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Matthew Parsons wins FY general proficiency award

Matthew Parsons - Wedd's '16

Matthew Parsons – Wedd’s ’16

Matthew Parsons was one of several boarders recognized at the Annual Distribution of Prizes on Oct. 9 in Laidlaw Hall. The General Proficiency Prize is one of the most challenging to achieve because one needs to excel in all courses attempted. Matt took some time to let us know some of his “secrets to success.”

What course proved to be particularly challenging, while striving toward achieving General Proficiency? Can you provide some insight into your strategy for success when it comes to mastering a course that proves to be particularly challenging?

French was particularly challenging for me, due to my lack of exposure to the language. I lived in the Bahamas for a number of years before returning to Canada to go to school, so my French was lacking. The best thing you can do if you are having trouble is to search for help. Whether this is peer tutoring, a tutor, or asking your teacher for extra help, it is very important to stay on top of your tasks and ask when you do not understand something.

Is it possible for a General Proficiency Award winner to achieve academic and co-curricular balance? Does academic proficiency require you to spend all your time on homework and studying or are you able find time to pursue co-curricular interests?

As I think that I have demonstrated over my last year, being a General Proficiency Award winner does not mean that you have to spend all of your time studying. I played on three school sports teams. I went to the gym to play basketball almost every night, participated in other extracurricular activities and still maintained a high average. As long as you make use of the study time, you have time to pursue your interests and have fun.

Has academic success always come easily to you, or do you have some words of wisdom for peers and younger students that have not yet achieved General Proficiency?

Academic success has not always come easily to me. My advice is that you have to stay on top of your work, ask questions when you need help and make use of your time. If you do all your homework, ask questions and go to extra help sessions, General Proficiency is achievable for anybody.

Do you consider it to be a benefit, or does living in a house with 44 students provide lots of distractions that need to be overcome on the road to being generally proficient?

Although at times it can be a distraction, I see it as a benefit. Generally there is at least one other boarder in your class, so if you do not understand something, or miss a class, you can go ask for help. It is also useful to form study groups with other boarders. This is good for going over large concepts and asking questions when you do not understand something.