I’ve got several friends going into university within the next coming years, and all of them seem to ask for the same advice: how do you survive your first year?
There’s really no formula, but here are the top three things I recommend doing to keep yourself happy and at the top of your game:
- Make tons of friends. Seriously! I came from a school where very few applied to UBC and those who did either went into Sciences, Engineering, or IR. No one was in liberal arts, and I felt pretty lonely during the first few weeks (especially since I didn’t live on campus). But I stepped out and talked to the people in my classes, found a fair amount of people to socialize with, and now, looking back at it, I feel like I have a pretty solid number of pals going into my second year. You definitely won’t regret making friends in your first year, and they’ll be your support system when things get rough (hey, at least they’ll all empathize with you when you’re battling through finals week).
- Study hard! I hate to sound like a nagging mom, but it’s true – what you put into your work, you get back in return. My Arts One professor told us at the beginning of the year that it’s rather easy to get a B in your classes – the difference between an A and a B is effort. Also, you (or one of your family members, or maybe the government?) now have to pay for your studies – and it doesn’t come cheap. Make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck by pulling out the textbooks, hitting up the library, and always (always!) asking for help when you need it. Your prof (and at the very least, your TAs) are there for a reason, and it’s because they want you to succeed as much as you do. Take ownership of your education!
- Always make time to care for yourself. I’m speaking from the point of view of an introvert, so this may be a bit harder to do if you’re an extrovert, but it’s always good to have some alone time. Do something to relax, take your mind off the craze of clubs, sports, social gatherings, school, and so on. Grab a latte and people-watch, or go to bed early to catch up on your much needed sleep. You’ll wear yourself out pretty quickly if you’re always on the go or if you spend all your time studying and freaking out about exams. If you feel like you’ve become lost or need a little guidance, pop by the Wellness Centre. It’s not embarrassing to seek out resources to keep yourself safe and happy. You’re the most important person at the end of the day!
Of course, there are many other ways to survive your first year, but these are my fool-proof ways. I think that every year gets better and better so long as you keep your head up and make the most out of the opportunities you come across!