How To Do Your First Year of University Right

We’ve all been through it every year for our whole lives -- the back to school season. Going through the first day of classes, meeting new teachers and classmates, etc, but, this year is a little bit different. You’re away from home, in a brand-new place and no one is here to tell you where to go or what to do. This can be a breath of fresh air to some, but can also be a little distressing for others.

There isn’t a specific set of rules that must be followed to have a perfect first year, but these are some tips for starting off on the right foot and gaining confidence over the next few years of your studies.


Don’t be afraid to make the first move 

Everyone is in the same boat and wants to make friends, so step out of your comfort zone and talk to the people around you. If they end up not being your type, then move on to another crowd. You will eventually find people who you click with.


Frosh and Orientation 

These activities are good ways to meet people from your program and who live in residence. However, Frosh may not be for everyone, if you don’t like drinking or partying this may not be something you would enjoy. You could instead look for events happening in the city or on campus. Look on Facebook or for a local news site that has recommendations of things to do (like MTL blog). Montreal is a fun city and there are always events happening where you can meet people!



Say yes! But not to everything

Get out of your comfort zone but stay within your limits. Have fun, and say yes to going out with the people in your hall, or to going to a party on your own. But don’t do anything that makes you too uncomfortable -- like chugging a whole beer or dancing on tables. If you have a bad feeling or are feeling uneasy, it is absolutely okay to drop out and say no. 


Explore on your own 

Discover the city and your new campus at your own rhythm. Take your time finding buildings and rooms that you may need later, like classrooms, the library, or the clinic. That way, when needed you’ll already know where they are. 


Work hard and get good grades 

Having good grades and a high GPA will boost your confidence and make you feel good about the next semester. Don’t skip classes and pay attention during lectures. This could make studying easier later. Also, plan your classes and credits in advance, this will help you stay organized in the long run, and avoid panic later on.



Stay active! 

Freshman 15 is a real thing! I gained those 15 lbs my first year because I wasn’t careful about what I was eating at the dining hall and drinking during nights out. It’s a well-known fact that getting your heart rate up helps clear your head and reduces stress. Get a membership at LeGym for $70 a semester. There are gyms at both the downtown  and Loyola campuses.


Leave things to the past

To grow you need space, so leave things behind. Move on from your high school crush, lingering drama, and unpleasant friends. Let go of the “what has been” and the “what could have been”. This is a new chapter for you, so blossom! 



Learn to be independent, but still call your family

Figure things out on your own, but remember to call or visit home, they miss you.


University is new territory for everyone, remember that  you are not alone in this. Try your best and be brave in this new experience!