Wisdom and Warnings for First Years
Photo Credit: Zeynel Akkus
Contrary to popular belief, your first year at this university can give you the best memories and GPA you’ll ever have. Maintaining both a social life and a stable academic career are important in general, but it’s also important to remember that your worth isn’t determined by how many friends you have or how good your grades are. I’m entering my third year now and I’m here to help you sweet frosh kids navigate all the quirks of this campus.
Here’s how to make these four years of your quasi-adulthood manageable:
Choose courses that you’re passionate about, both inside and outside your field of study. In second year, I took a Korean Literature course that was outside of the prerequisites for my English and Psychology majors, and it turned out to have really good material. I suggest that you also get involved early in research projects or clubs pertaining to your studies. Only buy textbooks if you know that you’re going to keep the class. You can also buy your required readings from BMV, the discount textbook store on College, and the textbook exchange group on Facebook. I personally rely on Russian hackers to upload free files for me to turn into EPUB files so I can transfer them to my ebook and read them everywhere! Bada bing bada boom! Now you can spend more money on overpriced bubble tea instead. Do your readings! I can’t stress this enough.Ensure that you also plan out your readings, due dates and studying times for each semester. To organize everything that your professors give you, I suggest that you use Google Calendar, OneNote, or an agenda. the University hands out free agendas every frosh. My favourite places to study are the Earth Science library, the breezy walkway in Knox College and the Gerstein Library. Gerstein is a safe zone, Robarts is for the weak-willed.
Speaking from personal experience, self-love is incredibly important! Make sure to set time for yourself during the week and see a movie for example. On campus, I met a lot of people who don’t devote their time to romantic relationships and I also met a lot of people who use at least one dating app. Personally speaking, you’ll match with entire friend groups using these apps and soon you’ll start wondering if millennial romance is even worth it. Furthermore, if someone you like from Tinder ghosts you, then forget about them. You’re cool, and you deserve all the good things in this world. On the other hand, campus crushes can be fun especially when you find out later on that they’re also on Tinder. Outside of dating apps, the new litmus test for asking someone out from your lecture is whether they have their laptop webcam taped up.
Try not to buy food on campus, it’s overpriced. However, if you can’t pack a lunch before your lectures begin, there are some cheap eats on campus if you know where to look. I suggest visiting the brown food truck by Robarts, where you can get a medium portion of fries for $3 or a small poutine for $4. The cheapest thing in Robarts is the $4 soup/chilli, which I highly recommend. Innis college has the best cafeteria; they have full breakfast and lunch covered and they have lots of house made options for less than $10. The Cat’s Eye Lounge in Victoria College also holds many events with free food, so make sure to stop by if you’re in the area. To track how much you’re spending on food, I suggest that you download the Mint app. The Mint app keeps you updated with a weekly spending summary, and it notifies you when you’ve spent over your budget for food and other things like health and shopping.
For fun on campus, I suggest going to a Frat party just once. Frat parties are a regular occurrence during frosh and holidays, and Facebook groups can help you find one (such as Events and Parties). The floors are always sticky at Frats, so bring your most disposable shoes. For a more casual time, I love the Earth Science Greenhouse on campus. The Greenhouse is gorgeous and it’s located on the top floor of the Earth Science building, accessible through either the stairs or elevators. During the daytime, you can visit the sweet iguana that rules over the plants in the first room and the large gathering of succulents in the last room.
Take advantage of these next few years, and be sure to seek out academic or mental health support whenever you need it! If you need more advice from a well-seasoned veteran of this university, you can find me in the Gerstein Library. I’ll be salvaging my GPA under the moody desk lamps on the first floor while waiting for the perfect opening to steal the Gerstein Skeleton.