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Back to School Advice No One but an Older Sister Would Give You

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Going back to school while in university is always a chaotic, exhausting, cursed, but fantastic experience. Electric energy is in the air as everyone returns to campus, and fun is inevitable. However, chaos is expected to ensue. Awkward moments will occur. You might see an ex or an old friend. The term “work hard, play hard” emphasizes the latter in Frosh Week, for the rest of September for that matter, and mistakes are bound to happen.

As the eldest sister and someone has gone off to university without any guidance from others, I believe I have made all the mistakes a person can, in the back-to-school-pumpkin-cream-cold-brew time of year, also known as September. So here are five pieces of advice I have for back to school that no one else will tell you.

1. It’s way cooler to be nice to everyone rather than trying to fight the girl that accidentally bumped into you at a party

Going back to school usually comes with the excitement of catching up with friends you haven’t seen all summer. You’re at the height of socializing, and it feels exhilarating but exhausting. However, you also may find yourself at social gatherings where you don’t know people, and after the last few years of minimal socialization, it can be scary to try and meet new people. However, it takes zero effort to be nice. You never know if you’ll be classmates with these people or co-workers on campus somewhere. So, try your best to be friendly and polite. As the world returns to normal, we’ll realize we’re more connected socially than one may think. 

2. Do not get FOMO if you cannot go out every night of Frosh Week or during September. It is just unsustainable. 

This is the best piece of advice I think I could give. As someone who stayed inside for the first few days of the pre-Frosh Week, it’s truly not a big deal if you miss out. Yes, you only live once, but so does your liver. It’s impossible to go out every night of Frosh Week, or every night in September. It will be okay if you miss out on Wednesday night, it just means you’ll have more energy for Thursday night at Stage Rage.

3. If you see an old hookup or an ex, keep your head held high, shoulders back, and give a little smile.

Now, this is potentially always a guarantee in return to school. And every time, it’s equally as awkward and intimidating as the last. However, we do not shy away anymore from anyone in our past, for any reason. Trust me. It will shock them much more if you give a little acknowledgement to them rather than ignoring them as you walk past them. It also shows that you are not bothered enough by them to ignore them. Confidence is crucial. As Maddy from Euphoria said, “90% of life is confidence,” and no one knows whether or not it is accurate or fake. That person from your floor in first year that you hooked up with is especially not going to know. Give a cheeky little wave if you’re feeling extra confident that day. 

4. There are places other than CoGro and Crave to get coffee and study. 

These two cafes are always packed with students. As you are trying to stay on top of your work once school starts, it’s going to be incredibly frustrating to try and get a seat at one of these spots (despite them being both delicious and the perfect place to show off your back-to-school-shopping fit). I think Balzac’s Coffee, The Golden Rooster, and Copper Branch are great options for coffee, food, and wifi! They’re all located along Princess Street too. 

5. If you can’t get into Student Wellness Services, get to the CDK Family Medicine and Walk-In Clinic at 8:45 a.m. (Frosh Cough is inevitable)

Remember when everyone was in kindergarten, and after the first three weeks of school, the classroom suddenly was filled with coughing and sneezing every twenty seconds? That cycle repeats itself in university. To stay on top of your school work, it is essential to put your health first. Student Wellness Services at school can be booked up pretty quickly, so if you’re well enough to make the walk down Princess Street, it is key to check yourself out. It opens at 9:00 a.m. throughout the week, and if you get there early enough, they are pretty quick at getting you in to see a doctor. So wear your mask, have a couple of rapid COVID-19 tests on you, and most of all, put the health and safety of yourself and others first. 

Altogether, Frosh Week is often the highlight of the year at university. It can also be very stressful and overwhelming. Hopefully, these pieces of advice will be helpful in the adjustment back to student life. Just make sure that you don’t push yourself, and HAVE FUN! 

Milla Ewart

Queen's U '23

Described by the New York Times as a "Full-Time Fool."