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How To Survive Your First Year In Residence

Attend Programs

They’re a great way to meet people living in your community, and they’re fun! Residence-wide and community programs are one of my favourite parts of res life, and a fantastic way to meet people from various floors and buildings. Educational programs are targeted towards your specific community and are be super helpful, so check them out!!


Find Your People 

Whether it’s your dodgeball team, people from your classes or student groups, or friends you make in the caf, find the people who you click with! Good friends can keep you laughing and can make all the difference in your experience at university! 


Leave the Building!!

It may seem like everything you ever need is in your tower, but remember to leave the lister bubble and explore the whole wide world out there! Our campus and Edmonton have some pretty cool places, and if you’re stuck inside you won’t find them! 


Mix Some Fun into Your Life

University life can be super busy, but remember to make time for yourself to have fun!! Breaks are necessary and valuable, so spend them doing things you enjoy! Head to the Rec Room, go skating, or check out the cat cafe! There’s lots of fun things to do around here, so take the time to explore them!


Get Involved! 

…in residence, on campus, and in the community! There are so many pockets of communities within the U of A, so try to explore them all! Check out clubs, exercise classes, student groups and volunteer opportunities. 



If you live in Lister, dodgeball is a huge part of the culture. If you’re new to the game, it can seem a little intimidating to get started, but just focus on having fun! If you don’t play, you can cheer your floor on and watch games with friends! 


Wash Your Hands

All the time. You’re living in a relatively small space with a huge group of people, so it’s easy to get sick. Protect yourself from listeritis by washing your hands as much as you can. 


Use All the Resources Available

The peer tutors are an invaluable resource (bless their hearts)—they’ve been exactly where you are, so they know what you’re going through and they’re here to help! If you need help with a lab report or understanding calculus, they’ve got your back! Also, reach out to the food ambassadors! They can pass along your suggestions, so if you really loved something (or have a way to make the caf food a little more bearable), let them know! 


Take Advantage of All the Free Food

Whether it’s check ins with your RA’s, seminars in the Alberta room, or an obscure club meeting on campus, pick up all the free snacks you can! And, while you’re at it, stick around for some of the sessions—you might learn something useful or hear some tips about thriving in university. 


Put Yourself Out There

Remember that everyone around you is new to university as well, so you’re all in the same boat! Make an effort and reach out to new people—chances are they’ll be excited to make more friends! 


Continue to Do the Things You Enjoy

The U of A is a huge university, and students have a diverse range of interests. Don’t feel pressured to like certain things just because some people around you do. Hold on to what you’re passionate about, embrace it, and find people with similar interests! There are over 500 clubs at the U of A, so you’ll likely find one for your interests, no matter how obscure. 


Find YOUR Study Spot

It’s always fun to study (read: hang out) with your friends in the caf or lounge, but it’s important to find somewhere that you can be productive! The earlier you find your space the better, as it’ll make midterm season a heck of a lot less stressful. Through my couple of years here, I’ve discovered that I can’t study in my room (I end up cleaning) or in a lounge/living room (I chat with friends!!) or with Netflix on in the background (as much as I wish I could). I love campus libraries that are full of light (hello John Scott!!), and I thrive at coffee shops—I can spend hours there and power through my to do list. 


Azra Panjwani

U Alberta '21

I’m in my third year of a Psychology degree and am currently doing research on autobiographical memory. I work as a Resident Assistant, volunteer with Unitea, and spend my free time cheering on the Canucks!
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