Dear first years

Congrats! You’ve finished high school, made it to university, and are ready (or at least trying to be ready) to begin a whole new chapter of your life. University can be a little daunting if you don’t know what to expect. Last year, I had heard all kinds of things about the workload and the social experiences, but I didn’t hear a lot about how to tackle either of those two things. However, I did manage to find my own methods to help navigate first year.

First, break out of that high school shell. Friends won’t just fall onto your lap. Try your best to make new friends in your classes, otherwise lectures will feel pretty lonely. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll have several classes with the same people, and you might as well strike up conversation with them.

Another way to meet new pals is to join the clubs on campus. Clubs are great because you’ll be meeting people you know you share at least one common interest with, and that interest is a great catalyst for making friends. The only extracurricular activity I got involved with last year was contributing to The Gateway, and I regret not joining it until second semester. I met so many awesome people, and it’s encouraged me to join a few more clubs this year.

Since classes here cover a lot more content in a shorter amount of time than in high school, it’s pretty important to keep up with studying and assignments. The Rutherford and Cameron libraries are guaranteed to be quiet, or you can grab a table in SUB if you prefer having some background noise. These study spots will end up being your best friends when midterms and finals hit, so try to have a few favourite spots so that you don’t have to sit in the same one for hours.

Although these tips are basic, they are essential to making your first year more enjoyable. Good luck first years — I hope that my advice will help you better manage your workload, richen your social circle, and make your first year successful and memorable.

Andrew McWhinney

Andrew McWhinney is a fifth-year English and political science combined honors student, as well as The Gateway's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. He was previously The Gateway's 2018-19 Opinion Editor. An aspiring journalist with too many opinions, he's a big fan of political theory, hip-hop, and being alive.

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