Dear First Year Me

Dear First Year Me,

You are about to embark on a new journey as a first year student at Queen’s University.  Even though this next chapter of your life may seem overwhelming, the next four years may include some of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding experiences of your adolescent life. I’m proud of you for selecting a university that reminds you of home, and that also offers a vast array of programs that foster growth and critical thinking.  Even though you may have days where you’ll wonder if you’ve made the right choice, something or someone will always be there to remind you that Queen’s is your home. 

So First Year Me… you’re braver and stronger than you think. YOU CAN DO THIS!

And on days when you feel like taking the Tricolour Express bus home to cry in your bed, perhaps consider the following six points before you spend $40.00 on your bus ticket. 

 

  1. 1. You’re not alone

    Surprise! Even your overconfident friends are struggling to find their place during first semester. Everyone expresses their emotions and copes with new situations in different ways, so you never know which of your friends need some extra love and support. You are going to wish you reached out to a bunch of your friends to tell them that change is difficult for you. Don’t be embarrassed; asking for help is a sign of maturity, not weakness. After explaining to your friends about how they can help you adjust to this change, they might open up to you too (even your friends who seem to have everything going for them). This exchanging of thoughts and feelings will help foster a more genuine friendship.  

  2. 2. Don’t give in to peer pressure

    Living in residence comes with perks, but your residence building will be a central location for parties during orientation week and throughout the year.  Surround yourself with people who make similar choices as you, and go to parties with trustworthy friends. TIP: While making decisions throughout the year, ask yourself, “Will I regret this decision later?” This is a solid way to judge whether certain activities are in your comfort zone.

  3. 3.  Your living situation affects your mood

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your room is going to feel like a prison cell until you finally clean it.  There will be points during first year where your dorm room will look like a kitchen, with dirty dishes piling up on your countertop. Keep your windows open and air out your room, even when the Kingston temperature reaches a balmy -25 degrees. At least once a week, up the stakes by pretending that you’re working for Extreme Makeover: Dorm Room Edition.

  4. 4. It will take time to meet your forever friends

    The first people you meet during orientation week, aren’t going to become your best friends.  In truth, you aren’t going to remember most of their names. For some lucky people, they do meet their future housemates and close friends during the first week of school. Don’t feel stuck when this doesn't happen to you, and still try to be open to speaking to everyone. You are going to meet some of your best friends in the most unexpected places, including the laundry room or on the long bus ride home.

  5. 5. Dance will be your outlet

    The dance classes that you randomly sign up for during first semester will affect your mental health in a positive way. Arriving at the recreation centre after trekking in mountains of snow for 10 minutes will be the start to the highlight of your week. Attending dance classes will make you feel like you are part of a close-knit community at Queen’s, and will remind you of the clubs you signed up for in high school. You will coincidently sign up for some of the same classes as your future besties, and spending these nights together will help you grow as friends.  

  6. 6. Be Present

    Enjoy the next 5 years at Queen’s. Don’t stress over whether or not your degree will lead to a job. Don’t freak out when you earn a mark that’s lower than any mark you every got in high school. Many of your older relatives, friends of family and former teachers still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.

Everything will fall into place.  Be young. Have Fun. Keep smiling. Keep the faith. Work Hard. Play Hard. Eat Healthy. Eat French Fries. If Miley said that it’s all about the climb, then it must be true. 

XO, 

Your Third Year Self