Monthly Archives: May 2012

Maintaining Friendships After Highschool (Or Not)

So, you’re thinking of leaving home to go to UBC next year, or maybe you aren’t leaving home, but you won’t be going to the same school or classes as your BFFs anymore.  What does this mean?  Can you still be friends? Do you even want to be?  Can you live without them? Or will this be your chance to finally get rid of them?

Naturally, people’s feelings about their high school friends ranges dramatically.  A lot of people I know had friends in high school who they basically were friends with simply because you can’t sit in the same classrooms every day and have absolutely no one to talk to. And once they’re out of high school, they aren’t interested anymore and may never speak to those high school classmates again.  And that’s normal.  In high school you don’t always win the awesome-totally-gets-me-in-every-way-friend lottery, and when you’re out, you’re ready for new friends.

So then there’s the other situation, where you have a really close group of friends who you love dearly.  Leaving those friends can be really hard, and you don’t want those friendships to end just because you’re going to university.  Well my friend, those friendships don’t have to end.  Here’s a few ways you can keep the friendship magic alive:

1) Skype.  It’s free, so why not?  Now you can talk to your friend, AND see them. Awesome!  Definitely beats the phone.

2) Be penpals.  When you’re living in residence, nothing is more exciting than getting mail.  Plus it sometimes feels more personal than an email or instant message.  (Packages are even more fun! wink wink nudge nudge hint hint)

3) Create a (video) blog.  This is one thing me and my friends did this year, and it’s helped us stay really close.  We created a video blog (or vlog) on Youtube and we’d each upload a video once a week, just talking about what we’re up to, or just talking about or doing random stuff.  You can find our channel here, if you’re interested. (I haven’t mentioned the vlog on this blog before since its purpose was for me and my friends to stay in touch, rather than talk about UBC experiences.)

If you don’t want to make videos, you can also make a blog about what you’re doing for your friends to read at home, and they can make one too.  (Me and a few friends do that as well – but I’m not giving you the address for my personal blog! Mwahaha!) You can get a free blog at

Seriously though, if you want to keep your friendship going, all it really takes is a little effort on both sides.  If all you do is instant message on facebook, that’s great, if that works for you.  As long as you contact your friends somewhat regularly in some way so you’re still a part of each other’s lives and check in with them when you’re at home, you should be fine.  This being said, there will be some people who you thought you’d be friends with forever that you end up drifting apart from.  That’s okay too; people change, and that’s okay.  Just remember you’ll be making lots of new friends too, so if a few old ones slip away, you’ll be all right, and you’ll always have your memories of the good times you had with them.


Filed under Campus Life, Wellness

Reflection on First Year

I know it’s a bit belated, but I wanted to take the time to look back on my first year at UBC.  It’s definitely been quite the journey, and it’s obvious to me that I’ve changed quite a bit since the beginning of the school year.  And in my reflection, I’ve picked out a few pointers for those heading into the big scary world known as university. (Protip: it isn’t actually that bad.)

When I first arrived in my Totem dorm room, well, I was terrified.  When my parents left the day before classes, I cried, hard.  And then I continued crying for about the next week.  I was lonely as all get out, and I wanted nothing more than to go home.  Oh, I thought UBC was pretty cool – a pretty campus, great teachers, my classes were all really interesting, and I loved my harp teacher – but by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I literally skipped on my way to class knowing I’d be on a plane later that afternoon.

Fast forward to the end of April, when I choke back tears as I say goodbye to my new friends who I have grown to love so much over the past few months, as I lock my door for the very last time.  The girl who wanted nothing more than to leave this place and go back to her familiar world was sad that first year was ending! This brings me to Tip #1: It will get better.  You might be lonely at first, but give it time, and you’ll find your place, and you’ll love it.

So what changed that made me feel so much better?  Well that to me is a no-brainer: I made friends.  That’s not to say I had no friends first term,but the people I talked to I didn’t fully click with, and as a shy person, to really feel comfy I need people around me who really get me and that wasn’t something I found til second term. So how did I make these really awesomely amazing friends? I did fun things with them! Namely entering Totem’s Best Dance Crew. Participating in that one event drew me close to the people I’m now so close with, which brings me to Tip #2: Say yes to stuff. Now, when I say say yes to stuff, I don’t mean say yes to drugs or feel pressured to party; what I mean is, if someone knocks on your door and asks if you wanna go for supper with them, if your only excuse to not go is, “Uh.. nah, I don’t really feel like it, I’d rather sit in my room by myself and eat takeout,” say yes.  You’ll get to have a potentially great conversation with them and get to know them better.  It could become a routine and then hey, you’ve got your social interaction every day, and it could expand into other activities too.  Say yes to rez events (I can’t stress that enough, UBC rez events are so much fun!), say yes to going to get coffee, exploring campus, playing ultimate on sunny days, joining a club, going down to the beach, group study sessions (to be honest, I skipped out on that one – I study way better on my own), just go and do stuff.  Sitting alone by yourself is not going to get you anywhere. Literally.

In terms of academics, I didn’t have the shock most people do.  I graduated high school with ridiculously high grades (as in like, practically 100%), and my average dropped about ten percent like most students, but I mean, I still have a ninety average I have absolutely nothing to complain about…  One thing I have to say is that I have learned an absolutely incredible amount.  The academic standard at UBC is top notch, the professors are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and you get the freedom to try a whole bunch of stuff you’ve never even heard of before – I tried German and loved it!  Aaaaaand I also tried Philosophy and discovered I never ever want to take another philosophy class ever. But that’s okay! Tip #3: Try out new subject areas – you never know what you’ll fall in love with.  And hey, it’s okay to find out you don’t want to do something, too. University gives you the freedom to figure yourself out.

My first year at UBC has opened me up to so many opportunities in so many areas. I’ve gotten to meet a ton of cool people and I’ve come out of my shell a lot, I got to participate in tons of rez events, I picked up yoga, I went to a dance for the first time in my life (seriously), I got to participate in a research focus group (complete with blue chip cookies!), I’ve improved tremendously on the harp, I got to try out playing in an orchestra for the first time, I got to meet one of my all time favourite harp performers, I got to write this blog, I got to see this amazing campus and beautiful BC, I learned to take care of myself and handle responsibilities, and in my future years I intend to take advantage of exchange opportunities and on campus employment.  Seriously.  There is so much to do and experience, so that’s why my Tip #4 is: Find balance.  It’s hard, but it’s important to study hard but also form strong relationships, explore your passions, make the most of your time in Vancouver, and enjoy life.

If I could go back to last September, I would give me a hug and say, “Hey, it’s going to be okay! You’re going to love it!”  And I don’t think me from the past would believe it, but it’s true.  If you’re an incoming student and you’re scared, I totally understand.  Just know that everyone else is freaking out too and it’s only gonna get a whole lot better.


Filed under Academics, Residence, Wellness

Packing up a dorm room

It’s not fun.  Not by a long shot.  Even if you aren’t affected by the sadness of packing away eight months of memories and a little space you carved out to call home, and the dread of saying goodbye to the awesome friends you have made this year, trying to find a space for the unbelievable amount of stuff you have accumulated is hardly a party.

Seriously, you say to yourself, I came here with what, five, six boxes of stuff?  There must be at least fifteen now!  I am no scientist.  I don’t know how it happens.  But it just always does.  Trying to squish all of it into the tupperware my parents bought for me to put into storage was stressful.  It was close, and I had to bring in an emergency cardboard box, but I got it done.  Getting what I wanted to take home into my suitcase and carry-on, well, that was a really close call.  Thank goodness my dad and sister were there with me to take a couple extra carry-on bags!

But the feeling of going through knick-knacks you somehow acquired with your friends, pictures you pinned to your now entirely covered bulletin board, and carefully peeling your posters that you bought at Imaginus days at the SUB off your wall can be one of melancholy.  When finally it’s all been put into boxes and taken away, it just feels so… empty.  It isn’t really yours anymore.  It looks the way it did when you showed up on the first day, all scared and excited.

That last night, well, it feels kind of strange.  With your drawers emptied, shelves vacated, and desk de-cluttered, it is somehow foreign, and you find yourself having a little bit of trouble falling asleep. The next morning, you do a final sweep of your ghost town of a room, double checking the closet and under the bed.  You pause in the doorway, and take it in one last time.  You look at your door, now bare of the name paper your RA made for you and the pictures you coloured out of a colouring book.  One last, final glance into your vacated room, and close the door.  Turn that key, and lock the door – for the last time.  Swallow back that lump in your throat.

No folks, it’s no fun, but it’s gotta happen.  Nothing lasts forever.  It would be reasonable for me to recommend starting to pack at least a week before, maybe doing one box every day, because doing it all in one day really does suck, it really is exhausting.  But I feel you, my soul sibling, if you just don’t want it to end.  You want to trick yourself into thinking there’s still plenty of time left.  There isn’t, but I feel you.  It’s okay.

Just think about how fun it’ll be to move into a new place next year! :)

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Filed under Residence