Angela Cheng is in her first year of Accounting and Finance at the Ted Rogers School of Management, but she’s not new to the university environment. As a mature student, Angela comes to TRSM with a degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. This being her second time around at university, she is taking advantage of all that Ryerson’s bustling downtown campus has to offer. Here, in her own words, Angela tells us about what it’s like to come to TRSM as a mature student, the many supports and opportunities available, and her advice for those who are considering coming back to school.
Coming to School as a Mature Student
“Fortunately for me, the transition was not as difficult as I expected. Ryerson has a large mature student population and is very accepting. I did apply for other schools and none of them were willing to accept mature students. They said they were already full, no matter what grade standing you had in your previous program. I have been able to obtain transfer credits for courses that are relevant to what I’m taking at TRSM. Instead of completing the program in four or five years, I will complete the degree in three years.”
Opportunities to Get Involved
“There is a more supportive and collaborative environment at Ryerson. The faculty are more available and there are more events and networking opportunities. After getting actively involved in the Ryerson Accounting Society and looking at the Finance Society and investment group, I realized there is a lot going on here. It provides varied opportunities for different kinds of students to get involved and apply their knowledge and experience in an academic setting. The focus is on getting students to network with CPA professionals who have already worked in the industry, particularly those who graduated from Ryerson. We have a chance to talk with them and find out what they did at Ryerson to help them attain career success. It’s a really great opportunity for me to talk to them to find out what the future looks like for me.”
Mentoring and Support
“I signed up for Tri-Mentoring as a mentee. The purpose is to support the students, especially those who are in the thick of their midterm exams. And students who are stressed out or dealing with various transitions in their lives. So they’re there for me and I’m very appreciative. It’s very helpful. They have more events lined up during the midterm period since that’s when students need it the most. I am keeping pace and trying my best and so far it’s working.”
Strategies and the Right Mindset
“I know I don’t do math for fun, so I have to do the work first before other courses because it’s the most difficult and I know I need to allocate the most time. An important strategy is to know how much time you have available for the week and know what distracts you. It’s also about mindset. If you get an 80 percent on a test, it doesn’t mean that you’re an A student, it means there’s 20 percent of the knowledge that you’re missing. It’s really important to demonstrate you have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, which you’ll need for your job.”
“I’ve taken advantage of the math tutoring service run by Jack Koenka. He’s a really passionate guy and you can tell he really cares about student success and always welcomes any questions I have for him. That’s been helpful for me to point out the areas of weakness that I need to improve upon.”
Professors Make All the Difference
“The professors are available. They have discussion forums for students and really promote their office hours. They’re very inviting to students who come to them with questions. So even in larger classes, I don’t feel that I’m lost or intimidated, or insignificant.”
“My favourite class is Accounting. I have an exceptional professor: Else Grech. She cares about student success and teaches you critical thinking in addition to accounting concepts. She always starts with a question to get you to focus on why a particular concept is important. And because of this format, students have a better understanding of accounting, which could be very confusing. She’s crystal clear.”
“I also have Strategies for Success (BUS 100) with Professor David Schlanger. His classes are formatted as a one-hour lecture followed by a two-hour breakout session. The breakout sessions are divided among groups that turn it into a more intimate environment. His assignments are often very introspective and he wants to make sure you’ve thought about the strategies and assignments in order to achieve academic success. These are skills that can stay with you and ensure success throughout your career. He teaches time management, effective communication, to get you to be a well-rounded individual.”
Advice for Those Considering a Return to School
“Focus on developing the necessary skills and knowledge in the work you’re interested in, rather than the grade you’re going to get. This will help alleviate discouragement in students who want to perform academically but may be disappointed by their grades. I hope this perspective will help students not be overly anxious during midterms and exams and focus on what’s really important.”
Ready to pursue an Accounting degree in a connected and supportive environment? Check out the School of Accounting and Finance to learn more.
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