Smart Start Events

Whether you are new to campus or you've been here for years, September on campus is an exciting time. You have started your classes and might be wondering how to boost your study habits or your writing skills. We're here to help.

smart start

The University Learning Centre offers Smart Start, a week long series of academic workshops in these areas:

  • study skills
  • writing help
  • technology help
  • graduate student help

Our series of free 50-minute workshops is aimed to set you in the right direction.  At each workshop that you attend, you will be entered to win 1 of 6 gift certificates from the U of S Bookstore.  Daily prizes are worth $50 and the grand prize is worth $250!

We are still adding more Smart Start workshops, so please check this page frequently for updates. We also offer other workshops throughout the fall and winter terms. Please take a look at our Workshops Overview page to see other helpful workshops taking place throughout the term.

Questions?

Email us at smartstart@usask.ca. If you are new to the U of S, visit www.usask.ca/ulc/newstudent for great resources and tip from other students, including a Frequently Asked Questions section.

If you are an instructor who would like to show this event to your students, please download our PowerPoint slide.  *Thank you!

Sep
Mon
22

Creating an Effective Writing Process

Smart Start Event with Leanne J.
11:30 AM to 12:20 PM

MURRAY G3

This workshop focuses on discovering and improving your writing process.  Leanne, the workshop facilitator, will also share tips for getting started on your research paper and essay assignments.
Sep
Mon
22

What's Different about Writing University Exams?

Smart Start Event with Anika M.
12:30 PM to 1:20 PM

MURRAY 102

Join Study Skills Peer Mentor Anika in this workshop to learn some tips and strategies to prepare for and write university exams.
Sep
Mon
22

Getting From First Day to Graduation: terms and resources you need to know

Smart Start Event with Desirée Steele, USSU
1:30 PM to 2:20 PM

MURRAY 145

In this 50-minute workshop, hot chocolate will be provided as Desirée helps you become familiar with much of the terminology you’ll need to know to advance through your degree. This will also be an opportunity to learn about what the VP Academic, and the other executive members of the USSU, can do for you.
Sep
Mon
22

Introduction of R (Statistical Software)

Smart Start Event with Shane Q., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
2:00 PM to 2:50 PM

Agric 2D15

Basic level of R programming. R is a statistical software program. Knowledge of R modelling is an asset.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Introduce R basic features. (What is R?)
  • Advantages of R
  • Installation and basic operation
  • What else can R do?
Sep
Mon
22

Stress Less During Exams

Smart Start Event with Katrina H., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY G3

With exams right around the corner, stress and anxiety are at its peak! Join Study Skills Peer Mentor Kat with some tips on writing exams and managing exam anxiety.
Sep
Mon
22

Stress Management in Grad School

Smart Start Event with Kumkum A., Peer Mentor, PAL Program, Graduate Studies
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 145

In this workshop Grad Help peer mentor, Kumkum, will be discussing stress in grad school. She will be looking at the difference between good stress and bad stress and strategies for deal with the latter. This workshop will be of interest to all grad students, undergraduate students are welcome.
Sep
Mon
22

All You Need to Know About the PAWS Portal

Smart Start Event with Jerry W., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
3:30 PM to 4:20 PM

MURRAY 145

In this session we’ll explore the PAWS interface and important functions as well as services that will help any student master the PAWS portal.

Objectives:

  • Navigation of the essentials in the PAWS portal
  • Explore important services provided within PAWS (i.e. My Files)
  • Email and using the calendar within PAWS
  • More PAWS features as time permit
Sep
Tue
23

Utilizing Cloud Technologies in Your Studies

Smart Start Event with Dmitriy C., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
1:00 PM to 1:50 PM

MURRAY 145

The workshop gives an introduction to the cloud technologies that are available and application scenarios for use within your studies.

Objectives:

  • You will learn how to use university \\cabinet.usask.ca to store your work;
  • You will get an introduction to different cloud services;
  • You will learn principles for collaboration using cloud services.
Sep
Tue
23

Grammar Fundamentals: Working with Clauses and the Four Types of Sentences

Smart Start Event with Matthew D., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
1:15 PM to 2:05 PM

MURRAY 102

This 50-minute, hands-on workshop will first introduce students to independent and dependent clauses. We will use this as a basis for an understanding of the four types of sentences and how sentence variety can strengthen our writing. The workshop will have value as an introduction, or as a refresher of these concepts.
Sep
Tue
23

Capitalizing on Classes by Studying for your Learning Style

Smart Start Event with Stefanie L., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 145

Attend this workshop to learn about what a learning style is, determine your preferred ways of learning, and look at various ways/methods you can use to improve your studies.
Sep
Tue
23

Writing a Strong Thesis Statement

Smart Start Event with Danielle M., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
2:45 PM to 3:35 PM

MURRAY 102

In this hands-on workshop, we will define what a thesis statement is, differentiate between strong and weak thesis statements. Whether you are a beginner or a pro in thesis-statement writing, this is a great workshop for refreshing your memory if it has been awhile since you've written an essay.
Sep
Tue
23

Capitalizing on Classes by Studying for your Learning Style

Smart Start Event with Stefanie L., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
4:00 PM to 4:50 PM

MURRAY 145

Attend this workshop to learn about what a learning style is, determine your preferred ways of learning, and look at various ways/methods you can use to improve your studies. 
Sep
Wed
24

Scholarly Sources - Where to Find Them and How to Cite Them

Smart Start Event with Kari D.
10:30 AM to 11:20 AM

MURRAY G3

This workshop gives a brief introduction to finding and citing sources in university papers. Topics include how to incorporate direct quotes into a paragraph and how to paraphrase and summarize.  There will be a brief discussion of APA vs. MLA styles as they apply to citing within text.
Sep
Wed
24

Avoiding Common Grammatical and Stylistic Mistakes

Smart Start Event with Maryann S., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
11:30 AM to 12:20 PM

MURRAY G3

Learn about some of the most common grammatical, stylistic, and punctuation errors and how to avoid them.
Sep
Wed
24

Effective Note-Taking

Smart Start Event with Stephanie P.
12:30 PM to 1:20 PM

MURRAY 145

This workshop will be centred around note-taking techniques - hand written vs. on your laptop, and Cornell notes. Stephanie, the workshop facilitator, will also spend some time sharing tips on how to pick out the most important information from lectures and textbooks.
Sep
Wed
24

How Writing is Different in University

Smart Start Event with Kari D.
1:30 PM to 2:20 PM

MURRAY G3

New to university writing assignments? Attend this workshop to learn about the key differences between university and high school writing. This workshop will focus specifically on thesis statements, purpose, and organization.
Sep
Wed
24

Reading Articles in Grad School

Smart Start Event with Stacy Y., Peer Mentor, PAL Program, Graduate Studies
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 145

Grad students read a lot of research articles. How do you choose the high quality articles among all of those that seem relevant? How do you read them effectively and remember what you read? And how do you take notes when reading research articles? During this workshop Grad Help peer mentor, Stacy, will share her experiences with reading articles in the Engineering field. This workshop is suitable for graduate students at al levels but especially new graduate students.
Sep
Wed
24

Introduction to Writing English Essays

Smart Start Event with Devin Ens
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY G3

Join English graduate student Devin Ens, also a Writing Centre tutor, as he walks you through how to write an excellent English essay.
Sep
Thu
25

Introduction to Microsoft Excel: Padawan Training

Smart Start Event with Marion P., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
11:00 AM to 11:50 AM

MURRAY 102

Do you have to use Excel in a class?  Is the program a series of terrifying little boxes and confusing buttons?  Come and learn how to use Excel in a way that will make assignments easier and less stressful.  We will cover the basics of this program so that when you open it up, it is a magical tool and not a scary roadblock.

In this session I will discuss:

  • the basic layout of Excel and its various buttons
  • its most common uses
  • basic calculations in the program
Sep
Thu
25

Working by the clock

Smart Start Event with Victoria E., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
1:00 PM to 1:50 PM

MURRAY G3

Time management is the intentional control and management of one's time. Come to this workshop to learn about creating term schedules, maintaining balance, and dealing with procrastination.
Sep
Thu
25

Writing a Strong Thesis Statement

Smart Start Event with Danielle M., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
1:00 PM to 1:50 PM

MURRAY 102

In this hands-on workshop, we will define what a thesis statement is, differentiate between strong and weak thesis statements. Whether you are a beginner or a pro in thesis-statement writing, this is a great workshop for refreshing your memory if it has been awhile since you've written an essay.
Sep
Thu
25

Grammar Fundamentals: Working with Clauses and the Four Types of Sentences

Smart Start Event with Matthew D., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
1:15 PM to 2:05 PM

MURRAY 145

This one-hour, hands-on workshop will first introduce students to independent and dependent clauses. We will use this as a basis for an understanding of the four types of sentences and how sentence variety can strengthen our writing. The workshop will have value as an introduction, or as a refresher of these concepts.
Sep
Thu
25

Getting Started at University for Mature Students

Smart Start Event with Jeff B.
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 102

Are you a mature student? Sign up for this interactive workshop to learn about services for students at the U of S and strategies for success. This workshop is intended for a mature audience : )
Sep
Thu
25

Effective Communication in Emails for Graduate Students

Smart Start Event with Cathy Q., Peer Mentor, PAL Program, Graduate Studies
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 145

Is your email communication with your professors and other researches as effective as it could be? Join Grad Help Peer Mentor Cathy and discuss common mistakes in writing emails that you may be taking for granted. This is open to all students but will be of most benefit for graduate students.
Sep
Thu
25

Student-Supervisor Relationships

Smart Start Event with Jenny G., Peer Mentor, PAL Program, Graduate Studies
3:30 PM to 4:20 PM

MURRAY 102

Are you unclear or nervous about the relationship between the grad student and their advisor or supervisor?  If so, this is the workshop for you!  We will discuss: keys to success in student-supervisor relationships; lessons learned by experienced grad students; your and your professor’s responsibilities; dealing with issues and how to report them; how professors are different from undergrad to grad school; and what your supervisor/advisor is and is not.  This workshop is intended for new master’s students but EVERYONE is welcome including undergrads and PhD students.
Sep
Thu
25

General Tips for Achieving Success in University

Smart Start Event with Zunaira J.
4:00 PM to 4:50 PM

MURRAY 145

Information provided will include (but is not limited to) giving general advice about being successful in university, tips on deciding and registering for classes, the importance of maintaining a balance between social, personal and academic life. Come and learn from a peer who has gone through a similar experience as you, who can relate.
Sep
Fri
26

Avoiding Common Grammatical and Stylistic Mistakes

Smart Start Event with Maryann S., Peer Mentor, PAL Program
12:30 PM to 1:20 PM

MURRAY 102

Learn about some of the most common grammatical, stylistic, and punctuation errors and how to avoid them.
Sep
Fri
26

General Tips for Achieving Success in University

Smart Start Event with Zunaira J.
1:30 PM to 2:20 PM

MURRAY 145

Information provided will include (but is not limited to) giving general advice about being successful in university, tips on deciding and registering for classes, the importance of maintaining a balance between social, personal and academic life. Come and learn from a peer who has gone through a similar experience as you, who can relate.
Sep
Fri
26

Creating an Effective Writing Process

Smart Start Event with Leanne J.
1:30 PM to 2:20 PM

MURRAY G3

This workshop focuses on discovering and improving your writing process.  Leanne, the workshop facilitator, will also share tips for getting started on your research paper and essay assignments.
Sep
Fri
26

Procrastination in Grad School

Smart Start Event with Kumkum A., Peer Mentor, PAL Program, Graduate Studies
2:30 PM to 3:20 PM

MURRAY 145

Did you get through undergrad without procrastinating? Have you been someone who always gets things in on time? Or, are you still dealing with a procrastination habit from undergrad? Join Grad Help peer mentor, Kumkum, to discuss how grad school procrastination is different from undergrad procrastination and discuss ways of dealing with, and avoiding, grad school procrastination. This workshop is open, and may be of interest, to all grad students. Undergraduate students are welcome.