So you probably have an abundant amount of questions as you are graduating from your senior year in high school and entering your freshman year. This new journey that is about to begin will change your life forever. I went to both York University in Toronto, Ontario and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. So I have quite the bit of experience when it comes to college life. That excited feeling you are feeling right now…keep that! Post secondary is a time to learn about yourself and others. You make the friends who are going to be there forever during this period of your life. As much as I complained regularly about attending school, I still will forever miss it.
When I attended York I lived on campus for two years and off campus housing for one year. With Mohawk College, I lived right at home, saving my money and dignity from being tainted anymore. The amount of things I can talk about when it comes to your college life is abundant! I have come up with a list of things that pop up in my head from attending post-secondary. A lot of them come from my experience at York University. It is really different experiencing post secondary on campus versus off campus. I am so thankful I was able to live in on campus residences and experience that adventure.
TIPS FOR STUDENTS ENTERING THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR
Live in a residence your first year if you can.
This is something that I can not reiterate enough! If you are able to live on your campuses residence, you definitely should! It is a whole new experience and totally worth every penny. Residence events were always a good chance to build a solid friend group that turned into a family. They were definitely my favourite part of university. Being able to just finish my classes, attend a karaoke night and roll into bed right after. You never miss anything! Though some things are terrible about residence, the good definitely outweigh the bad. (Will do a new blog post with tips for residence – check back ASAP!).
Attend your freshman week!
My university calls it “Frosh Week.” I am not sure if that is universal but I do know that you need to attend it! All the nerves you are experiencing entering your new school will be squashed. This week will provide you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and just get to know your campus a lot better! The friends I got close with during my frosh week were friends I stayed close with throughout my years at University. You play little games all week throughout campus, you attend all the parties at night and you make memories you will never forget.
Here is a photo of my friends and I from frosh week dressed up for an event:
Do not buy your textbooks till after you attend your first class.
Something I deeply regretted really quick was buying my textbooks in a hurry before classes began. Sometimes your professors will change their mind or tell you it is not completely necessary to purchase one. Other times they will let you know there are copies available in the library. Instead of spending those hundreds of dollars on those heavy books, wait it out so you can save yourself some dollars. Honestly, I saved so much money on textbooks after I started doing this. I even began to wait a couple weeks to see if my professor ACTUALLY was going to use it or just said to buy it to get that cheque.
PUB NIGHTS ARE AMAZING. Do not miss them.
Seriously… pub nights were some of the best nights of my life. Then I started working in the pub that ran them and saved so much money! You are able to go out once a week with your friends right on campus. This will probably drain your wallet like it did mine. It will make you look like a complete alcoholic to anyone who views your bank statements. I recommend withdrawing cash out for these nights if your parents will view them. Seriously…you are going to look like you need help. The amount of times I have spent a ridiculous amount because I aced an exam and decided to buy everyone a shot. You meet people from other programs during these events too, which brings me to my next tip…
Broaden your horizon to more than just your program.
A lot of people tend to hangout with people in their program only. Although this will help you get help with homework and a study buddy, you definitely need to expand your friends! I definitely recommend having a core group of friends in your program you can rely on. However, have friends from all sorts of programs. You never know when you will need their skillset. I studied Theatre and met photographers, videographers, directors, etc from other programs. They all played a huge role in my life somehow. Hanging out with people outside of your program also will get you away from all that assignment and exam talk. You will notice really quickly that conversations with people in your class start to become about your class only. I started hanging out with law students, science students, etc. Totally worth it and recommend it!
If you live at home, make friends who live in residence.
You may live right by your campus or can not afford to live in the expensive residences. Do not worry! Make friends who live on residence and you will never have to miss any events. You can just crash whenever there are events you want to attend. This will totally help you stay immersed in the campus life. One of my closest friends lived off campus in university and she used to stay with me all the time. It was great cause I had a buddy to keep me entertained and she got to be involved in all the events.
Try to live in residence in second year too!
If you had a good experience with residence in your first year, I definitely recommend going for it in your second year too. At least in Canada. Our drinking age in Toronto is 19 so in your second year, you and everyone around you will be legal. This is going to be the year of the heaviest drinking you will probably have in your entire life. This year will make you question your existence a few times. As well, you may lose your dignity. You may be on residence when you lose that dignity. After all, what happens in residence, will probably be talked about until you graduate. Sorry not sorry. Live your life! I promise even your regrets will be funny.
Find a balance between work and play.
This will definitely take some time. Well, I mean, at least it did for me. It is really difficult to find that middle ground where you can go out regularly, yet still keep up with your studies. But you definitely will find it! Once you get into that schedule, your life will be easier. Your grades will be saved and your social status will be too. I do not recommend making your first years in university all about studying. The same way I do not recommend them to be about partying completely. You definitely want to enjoy your life as much as possible. These are your years to fully live your best life! Make the most of it. School comes first ALWAYS but a social life is extremely important as well. You will regret the things you do not do more than the ones you do!
Go home during your breaks if you can.
Go home as much as possible. That means every thanksgiving, Christmas, reading week, etc. just go home. Seriously make sure you get away sometimes. Do not stay on campus all the time even on breaks because you will go crazy. You need to remember where you came from. Plus, going home to visit your family (if you can) is so important and should be valued. Obviously, some live further away from their families and can not always visit. But if you can visit, do it!!!!! You need that away time just as much as you need to be on campus.
Get a hobby!
Find your passion and run with it. Do you enjoy fitness classes? Take as many as you can throughout your week. Do you like art? Take different art classes regularly. Find yourself local pottery classes, try new forms of art. Keep yourself immersed into different things outside of your program. You may go a little crazy if all you do is study for your program and drink at night. You need to have that relaxing time where you can just be content and creative. Go to paint nights at restaurants. You may suck at painting but everyone is great at those classes. The instructors are so great and help you every step that it is impossible to have a bad piece at the end.
I hope this helps you. If you have any questions please do leave a comment below, I will answer all of them either in the comments OR in a future FAQ post. If you have any tips you would like to share yourself, please comment below!
DO NOT FORGET TO FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS! Keep up with me!!!