following is a list of examples of academic dishonesty. Please note that although there are many examples given, this list is not inclusive of every possible form of dishonesty. The list should provide a greater understanding of McMaster University’s policy on academic dishonesty.

It shall be an offence knowingly to: • • • • • • •


Plagiarize, i.e. submit academic work that has been, entirely or in part, copied from or written by another person without proper acknowledgement, or, for which previous credit has been obtained, submit the same academic work to more than one course Submit academic work for assessment that was purchased or acquired from another source, Collaborate improperly on academic work Aid or abet another student’s academic dishonesty, Copy or use unauthorized aids in tests, examinations or laboratory reports, Procure, distribute or receive an examination, test or course materials that are in preparation or storage for an academic assessment, Remove, without authorization, academic work (e.g. previous assignments or

A cademic S uccess • Forge, alter or fabricate McMaster University documents, • Forge, alter or fabricate transcripts, letters of reference or other official documents, • Impersonate another student either in person or electronically for the purpose of academic assessment, • Provide a false signature for attendance at any class or assessment procedure or on any document related to the submission of material where the signature is used as proof of authenticity or participation in the academic assessment and, • Commit research misconduct which shall include:

Students are responsible for their behavior and may face penalties under this Policy, if they commit academic dishonesty. For more information on McMaster Academic Integrity policy please visit:

i. The misrepresentation, fabrication or

falsification of research data, ii. The abuse of confidentiality with regard to information and ideas taken from manuscripts, grant applications or discussions held in confidence, iii. Other kinds of misconduct, such as: the violation of the regulations of the granting bodies; the improper use of funds, equipment, supplies, facilities, or other resources; the failure to respect University policies on the use of human subjects or animals.

Exam Study Tips

(“Making your Mark” 7th Edition by Lisa Fraser) 1. Be prepared

The most important factor in exam success is preparation. No matter how many helpful hints you employ, nothing works as well as making sure you’ve studied enough.

Students are responsible for being aware of 2. Do your homework and demonstrating behavior that is honest and ethical Often an exam question will parallel a reading or homework. Doing your readings and assignment in their academic work. Such behavior includes: questions regularly will give you practice where you • Following the expectations articulated need it. by instructors for referencing sources of information and for group work, 3. Review regularly • Asking for clarification of expectations as If you spend a few minutes each week reviewing necessary, your notes, your final studying will be a simple • Identifying testing situations that may review and not an attempt to learn the entire term’s allow copying, work. • Preventing their work from being used by others, e.g., protecting access to computer 4. Study your weakest subject first files, and You’ll be fresher and therefore better able to deal • Adhering to the principles of academic with difficult areas, and you’ll have more time to integrity when conducting and reporting deal with any problems that arise. research.


A cademic S uccess 5.

Ask for Help

If you are having trouble with a particular subject, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your teacher and fellow students will be glad to give you a hand. Remember, too, that McMaster also has a peertutoring program. CSD also provides students with many academic resources, including: a. b. c. d.

Academic Skills Support ESL Services Online resources for test, essay tips, etc. Personal and Academic Counselling

However, you should not leave asking for help until the last minute. It is impossible to teach a semester worth of work in one week. If you find that you are struggling with something early on, get help immediately.


Understand vs. Memorize


Look at old exams

You may pass your exams if you memorize the material, but you’ll improve your grades considerably if you understand what it is you’re memorizing. You’ll also find the material easier to remember.

Some teachers file copies of past exam papers in the library. They can be useful study tools, as long as you don’t limit studying to them.



Attend end of semester classes


Review in a group

A lot of valuable information is outlined in the last few classes of the semester. Points of misunderstanding can be cleaned up, exam format explained, and potential exam questions given.

Brainstorm possible test questions with your classmates, compare notes and test one another on class material.

10. Don’t study too long

A 10-hour study marathon will only wear you out. You’ll learn more if your study periods are short, frequent and include regular breaks.

11. Eat well and get a good night sleep Take care of yourself during exams. It’s a stressful time and you should make sure to stay healthy and rested. Sleep also has an impact on information being retained in your long term memory as the brain continues to work and makes connections between pieces of information you’ve learned and experiences you’ve had.

A cademic S uccess

McMaster Success Survey From Fall 2007 to Spring 2009, the First Year Experience Office conducted a study of first year students at McMaster University. The goal of this study was to identify relationships between the behaviour and lifestyle of students and their own reported levels of academic success. The study identifies variables that positively affect academic and personal success at university. Below are some interesting findings from the study: • • • •

74.6% reported having difficulty with one or more classes in their first term of study. 60% of students indicated that they expect their overall GPA to be a B or higher. Students who indicated that they had experienced self-improvement with regard to their time management predicted that they would earn a higher GPA, and reported having difficulty in fewer classes than those who did not note self- improvement with time management. Students who strongly agreed that they are able to break down large tasks into smaller ones and implement their chosen solutions predicted that they would earn a higher GPA, and reported less difficulty in classes than did students who slightly agreed or disagreed.

• • •

The more frequently students asked questions during class, participated in discussions, and came to class prepared, the greater their predicted GPA and the fewer the number of courses in which they reported difficulty. Students who indicated missing class more frequently predicted that they would earn lower GPAs, and reported having difficulty in a greater number of classes than students with better attendance records. Students who reported receiving more emotional support from their families and students who reported greater understanding from their families with regard to the demands of college life predicted that they would earn high GPAs and reported less difficulty in classes than did students with less family support.

McMaster University is committed to supporting the academic success of students and results from this survey are used during the delivery of orientation programs in an effort to help new students gain understanding of what to expect at university both in and out of the classroom.

Comments from Students “I have learned to manage my own time because there is no other option. No one is telling me what to do.” “A lot more is required of me at university than at high school. This requires more time management in order to get everything done. Good time management is a necessity to academic success.” “In high school, things were pretty easy, but now I actually have to work to get the grades that I want. And, since there’s more people at university compared to high school, there just happens to be more people I share interests with, so it is easier to socialize.”


Chapter Four

H ealth & W ellness

First year is a time of transition: classes will become more challenging, the buildings will play “hide and seek,” you will have to learn to live with new roommates and neighbours, and relationships with parents and old friends will change. For many students, health and wellness can often take a back seat to studying and making friends. In times of stress and pressure to maintain high academic performance, diet, exercise and recreation sometimes get cut from the schedule completely. A manifestation of this is the dreaded “Freshman 15” — the myth that students often put on 15 pounds in first year. With so much transition, you will probably experience new levels of stress. At times this stress may seem overwhelming. You are not alone! The McMaster community will help you by providing the opportunity to learn life-long skills to manage stress in a challenging and constantly changing world. While previous chapters explained the importance of time management, this chapter will show you why health and wellness is an important factor in academic success that is worth making time for in your busy schedule!

“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”


What is Health & Wellness? “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” World Health Organization (WHO), 1946

The WHO’s definition of health ties in with the notion of wellness, which can be defined as “a health care approach with an emphasis on preventing illness and prolonging life, rather than merely the treating of diseases”.


Thus, the health and wellness approach to student life is one in which we proactively prevent physical and mental illnesses. In this way, we can minimize and manage stress, and ensure our bodies and minds are ready to meet any challenge that university life may present.

H ealth & W ellness What Challenges to Health & Wellness Can I Expect in First Year? Poor health can be very detrimental to academic success in university. If you do not attempt to prevent illness, you are more likely to become ill, and are less likely to overcome some of the challenges of first year. Before we look at the common challenges to expect, let us consider the following:

In 2008, the American College Health Association conducted its National College Health Assessment (NCHA), which was completed by 26,685 respondents. One section asked students to report factors which affected their individual academic performance. The top five factors were: Stress......................................................27.2% Sleep difficulties.....................................19.3% Anxiety...................................................18.2% Cold/Flu/Sore Throat............................15.4% Work.......................................................13.1%

Although these findings were from the United States, these factors are relevant to us here at McMaster. All of these factors are manageable if we take care of our health and wellness. Although these factors are part of life and can’t always be avoided, you don’t have to let them negatively affect your academic performance.

Stress and Health

“Stress is the trash of modern life, we generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.”

~ Danzae Pace Stress can be defined as our physical and emotional response to an event that challenges or threatens us. A threat or challenge that stimulates our stress response is called a stressor. Stressors can be either positive or negative. Positive stressors are usually a good thing, for example, starting a new job or getting married. Negative stressors, on the other hand, are much more difficult, such as losing a job or a loved one. Individual stressors are often manageable, but when not dealt with, stressors can accumulate and have terrible effects on our health.

Top 10 Health Impediments to Student’s Academic Performance


H ealth & W ellness Surveys have even found that the more stressful events you experience in a year, the more likely you are to have a major illness. Stress affects both our physical and mental health: increased fatigue and sleep difficulties, muscle tension, headaches, weakened immune system, irritability, decreased concentration and memory, loss of sense of humor, and anxiety are all common symptoms of chronic stress. In fact, Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University has shown that prolonged high levels of stress can actually cause shrinking in certain areas of the brain!

your life. While you may have no control on what stressors present themselves in your life, you do have control of how you react to stress. Identify what is causing you stress, and take steps to alleviate it. If writing essays or exams is stressful, start preparing early (i.e. as soon as you know it is coming) and then you can build the confidence when the time comes to know that you are fully prepared.

Clearly, stress can negatively affect all aspects of health. Chronic stress can lead to sleep difficulties, anxiety, and increased susceptibility to physical illness (i.e. cold/flu/sore throat). So the top four factors affecting academic performance are actually inter-related. Therefore, managing stress is essential to academic success, health, and wellness.

Tips for Managing Stress, Health & Wellness

Get it together!

The single easiest way to avoid stress and its negative effects is to stay organized and manage your time well. Effective time management will ensure you can complete the work you need to get done and that you are prepared for your tests and exams. Another key element in academic preparedness is prioritization. There are always times when you are behind and cannot possibly get everything done that you need to for the week. It happens to all of us. When it does, prioritize and get the most important things done first: you can always catch up on readings on the weekend, but studying for Thursday’s exam on Friday won’t help! Manage your time so that you are as far ahead as possible, but don’t forget to build in extra time for catch up because you never know what your professors will surprise you with.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Of course, being happy is easier said than done. But you don’t have to let worry take over


Your attitude towards stressors can have significant effects on your stress response. Always “look on the bright side”. There is no use dwelling on the negative; focus on what is positive and move on. According to psychologist Shelley Taylor of the University of California, reflecting on personal values can buffer you from the effects of stress. Her study found that thinking of things that have meaningful values to an individual can provide biological and psychological protection from the adverse effects of stress. Simple ways to do this are to have pictures of loved ones, favourite vacation spots, or role models at your desk or on your computer. Take time to reflect on the “good times” and the “bad” times won’t seem so tough. • • •

Always look for the positive in a situation. A poor test or assignment mark can be an opportunity to learn what you are doing wrong and improve. Conflict with peers can help you brush up on your interpersonal and conflict management skills.

H ealth & W ellness Keep a journal of your challenges, and record in detail how you overcame them. You can review it later for inspiration and direction, or even for use in a job interview!


In this day and age, there never seems to be enough time in the day to go to class, do your readings, study, watch your favourite show, and catch a bite to eat. Quite often, the first thing to be sacrificed is sleep. Unfortunately, losing sleep decreases your productivity, making class, readings, and preparing healthy food that much harder. Worse still, the negative effects of lost sleep are cumulative: not getting enough sleep for several consecutive nights makes the consequences worse in the end.

Here are some tips to get your muchneeded rest for success: • • • • • • •

Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, including weekends. Avoid coffee and other stimulants, especially in the evening. Avoid drinking alcohol near bedtime, it will reduce the quality of your sleep. Avoid large meals or drinks in the late evening. Do not nap after 3 p.m. If you are bothered by noises around you, try using earplugs, a fan, or other “white noise” generator to block out the noise. Think of sleep as an investment in your health and academic success.

Furthermore, lack of sleep reduces your ability to concentrate, think quickly, and remember things you have learned. It reduces your creativity and memory and according to some studies, each hour of lost sleep results into a temporary loss of one IQ point! A 2008 Student Health and Wellness Survey showed that the majority of students don’t often get enough sleep to feel rested upon waking. Moreover, respondents who described their academic success as very high were also most likely to report that they get enough sleep. On the other hand, respondents reporting poor academic success also reported getting the least amount of sleep.


z z z

z 35

H ealth & W ellness How Large is Your Sleep Debt? To determine whether you have sleep debt, answer each question by checking the box for “YES”. Each “YES” counts as a score. Do you usually need a loud alarm clock to wake you up in the morning? Do you usually hit the snooze control to get a few minutes more of sleep when the alarm clock goes off (or simply turn off the alarm and try to catch a bit more sleep)? Do you find getting out of bed in the morning usually a struggle? Do you sometimes sleep through the alarm? Do you usually find that a single beer, glass of wine, or other alcoholic drink seems to have a noticeable effect on you? Do you sleep longer on weekends than you do during the week? Do you feel that your “get-up-and-go” has gotten up and gone? Do you find it more difficult to attend to details or routine chores than it used to be? Do you sometimes find yourself getting very sleepy while you are sitting and reading? Do you sometimes find yourself getting very sleepy and dozing off when you are watching TV? When you are a passenger on an airplane, car, bus or train and the trip lasts over an hour without a break, do you commonly find yourself getting very sleepy and dozing off ? Do you usually feel extremely sleepy or doze off when you are sitting at a public meeting, lecture or theatre? Do you usually feel extremely sleepy or doze off when you are sitting quietly after a large lunch without alcohol? Have you sometimes found yourself getting extremely sleepy with the urge to doze when you drive and are stopped for a few minutes in traffic? Do you drink more than four cups of coffee or tea (containing caffeine) during the day? (Remember to count refills; also count extra large take-out as two cups).

Scores 4 or less: You are obtaining an adequate amount of sleep. No signs of sleep debt. 5 or 6: You are probably getting an adequate amount of sleep. Most days you are short of sleep. 7 or 8: You are showing evidence of sleep debt that may cause a noticeable reduction in your work efficiency. 9 to 11: You definitely have a large sleep debt. You may experience random errors in your work, and fail to spot them. 12 to 14: Sleep debt is taking a major toll in your life. Your general quality of life may suffer; you may make major mistakes in your work and not notice it, you may experience loss of patience, interest and be less inclined to socialize, be a bit more accident prone, occasional crises in loss of confidence, and temporary memory loss. 15 and above: Sleep debt is a serious problem. Your level of sleepiness is in the range of those people with clinical levels of sleep disturbances. You almost certainly need a marked change in sleep behaviour to ensure your physical and psychological safety. Sleep more.



H ealth & W ellness

Eat Right!

Eating healthy, nutritious foods is essential for overall health and wellness. A balanced diet increases mental ability and makes us more productive. An unbalanced diet, however, can increase stress, susceptibility to illness, and reduce productivity. For many of us, university is the first time where the decision of what to eat and when is completely up to us. No parents calling us down for dinner, no one to pack our lunch. Most first years will be getting their meals through the McMaster Meal Plan. This is a convenient option; however, the focus is on you to choose to eat right. McMaster offers a variety of great foods, but it can be all too easy to let indulgent foods become the norm. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices and avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15”: • • • • • • • •

Eat a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt. Read labels! Schedule your meals, don’t skip them. Eat smaller portions; if meals are served as large portions, refrigerate leftovers and eat it later. Eat slowly. Eat high fat/sugar/salt “junk” foods only occasionally and as a treat for accomplishing a goal. Drink plenty of water.

Exercise - Just do it!

Exercise is proven to have a plethora of benefits: it helps decrease anxiety, increases mental alertness, improves self-image, and allows you to bounce back from stress and illness much more quickly. Physical activity stimulates the release of chemicals in the brain that stimulate a “feel good” sensation throughout your body and mind. It is vital to schedule time for exercise to ensure resilience against stress and illness, which will increase your overall productivity and contribute to your academic success. •

Choose exercise you like. It will be a chore if you force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy.


H ealth & W ellness • • • •

Seek a variety of activities to ensure you don’t get bored. Make exercise a social activity by finding a workout partner or group of friends to play sports with. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you do it as a group. Look for ways to be more active: take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to the store, take the “scenic” route. Be sure to have a physical checkup with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you are starting after years of inactivity.

Fostering Better Social Relations

For many first years, living with a new and “strange” person can be scary. Having realistic expectations and being open and positive can go a long way towards going from strangers to friends • for life. University is a great place to meet new and interesting people, and build a support network. • • Don’t expect to be immediate best friends - meaningful relationships take time to develop. • Don’t make assumptions. • • When in doubt, ask questions. • Roommates are in the same boat as you - you may have more in common than you initially realize. • 38

Invest time in trying to understand the other person’s experience and less time trying to express your own opinion. Discuss expectations with roommates, such as cleanliness, study times, sleeping habits, sharing, methods to resolve disagreements. Keep the lines of communication open, letting resentment build up will only lead to an explosion of anger! Don’t try to be the “boss” - this will only lead to resentment.

H ealth & W ellness Alcohol

Substance Abuse: Illegal Drugs

The most common form of substance abuse in university is alcohol use. At McMaster, we promote the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol if you are 19 years of age or older. As it is not legal to purchase, consume or sell alcohol if you are under the age of 19, we ask that you make appropriate choices during your time on campus, as you will be accountable to both Ontario laws and the McMaster Student Code of Conduct. Keep in mind that excessive consumption of alcohol on a regular basis can have a negative impact on one’s health, wellness, and academic success. As a community that cares about the well-being of its students, we at McMaster ask that you share this care and concern within your circle of friends. If you or someone you know are ever in a situation on campus where you are concerned about another student who has over consumed, please call our campus emergency services – Emergency First Response Team and Security Services (dial “88” from any campus phone).

The reality is that illegal drugs exist on many Canadian campuses. As university can be considered a time of experimentation, students may be curious about the experience of “getting high.” It is important to note that, at McMaster, the use of illegal drugs is not tolerated and can lead to serious consequences under the McMaster Student Code of Conduct and further involvement with Security Services and the Hamilton Police. Illegal drug use can have a negative impact on one’s health as well as on one’s academics. If you are in need of support regarding substance abuse, please consider accessing one of the resources on this page – they are there to help.


Centre for Student Development provides personal and group counselling for a variety of issues. They are located in McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) room B107 or online at Their phone number is (905)-525-9140 extension 24711.

Despite efforts to educate society on the harmful effects of tobacco, smoking continues to be a challenging health issue. Smoking cigarettes can be one of the hardest addictions to overcome. It is a costly behaviour both monetarily and in health smoking can put you at a higher risk of developing cancer, emphysema, and many other diseases. At McMaster, we have many great resources to assist you if you have questions regarding tobacco or are interested in learning more about resources to help you quit - please visit the Campus Health & Wellness Centre (MUSC B106) to talk with our Leave the Pack Behind team ( mcmaster).

“If you have an issue with drugs or alcohol, there are places on campus that can help” For professional assistance on campus:

Health & Wellness Centre, Campus Health can provide information and health resources both on campus and in the Hamilton community. They are located in MUSC room B106 or online at http:// You can also call them at (905) 525-9140, extension 23312. Campus Health Centre, in addition to general medical care, provides Psychiatry services by referral from a family physician for consultation and ongoing care as required. The Campus Health Centre is located in MUSC B101. You can view their website at for more information. Their phone number is (905)-525-9140 extension 27700.


H ealth & W ellness Developing Healthy Relationships While in University Relationships (with peers, with professors, with significant others and with family) can cause stress if they are not going well, but often times they can also help deal with stress. All forms of relationships have their highs and lows, but it is up to the individuals invested within the relationship to try and make it work. If one of your relationships is stressful, the first thing you should do is evaluate yourself. Personal attitude, feelings and likes and dislikes are often factors that affect relationships. Everyone needs various types of relationships within their lives and often times we must evaluate our self before we can evaluate our relationships. There is an old saying that states - “You cannot learn to love someone until you learn to love yourself ”. This means you must take responsibility of your thoughts, feelings and action before getting involved with someone new. Many events and circumstances that occur in life are out of our personal control, and often times these events make us react a certain way that might not always bring out the best in our character. As human beings, we cannot always control the way we react and that’s normal. What we can do is alter the way that we feel about certain situations or the way we let these situations affect our lives. When considering past or present issues you may face in relationships, one of the things that may come to mind is communication. Communication or lack thereof is a primary issue within many relationships, and if not resolved can often lead to the deterioration of many relationships. When you are communicating with someone, there should be an equal balance of talking and listening. Relationships do not work when one person does all the talking and another does all the listening. Being an active listener also means being supportive. This requires joining into the other person’s triumphs and troubles and communicating that support. There is nothing more hurtful than an unsupportive relationship. If you want


someone to support you, then you must also offer that support in return. Relationships require equality in order for both parties to be content and to succeed. When you enter university you will be faced with many opportunities to make new relationships through various avenues. When meeting new people, have an open mind and have realistic expectations. If you view university as a competition, then you may face some problems, because cooperation is the key to getting along with others. Have fun meeting and developing new relationships and remember that when entering university, everyone is looking to make friends and everyone is on the same page as you are, new, curious and often times a bit scared of making the transition to university life.

Chapter Five

I mportant R esources MUGSI/SOLAR In June, all first-year students will begin registering for their courses using MUGSI, which is the McMaster University Gateway to Student Information. This service provides individual student information and access to SOLAR which is the McMaster Student OnLine Academic Registration System. SOLAR will allow you to sign up for your courses. More information on how to use these two very important services can be found at:

SOLAR. Deadlines for this will be listed in the Student Undergraduate Calendar (See Below). After this point, students can only drop a course without academic penalty until early November for first term and early March for second term. Be sure to consult the Undergraduate Calendar, which is available at Titles Bookstore in hard copy, or online at CALENDAR/current/ regarding the courses you need prior to second year before making any decisions about adding or dropping particular courses.

Up until the first week of both semesters, students can drop and add academic courses using


I mportant R esources MACCESS New for you - MACCESS is a student portal and it’s designed to provide all major services in one place. Sign in once and you’ll have access to MUGSI, personal timetables, e-mail, grades and Avenue to Learn without multiple log-ins. MACCESS:

Grade Point Scale

McMaster University’s Grade Point Scale is based on a 12-point scale. The breakdown of the scale is as follows:



Equivalent 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Equivalent % 90-100 85-89 80-84 77-79 73-76 70-72 67-69 63-66 60-62 57-59 53-56 50-52 0-49 Failure

If you are considering supplementing your McMaster degree with courses from another institution, you will have to compare McMaster University’s unique scale to the GPA of other universities. The Career Services website offers a GPA conversion chart at:


Avenue to Learn

Online learning management systems like Avenue are used by various classes. They allow students to: see assignments, see grades, complete on-line quizzes, have access to lecture materials and information regarding upcoming tests/exams and labs. In some classes students are also able to go on and participate in class discussions to maintain contact with their professors, teaching assistants and other students taking the same courses. These on-line environments are linked to your McMaster e-mail account so students must activate their Mac IDs in order to use it. To learn how to enable your Mac ID account visit: services. htm

I mportant R esources McMaster E-mail Account Every McMaster student is assigned a McMaster e-mail account. The e-mail account is not active automatically; you must follow the steps below to enable this service: • Complete your course registration and confirm Payment Agreement in SOLAR • Wait 24 hours after completing Step 1 and then log into MUGSI and click on “Enable your MAC ID Services” (please note: this is different from activating your MAC ID). Instructions on how to enable your services: enablingservices.htm • Once you complete the “Enable your MAC ID Services” step, please allow 24 hours for your e-mail account to be activated.


MAC ID is a unique, common identifier enabling single sign-on for a number of McMaster systems and applications.

Importance of McMaster E-mail

Your MAC ID is not your employee or student number.

The McMaster Student e-mail account is extremely important for students for various communication purposes. Primarily students will need to activate their e-mail account in order to be able to communicate with instructors and teaching assistants. Professors only accept e-mails from the McMaster e-mail account.

New students are required to activate their MAC ID. To do so visit MUGSI and select “Activate Your MAC ID”. Please have your student card on hand for this process. You will be asked for your student number, barcode on your student card and Date of Birth. Begin at Activation and Services Guide for Students.

Your E-mail address will be: for example:

Secondly, the McMaster E-mail will be used as a communication gateway between you and your Faculty Program Office. This way you will be able to receive important information and dates about activities, deadlines or postings in relation to your Faculty society. Lastly, the McMaster e-mail account is spam-free and is easy and user friendly. It is a simple professional account that is provided to each and every McMaster student using their unique Mac ID.


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Activate your MAC ID Only new students will have to activate their MAC ID. Returning students already have a MAC ID and should follow the instructions, “Enable Your MAC ID Services”. Go to MUGSI at https://mugsi. and select “Activate Your MAC ID”. Please have your student card on hand for this process. You will be asked for your student number, barcode on your student card and date of birth. You will also be asked to set your MAC ID password and responses to 3 personal challenge questions. In the event you forget your MAC ID password, correct answers to your personal challenge questions will enable you to reset your password without having to visit the Service Desk. Once you have activated your MAC ID, you can logon to MUGSI and complete your course registration through SOLAR and make arrangements for payment. Completing your academic and payment arrangements entitles you to other MAC ID services like email. Follow this link to view the MAC ID activation guide: uts/email_accounts/macid.html As a returning student next year you will not need to activate your MAC ID. Simply follow the guidelines for “Enabling your MAC ID Services” each year.


Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct (SCC) exists to promote the safety and security of all students in the McMaster Community and to encourage respect for others, their property and the McMaster campus. McMaster University is a community dedicated to furthering learning, intellectual inquiry, the dissemination of knowledge and personal aqnd professional development. Membership in this community implies acceptance of the principle mutual respect for the rights, responsibilities, dignity, and well being of others and a readiness to support an environment conductive to the intellectual and personal growth of all who study, work and live within it. It is up to everyone to make McMaster a positive and productive place in which to live, work and learn! All students are responsible for reading, understanding and upholding expectations outlined in the SCC. When students’ behaviour falls below those expectations, and also defines the procedures to be followed to address student conduct in the community.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

1. You retain your rights as a citizen when you become a member of the University

I mportant R esources 2. 3. 4. 5.

community. You have the responsibility to abide by all federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations in addition to the University’s own policies. You have the right to participate unhindered in academic study. You have the responsibility to respect the rights of others to the same participation by refraining from actions that threaten or disrupt any activity on campus. You have the right to the safety and security of your person in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, discrimination or assault. You have the responsibility to treat others with respect. You have the right to the safety and security of your personal property. You have the responsibility to refrain from acts of theft, destruction or vandalism of the property of others. You have the right to free and peaceful use of University property, grounds and facilities for legitimate purposes. You have the responsibility to respect and maintain the integrity of such property, so it may be equally available to others. The SCC outlines the limits of conduct for all students of McMaster University who also have responsibility for their guests. The code also defines the procedures to be followed when students fail to meet the accepted standards.

Examples of Sanctions

The following are examples of sanctions which may be used independently or in combination depending on the particular circumstances of the behaviour under consideration: • • • • •

Written or Oral Apologies Community Service Educational Sanctions (Workshops, Essays, Apology Letters, Reflective Activities) Fines Behavioural Bonds

• • •

Persona Non Grata (-PNG) Status Suspension Expulsion

Examples of SCC Violations:

Minor Violations: • • • • • • •

Making excessive noise Verbal communication that is intimidating or degrading Smoking in a non-designated area Disruptive behaviour (in or out of class) Failing to comply with SCC sanctions Unauthorized entry to a University building Conspiring in any prohibited conduct

Major Violations: • • • • • • • •

Drinking underage Possessing, using or trafficking illegal drugs Failing to comply with directions from a McMaster University official Misusing any kind of identification card, credit card, meal card or password theft Harassment towards another individual or group Intimidating, offensive or threatening behaviour Damage to property Disruptive behaviour (in or out of class)

For more information on how student conduct is addressed on campus and the SCC appeal process, please visit the website for the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at: process.html


I mportant R esources Transportation

Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) The Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) is the transit system that serves the greater Hamilton area, including Dundas, Ancaster, and Westdale. As a full –time student at McMaster, you receive a bus pass included in your student fees. The U-Pass can be used during the academic year, and allows for unlimited travel by bus. If you are not a full-time student and wish to take the HSR, you can pay using cash fare which is $2.55 per ride. A strip of 5 tickets costs $10.00, a day pass costs $9.00 and a monthly pass costs $87.00. You can purchase tickets for the HSR at the Compass Information Centre located in the McMaster Student Centre. For more information please visit: h t t p : / / w w w. m y h a m i l t o n . c a / m y h a m i l t o n / CityandGovernment/CityServices/transit

GO Transit Hamilton is part of the GO Transit system and there are two main service stops in Hamilton: The Hamilton GO Centre is located at 36 Hunter St. East, which is at the intersection of James St. and Hunter Street East. The other is here at McMaster located between Mary E. Keyes residence and Thode Library. There are also bus stops at King Street West & Dundurn Street and Main Street West & Longwood Road. GO Transit is an economical and environmentally-friendly way to travel home and to other locations in Ontario. GO Transit is commonly used by people commuting to McMaster. The Compass Information Centre, located in the Student Centre, sells GO tickets and passes, and can provide information about schedules and how to get the GO Student ID Card. GO Transit offers student discounts of approximately 10% to 30% on the adult 10-ride ticket price and


I mportant R esources adult monthly passes with a valid identification. Full-time undergraduate and graduate students, whose validation sticker possesses the “HSR” section, can use their McMaster Student ID card to demonstrate eligibility for GO Transit student tickets and monthly passes. Part-time students are not eligible for GO student discounts. Full-time students, whose validation sticker does not possess the ‘HSR’ section, must proceed with the application process described on: http://www. For bus and train schedules visit:

Parking If you will be commuting to campus by car for your classes, you will need to park your vehicle. Students normally park in lots further from campus as the rates are lower, and can board a shuttle bus that conveniently transports you to main campus. When bringing a vehicle on to campus, you may choose to pay the daily rate or you can apply for a longerterm pass. For more information, please visit:

Rideshare A partnership between the McMaster Student Union (MSU) and the All-Modes Commuting and Transportation Office (ACT) has resulted in a ride-sharing program. Rideshare allows drivers and passengers to find each other in an effort to carpool. If you would like more information check out their website: html


Chapter Six

S ecurity S ervices

Security Services McMaster Security Services:

The primary responsibility for protection of persons and property within the McMaster community is assigned to Security Services. Methods and approaches to assist in achieving a safe and secure environment are developed through prevention programs and law enforcement in concert with the community. Security Services endeavors to preserve and maintain an environment where diverse social, cultural and academic values are allowed to develop and prosper. Source:

Stop Locks Info

plates are installed on your electronic device which act as a deterrent and facilitate the recovery of your property if stolen. The plate that is installed creates a chemically bonded-tattoo stating “STOLEN PROPERTY� if the lock plate is ever removed. This makes it difficult for the thief to sell. There are different-sized plates available to fit all sizes of electronics (laptops to MP3 players). This is a great crime prevention tool for laptops. The locks and plates are available for purchase at the Compass Information desk. More information is available at: html

Personal Safety

Your personal safety is McMaster University Security Services’ number one priority. We have Stop Locks is an anti-theft and recovery program numerous personal safety devices on campus such as designed for electronic devices. Identification CCTV cameras, Campus Emergency Phone, on


S ecurity S ervices campus “dial 88” feature from any campus phone, and direct lines to Security are located on every payphone on campus. SWHAT (Student Walk Home Attendant Team) is available from dusk until 1:00 a.m. daily to walk anyone within a 30 minute radius of the campus. The team will even wait with you for a bus. If SWHAT is off duty, Special Constables from Security will provide escorts if they are available.

through Hamilton Police Service and have Peace Officer powers of authority while on campus. Constables respond to a wide range of incidents throughout the year; including all medical emergencies, fire alarms, thefts, and alcohol infractions, just to name a few. Constables are always available to provide assistance to the campus community.

On the Street: • • • • • • • • • •

Use SWHAT when walking alone at night. Walk in groups for safety sake. Avoid dark and deserted areas. Be aware of alternate routes and safe places. Plan your route. Avoid shortcuts through the dark, untravelled areas. Take the most direct, frequently travelled route. Be alert. Walk with confidence. Familiarize yourself with locations of the campus emergency/assistance phones. Walk near curb, away from shrubs. If you think you are being followed, go to the nearest public place. Let people know where you will be, and what time to expect you.

In Residence: • • • • •

Always lock your door, even if you’re just leaving for a minute. Question strangers in residence and call Security if they don’t belong. Make sure your buidling door closes behind you—stop tailgaters—don’t let in strangers, all authorized people have access cards. Inventory your property. Record all serial numbers. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in your room.

Description of the Security Services and Duties The Security Services office is located in the E.T. Clarke Centre. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Officers are sworn in as Special Constables


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Chapter Seven S ervices



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Student Success Centre McMaster University, Student Affairs, is excited to announce the opening of a new Student Success Centre opening August 6, 2010. This Centre will integrate several important student services into a onestop hub and allow McMaster to better help, advise and guide students. a The new Success Centre will support students from the time they consider McMaster and accept their offer to attend, through their years at the University as they make choices, deal with issues and improve skills that will prepare them for future success upon graduation. Several student services previously found in various campus locations, including Career Services, the First Year Experience Office, Community Service Learning and Civic Engagement, along with other related Student Affairs partners, will be brought together in one central spot. The plan allows Student Affairs to build on its strengths, while integrating services and focusing on student success and enhanced experiences. It will also improve student accessibility and offer services in a more convenient and user-friendly way, making new investments in technology to better deliver services .

What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose. ~ Margaret Thatcher

Staff in the Centre will develop orientation programs, assist students with academic transition and preparedness at all levels, provide leadership/experiential development opportunities, deliver service learning and volunteer experiences (both locally and abroad), and offer career and employment services, including career groups, workshops and working abroad opportunities. Programs that experience high student demand will be expanded and enhanced, including those in the areas of volunteerism, civic engagement and international studies. The Student Success Centre will be located in Gilmour Hall 110 and contact/web information is being developed.


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Office of Academic Integrity:

The office of Academic Integrity strives to assist instructors and students with issues of academic integrity. The main purpose is to encourage and facilitate the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship. Source:

Campus Health Centre:

The Campus Health Centre suggests that you will have a better McMaster experience if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. They can enhance your academic success by providing a wide range of health services, with a staff of 35 health care professionals, including physicians, registered nurses and administrative staff. Source:

Center for Student Development:

The Centre for Student Development is a resource for all McMaster students. It offers services in several main areas such as personal counselling, academic skills, services for students with disabilities, international student services, leadership programs, peer helper programs and many more. Source:

First Year Experience Office:

The First Year Experience Office (FYEO) assists first year students by providing programs and events which ensure the transition from high school is not difficult and overwhelming.Programs such as the Summer Orientation Program, Welcome Day, Welcome Week, and the First Generation Program are some services that help new students adjust. Thus, the First Year Experience Office creates opportunities for student engagement which promote learning and development, leading to the successful integration into the McMaster community. Source:

Housing and Conference Services:

Housing & Conference Services strives to assist you to meet your academic and personal goals in an environment that encourages and supports excellence. As a department of Student Affairs, they try to meet the varied needs of the student by providing an intellectual and social community conducive to the pursuit of academic study. They deal with residence room assignment, movein, roommates, safety, community building and offer plenty of university involvement opportunities. Source:

The Office of Human Rights and Equity Services (HRES):

HRES is a service that is available to all McMaster Students, Staff and Faculty members. HRES is responsible for the University’s Sexual Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy. The focus is on human rights-related issues and they provide confidential advice and options. Source:

The McMaster Alumni Association:


The McMaster Alumni Association provides resources for life at McMaster, but is focused on life after graduation. One such program, Life After Mac is designed to help students think about the next stage in their lives. The McMaster Alumni Association also organizes Mission to Mac, a program for incoming first

S ervices year students where students and recent grads travel to other cities in Ontario, Canada and other countries to help ease the transition into University life. Source:

McMaster Association of Part-Time Students (MAPS):

The McMaster Association of Part-Time Students (MAPS) was established in 1979 to represent the interests of undergraduate part-time degree students and certificate/diploma students. All degree students enrolled in 17 or fewer units and all CCE students (regardless of course load) are members of MAPS. MAPS represents the needs and concerns of part-time students within various academic and administrative committees and lobbies for increased course availability and accessibility. Source: maps


McMaster macADMIT is a quick and easy way to get answers to important questions about admission. It has been designed to assist students to find information on admission requirements, programs, procedures and much more. Source:

McMaster Intramurals:

The Intramural program at McMaster is designed to provide participants with a recreational activity to play a variety of organized sports, catering to many different skill levels. Structured leagues and tournaments are offered throughout the school year onco-ed or single-sex teams. Time commitment is one or two hours a week and costs are $5-$15 for each player. Source: index.htm

McMaster Libraries:

To be successful in university it is important to make use of the university resources especially the Libraries. There are 4 libraries on the McMaster campus,


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Mills (Social Sciences and Humanities), Innis (Business), Thode (Science and Engineering) and Health Sciences, all of these libraries offer plenty of help to assist you with your library needs. Source:http://library.mcmaster. ca/hours-info

Ombuds Office:

Need a little help solving a university-related problem? Not having much luck using the channels outlined in your handbook? Never fear—the Ombuds Office is here to help. Ombuds is a joint service between the university and the MSU and is dedicated to ensuring all students, faculty and staff receive fair and equitable treatment. These services are kept, to the extent possible, confidential and will not always be biased towards supporting the university in disputes. For more information on the Ombuds Office, please phone extension 24151 or visit the office in Room 210, of the McMaster University Student Centre. Source:

MSU (McMaster Students Union): What is the MSU?

The McMaster Students Union is the largest student organization on campus. All full-time undergraduate students at McMaster University are members of the MSU. What does the MSU do for you? The MSU serves students in two main areas: political representation and the enhancement of student life.


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We provide political representation and advocate for decisions that are in students’ best intersts at the university, municipal, provincial and federal levels. We also offer many of the student services that you will use during your time at McMaster. You might get to know us through Welcome Week and our Campus Events department, visitng the Compass Information Centre, having Lunch at TwelvEighty, listening to CFMU 93.3 FM, volunteering with more than 15 distinct student services or through over 275 clubs on campus. You may even come and work for us. The MSU employs more than 350 students each year to run committees, student services and work at our businesses, such as the Union Market convenience store, or Underground Media & Design. We also provide health and dental plan coverage and a universal bus pass with the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) bus pass program. As a member of the MSU, you have a student run organization at your disposal to help you through the challenges, provide services and protect your interests within and outside the walls of McMaster.

Emergency First Response Team (EFRT):

EFRT is a part of the McMaster Students Union (MSU) and is a group of highly trained student volunteers who respond to all medical emergencies on campus, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In an emergency, dial “88” from any campus phone to dispatch the team. For info on first aid courses or to join the team, visit the EFRT website at, or call our non-emergency line at ext. 24117.

Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards:

Student Conduct and Community Standards contributes to the University’s work to create and enhance the ethical environment of the campus community by addressing behavioural expectations for student civility and personal conduct. They work with others in Student Affairs, student groups and the broader University communityto educate students through the development of campus community For more information, as well as a complete list standards and the implementation of a fair and efficient of our business, services and volunteer opportunities, process for addressing student conduct. please visit: or contact one Source: of our representatives: MSU President, Mary Koziol ext. 23885 VP (Administration), John McIntyre ext. 23250 VP (Finance), Nick Shorten ext. 24109 VP (Education), Joe Finkle ext. 24107


University Technology Services:

University Technology Services (UTS) was created in 2005 to achieve one stop client service and integrated processes. The transformation to a high performance organization focusing on service excellence, quality project delivery, and value-added services is in progress. University Technology Services includes - application services, client services, enterprise networks, enterprise systems and project management. Source:

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Compass Information Centre:

Located in the Student Centre Marketplace, Compass is an MSU service and provides a central location to get and give information, including a variety of brochures, pamphlets and transportation schedules. Friendly staff are available to answer general inquiries regarding services provided by the MSU, the University and the McMaster community. We are also your oncampus location to purchase tickets for most major bus and train companies and more. Contact us at ext. 21000, or stop by the desk to see what we have to offer. For updates, event listings and more, check out our website at:

Pulse Memberships:

A Pulse membership allows members to take advantage of the various fitness and aerobics classes run by the Pulse and its staff. Source: pulse.htm

Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT):

You don’t ever have to walk home alone at night thanks to these volunteers who will escort you anywhere on campus and to many nearby places off-campus. All campus phones have a free direct line to SWHAT. Volunteers are always welcome. We are located on the second floor of the Student Centre and can be reached at ext. 27500.

Off-Campus Resource Centre:

The OCRC serves primarily as a rental listing service for landlords, but also has a variety of housingrelated resources for students and others visiting McMaster on a temporary basis. Source:

Student Financial Aid & Scholarships:

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships (SFAS) invests in student success through the delivery of government and University financial aid and scholarship programs. Student loans (e.g. OSAP), bursaries, academic grants and work programs assist students who demonstrate financial need. Scholarships are granted in recognition of a student’s academic achievement. For information on programs, budgeting strategies, tips and more, visit the SFAS website at http://


Thank that you to Titles Bookstore S ervices S upport S tudent S uccess for their generous gift donation!

everyone’s appetites, Hospitality Services has exactly what you need to make your food experiences delightful! For additional information on meal plans, dining facilities, daily/weekly menus and special promotions, visit our website:

Titles Bookstore: Titles is the on campus bookstore, which provides students with textbooks, course materials and much more. Not only does Titles carry books but it also carries stationary, computer software and parts, clothing and McMaster paraphernalia. Source:

McMaster Hospitality Services: As an independent department, McMaster Hospitality Services is committed to providing students with healthy, delectable and savory food. Vegetarian choices, international food menus, nutritious options, as well as quick snacks and made-to-order entrees are offered to accommodate to the diversity of student needs. Our objective is to make your dining experience enjoyable and fulfilling with high quality food services, variety and supreme value. You can find an array of entrees around campus and excellent promotions with exhilarating themes and events. A relaxing dining atmosphere including a big screen TV, areas of socialization or calmness, and a spectacular view welcome everyone. La Piazza, located at the hub of McMaster University Student Centre, encapsulates the essence of campus dining and student activity. Hospitality Services presents you with the convenience of our excellent Mac Express Meal Plans that relieve you from the burden of having cash on hand and also save you up to 13% on your purchases. Not only do you have access to a multiplicity of food choices on campus, but you can also enjoy the services of several local off-campus restaurants. With eighteen dining locations on campus supplying a selection to satisfy


Athletics & Recreation: Athletics and Recreation strives to enhance the student experience and the McMaster community through engagement in their many programs and services. These services are built on a foundation of physical activity, health, wellness and sport. Source:

S ervices

Office of Sustainability: The Office of Sustainability has been developed to better manage all aspects of university functioning in terms of sustainability. This office supports and encourages staff, faculty and students to join in and help create a sustainable culture at McMaster. ­Source:

International Student Services: International Student Services aims to provide core services and programs for international students. ISS also provides information to students at McMaster on a range of options from independent study and externally sponsored programmes, to summer session and McMaster’s formal student exchange programmes as well as opportunities to work and study abroad. Source:


S upport S tudent S uccess

Chaplaincy Centre: The Chaplaincy Centre has an open door policy and offers responsive pastoral support to the whole community with personal counselling, bereavement support groups, public memorial services, and participation in other McMaster University networks and programs. Source:

Office of the Registrar:

The Registrar’s office at McMaster provides students with services such as recruitment, admissions, registration, exam information and course registration. Source:

Office of Human Rights and Equity Services: The Office of Human Rights & Equity Services is a service that is available to all McMaster students, staff and faculty members. We are responsible for the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and AntiDiscrimination Policy. Our focus is on human rightsrelated issues. We provide a listening ear and confidential advice on the options available if, for instance, you have a question or concern that may involve harassment based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other human-rights related concerns. You can approach us in confidence or even anonymously. Source:


A.N. Bourns Science Building .. 25 Alumni Memorial Building........... 8 Applied Dynamics Laboratory .. 33 Bates Residence......................... 40 Biology Greenhouse................... 30 Brandon Hall................................ 36 Burke Sciences Building ........... 11 Campus Services Building ........ 31 Chester New Hall........................ 23 Clarke Centre............................... 12 Commons Building...................... 28 Communications Research Laboratory.................................... 43

Campus Buildings Index

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David Braley Athletic Centre .... 54 Divinity College............................ 17 Dramatic Arts Workshop .........T18 Edwards Hall.................................. 5 General Sciences Building........ 22 Gilmour Hall ................................. 20 H.G. Thode Library ...................... 42 Hamilton Hall ................................. 2 Health Sciences Complex ......... 37 Health Sciences Complex Parking Structure........................ 44 Hedden Hall ................................. 45

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Parking Lot Location




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Information Technology Centre (ITC).................................. 49 Institute for Applied Health Sciences.......................... 48 Ivor Wynne Centre...................... 24 John Hodgins Engineering Building .................. 16 Kenneth Taylor Hall..................... 38 Les Prince Hall ............................ 53 Life Sciences Building ............... 39 Mary Keyes Residence.............. 50 Matthews Hall ............................. 26 McKay Hall................................... 27


McMaster University Student Centre ............................ 51 Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery....... 52 Michael G. DeGroote School of Business..................... 46 Mills Memorial Library/Museum of Art............... 10 Moulton Hall ................................ 18 New Engineering Building......... 56 Nuclear Reactor.......................... 15 Nuclear Research Building......... 9 Prelim Laboratory .....................T13 President's Residence ................. 7







Psychology Building................... 34 Refectory........................................ 4 Ron V. Joyce Stadium................. 55 Scourge Laboratory..................T26 Tandem Accelerator................... 32 Temporary Building...................T28 Temporary Building...................T29 Togo Salmon Hall ........................ 29 University Hall ............................... 1 Wallingford Hall............................. 6 Wentworth House....................... 21 Whidden Hall ............................... 19 Woodstock Hall ........................... 35











































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Student Affairs

Student Success Centre McMaster University Gilmour Hall 110 905-525-9140 ext. 24254

Student Success Guide 2010  
Student Success Guide 2010  

The Student Success Guide is the annual publication distributed to first year students that gives information, advice and tips on making the...