Advice to First-Year Students from Professors


Our professors are exceptional—they’re experts in their fields, and they truly care about your success as a student. Ask, and most current St. Thomas students will tell you the ability to connect with professors, meet with them one-on-one, and build relationships that last beyond your time on campus—and into reference letters and post-graduate career advice —is one of the biggest opportunities at this small university.
Your time at university is an exciting opportunity to learn as much as possible about yourself (what you like, what you don’t like), guided by specialists in many different subjects. Use this opportunity wisely, and don’t be afraid to try new things.” – Dr. Martin Kutnowski, Fine Arts
Go to class and be engaged. Turn your phone off and put it away. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Don’t get behind because you’re afraid to speak to professors. It’s our job to make sure you understand. If you attend classes, we will be happy to help you. Finally, when you’re assigned a written project, go to the Writing Centre for advice.” – Dr. Amanda DiPaolo, Human Rights
You may not know that we really want to get to know our students. We enjoy mentoring. We love to talk about books and ideas with you. At a small university like STU, professors have open-door policies. If you have a question about an assignment or courses, you should always talk to your professor about it. We’re here to help.” – Dr. Andrew Moore, Great Books
Have a calendar, and write everything in it. Keep a version of it on your wall. Find a faculty mentor you can go to for academic advice. Finally, divide your days into three parts: 8 hours to study/work, 8 hours to sleep, and 8 hours to live your life.” – Dr. Gül Çaliskan, Sociology
It’s important to take on various challenges (e.g. raising your hand and asking questions in class) while reinforcing your efforts through your favourite activities. The adage, ‘business before enjoyment’ is relevant here. This will help maintain your academic work while helping to keep balance in your life.” – Dr. David Korotkov, Psychology
Eat regularly, get lots of sleep, have fun, and if at all possible, try not to take a part-time job for more than 10 hours a week. This is your time to study and learn, and you need to be able to concentrate in order to make the most of it.” – Dr. Julia Torrie, History

The most important part of completing any long project is to break it into small, digestible pieces. Any task can be accomplished so long as you make it manageable. Accomplishing things is rewarding in itself. At some point, you find yourself wanting to do things in order to get that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task.” – Dr. Shaun Narine, Political Science