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Tips to Help You Get Through Your First Year of University

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 U Ottawa chapter.

101 week is here and it is time to frosh, party, and make new friends! However, there are a few other things that come with being a first-year student and so many questions as well. When I was a freshman, I had absolutely NO idea what clubs to join, how to be on top of my classes, and how to survive my first year of university overall. Luckily, there are tons of accessible resources that can help you kick-start your first semester in university. Here are some tips that helped me and can possibly help you get through your first year!

Joining clubs

There are many ways to meet new people and create meaningful connections. One of the most effective ways can be to join clubs. This study shows how engaging in social activities can lower stress and symptoms of burnout that can occur during your studies. The study also explains how participation in clubs can help reduce burnout as it allows students to engage in social activities. Fortunately, the University of Ottawa has many clubs for different people and interests.

A helpful resource that helped me find clubs was @CampusVibezuo (CVUO) on Instagram. CVUO promotes clubs and campus-wide events daily. The CVUO’s Instagram page also posts notices of clubs that are hiring and so forth. The page is a great place for new and returning students to learn about what’s happening on campus and to connect with new people. It doesn’t matter what faculty or year you’re in; @CampusVibezuo has all the club information you need!

Agendas and Schedules

Keep. Yourself. Organized. Three words that will help you be on top of your university game. Personally, I like to keep a physical agenda with me because it feels cool to write in one and engage in my mysterious “café girl” archetype, but that’s besides the point. Having an agenda, schedule, or a daily to-do list can help remind you of upcoming assignments and important deadlines.

An app that is fun and aesthetically pleasing is Notion. It’s a virtual agenda that helps you stay organized in multiple areas from budgeting your expenses to keeping your grades in check. Additionally, it has features to personalize your workspace and organize it the way you like. Online agendas and schedules are helpful since all your work is on your personal device. The app can be installed on your phone or desktop.

Who cares if you go alone?

If you want to go to an event but no one else wants to, that’s ok! Going alone should never stop you from having a great experience. It’ll be kudos to you. Who knows, maybe you might make a friend as well! Most of my meaningful friendships came from making friends at an event I went to by myself, whether it was an educational seminar, conference, or even a SAW Gallery music night. If you want to go, then go! Going to different events on campus is like hitting two birds with one stone: You get the fun uni experience and have a place to meet new people.

Going to university as a freshman can be kind of scary. You may not know where you’re going or what to do, but that’s ok because everyone else is in the same boat as you are. Keeping a calm, cool, and collected attitude is key as well as the tips listed above!

Mariam Shahid

U Ottawa '23

A 4th-year Management student currently pursuing a degree in Commerce. I like to read, write and tamper with anything music!