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Students share tips on college and university

Nana Yamase   Oct-24-2017

Raul Pacheco-Vega via Flickr

Let’s face it; change is scary.

Whether it’s moving to a new city, trying out something completely new, or even changing up your wardrobe, the fact of doing or being different can be daunting.



For many Grade 12 students the only thing that’s on their mind is the topic talked about since the day you enter high school: university. Making sure to have the good grades and well roundedness of a wholesome student sure is tough to handle.

And to top it off you’re entering a totally new environment along with hundreds of new people.

But don’t worry. This article will give you advice from real-life current university students on how to make friends, what events to go to, and how you can enjoy your first year life to the fullest.

“Get involved, but don't be involved! It's awesome to participate in events and clubs; however, make sure you balance your time between school, extracurricular activities, and your own personal life. You should never be involved to a point that it tires you out.”

— UBC Student, Arts Faculty

“SFU actually puts in a lot of effort into social events. There are tons of things constantly going on and it can be super intimidating; but once you realize that everyone is just as nervous as you are, it makes it all okay. No one is isolated or the odd one out. I really appreciate all the efforts SFU has made to making my first year the most comfortable and exciting socially and academically. I've never been at a happier place in my life than I am now. One thing that makes me so incredibly in love with my first year experience is actually living on residence. It's a pricey option, but I've made a real family here and I love them and all the time I've spent here. SFU is a humble school that excels in their every achievement. I think it's really worthwhile to go to events or live on residence as a part of the university experience."

—SFU Student, Arts Faculty Pre Law Major

“UBC provides a really fun and engaging activity for first year student who come to the campus as international students. During the two-week event "Jumpstart", for international students you get to meet students and professors in our own faculty, and also develop friendships with one and another. This is a really interesting and meaningful event, I recommend it to every student who is coming to UBC!”

—UBC Student, Arts Faculty

“It's hard to pin down any purchase for Arts, because aside from text books, there really isn't anything required of you. But, if you're undetermined about your major/minor, I would recommend taking some of the most popular prerequisite classes (like economics, or psychology) within your first year, because those classes are really competitive to get into in later years (first years get first dibs on spots) and you can do all the necessary requirements for most majors later, in second year, and you'll be fine, anyway. So I'd advise you to explore a wide range of possibilities within your first year!”

—UBC Student, Arts Faculty

“Take calculus in high school. If you are thinking about going into the Sciences, it will be really helpful so you feel more prepared and understand concepts better.”

—UBC Student, Science Faculty

“Participate in class and talk to people around you. Don't be shy, everyone is probably just as new and nervous. And go to the orientation!”

—Langara Student, Science Faculty

“Keep your Grade 12 High School notes! I go back and review them sometimes because a lot of first year is based on what you learned in high school, so it really does help to make sure you have the basics down.”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

“Something really simple and useful for anyone studying anything is to feel the fear and do it. Uni is a great place to take risks and make opportunities for yourself to grow and learn. A lot of experiences happen outside of the classroom so take advantage of your time here!”

—UBC Student, Sauder School of Business Commerce Major

“UBC has a first week kit for all first year students to purchase and explore the campus with activities. I would definitely recommend buying it because it's a great way to meet new people and enjoy your new school!”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

“The moment you've been awaiting for years has finally come, you see that email from your desired post-secondary and you feel like you've just accomplished a life goal. But your acceptance is only the start of something much more difficult. It's in your hands to determine what and how you want to approach the transition to university. Personally, I had to quickly learn how to adapt my study style to one that will suit my course load and recognize the weaknesses that I had in my academic life. For those going into post-secondary I would say to focus on your weaknesses as your strengths will never leave. Once you've focused yourself on your weakness, weaknesses will develop in minor strengths and soon enough you can overcome your weakness and turn into one of your strengths.”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

“My one piece of advice would be manage your time wisely. It is very helpful to make lists and prioritize what you need to get done before it is too late and you end up procrastinating. This could result in consequences such as lower marks, loss of sleep and energy etc. My advice is get things done as soon as you can because it will make life a whole lot easier.”

—Langara Student, Faculty of Arts

“Don't get too ahead of yourself; instead trust that you can handle whatever situation you find yourself in. Also, acknowledge that it is going to be very challenging but also enjoy all the growth you will experience.”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

“If you’re stuck on something, get help as soon as you can. For a lot of first year science courses there are teaching assistants that have office hours specifically offered to help students with a specific course. They are there to help you with homework, labs, or anything of that sort. It really is an amazing resource to make sure you can do your best.”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

“Don't be afraid to socialize. Take the first step to talk to others so that way you'll be a lot more comfortable during your first year!”

—SFU Student, Faculty of Arts

“Just remember that you are not alone. There are dozens of you that feel the same way about entering a new school. You will do great things and not-so great things, but hey, that happens to everyone. All you need to know is that no matter what happens, in the end it will be an amazing journey and you will definitely be glad to have spent your time at university.”

—UBC Student, Faculty of Arts

University and college can be a scary place at first to many students, so having advice can enable students to feel more confident about what to do when entering their first year.

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