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A Letter to My First Year Self

Dear First Year Self,

It’s me! Your four-years-later-and-a-little-bit-wiser self. I just thought I would check in with you and give you tips I wish I had in my first year of university. There are some things I regret from that time and I want you to be prepared for what is ahead of you. So let’s begin!

#1: It’s okay to say “NO”

There will be times when people are going to ask you to do things or go out to events. It is all right to say: “no!” There are times that you should study or treat yourself! Don’t worry about offending people. They are in the same boat as you and will totally understand. If they do get offended, then they are not worth your time or your friendship. 

#2: Go to frosh

You can network with so many people and learn so much about your school and your program from senior students. Also, the senior students have the weirdest/handiest tips you will ever hear. Ever!!

#3: Join at least one club 

Because you need friends. Especially good friends that are interested in the same things as you are. There is a tea club and a hiking club! You will not regret it!

#4: Do not take morning classes

One of my biggest regrets from my first year was taking morning classes. It is truly difficult to wake up for an 8:30 a.m. class, especially when it is Math or Economics. By giving yourself time to wake up, you will be more refreshed for the classes later in the day. It also gives you time to cram in that pre-reading that you “forgot” about.

#5: Do NOT take five classes

Even four is too much when you are in first year. Tip: as long as it is a 9 credit load, you are a full-time student. Ease yourself into university. If you don’t know your study patterns yet, 3 classes are more than enough to keep you busy with studying.

#6: Wait to take on a part-time “anything” 

Being in full-time student is draining. By taking on more than you can bite, you will just cause more stress and just hinder your mental health. If you need to take on part-time job for financial reasons, makes sense. There are always resources on campus to help out with that.

And lastly, #7: Your health is more important than anything else

Something I’ve struggled with a lot is my health. It is completely alright to take a sick day. The on-campus doctors are really resourceful and will help you through a number of situations. The counsellors are also super nice and are great listeners.


Hopefully these things will help you survive your first year. Be willing to live a little, but also make sure you focus on school and taking care of what is most important: you!

Good luck, first year self!


  Fourth year me 

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