2017: A Year in Review

Here we are, with the flurries and icy weather of 2017 behind us and… the flurries and icy weather of 2018 ahead. Yeah, so the weather’s been tough lately, and I think a fire, a blanket, and a cup of something hot is really what we all need right now. Unfortunately, as your resident writer, I’m going to give you a reality check, and what better way for you to cash that check in the wintery months of the New Year than with a countdown article? So here it is, a countdown of my best advice from 2017 for you to take into 2018!

#5: Editing Strategies for Professional Writing

I began 2017 with one of my favourites: Editing strategies. I know, it’s not everyone’s favourite topic, but the grammar nerd in me revels at editing. I broke down editing into a sort-of rubric-like list, consisting of task completion, continuity, vocabulary/tone, and grammar range, going from the big problems to the little ones. The point to this one was to get you thinking about editing in terms of rubrics—what your teacher uses to grade you. If you know your rubric well, you can effectively edit any paper. Most rubrics, I would say, are organized similar to the one I have outlined for you, with the four different categories, but some may be different. It’s important to ask your teacher for the grading rubric before handing in your assignment so you can ensure your assignment meets the criteria in the rubric. It’s a fail-safe way for you to edit your papers.

#4: The Three Worst Things to Do After High School

With your high school diploma clenched in your hand, you feel ready to take on the world. But! There are some common mistakes that new graduates make that I addressed in March’s article last year. And they were, in order of most-to-least important, travelling on debt, selecting the wrong major right out of high school, and sticking with the wrong program. In the article, I highly recommended a gap year after high school so you could save money and travel (debt free). Along with the life experience you gain during the year off, you have a better idea of what your interests are, making the decision of selecting the correct major easier. Check out the full article for more info. There’s some great stuff in there!

#3: Maximizing your Tutoring Time

I liked this one. It separated the roles of parents and students. Obviously, each has a separate role when it comes to maximizing tutoring time. For parents, it’s not enough to bring in a tutor when your kid’s grades suffering. No, it’s about identifying interests and long-term goals for success, something that teenagers have trouble doing, and then identifying where the deficiencies are. For students, it’s all about prepping for that precious one-on-one time with the tutor. Sending reading lists, preparing materials, and seizing the opportunity are all integral to maximizing that time. Students need to give tutors time to prepare for the sessions, and that means students need to be prepared, too. Just remember, parents and students, the tutor is there to help complete short-term goals in order to fulfil much bigger, more important long-term ones.

# 2: Scheduling your First Year of University

Another one of my faves. There is some really practical advice in here, including advice on whether or not to take morning and evening classes. Whereas evening classes—for me—were a win, morning classes were hit-and-miss. Another topic of conversation was how many classes to take during your first semester. Overloading yourself that first year is torture, and you could wind up taking a hit on your GPA… or worse, you could take a hit on your wallet and withdraw from a class, saving your GPA but sacrificing the 500 bucks you might as well have flushed down the toilet. Sadly, I believe some of the info in this article is a bit dated now; there is no “Open Studies” in Mount Royal University anymore; now, you have to select a program immediately. I suppose that makes my article about bad decisions after high school even more important.

#1: When a Tutor is Needed

Another great article, if I do say so myself. Here, I detail when to get a tutor, which is quite different than my previous article on how to maximize your tutoring time. Most notable in this article is getting a tutor when communication between parents and children becomes strained, especially communication about academic performance. It’s a sensitive conversation to have with kids. Another notable topic in here is for parents to determine whether their kids’ problems were behavioural or application issues. Behavioural issues are about motivation and determination, hard work, and interest, or the lack thereof. These can be difficult to address due to their sensitive nature; no child or teenager likes having their lack of motivation addressed. Most often, these issues can be solved with good goal-setting. On the other hand, maybe your child is having issues applying skills taught in class. Tutors can step in and help these problems easily. But, parents, make sure you know what your child’s needs and/or problems are before hiring a tutor.

So there you have it. In true New Year’s style, here are my top five articles for the year. I’ve only highlighted five articles in this countdown, and while these are my personal favourites, all the articles found on the blog have some great advice for both parents and students. Take a look through the archives and see if there’s one that resonates with your current situation. I’ve had a great year writing for the Calgary Tutoring Centre, and hopefully you’ve found something useful on here. Bundle up this winter and, last but not least, all the best for your new year!