As my first year at Brescia/Western draws to a close, I am feeling a mix of emotions. Sadness and nostalgia, but also excitement for the summer and all of the great things yet to come. I can honestly say that I am not the same person I was back in September, and I have learned many things about myself along the way. Here are the five biggest lessons I learned as a first year university student:
Lesson One: Find your Squad
I was lucky to find an amazing group of girls in my residence that became my second family (we even have ‘family dinners’ every night at 5:30!). We have bonded over shared classes (business 1220), TV shows (mostly Grey’s) and a communal love of desserts (tiger brownies!!). Finding a good group of friends is integral to figuring out life at university; everyone needs a support group, especially in the sometimes stressful university environment. Making friends may seem like a daunting task, especially for those of us that are shy around new people, but everyone is nervous and will be grateful if you start the conversation. Orientation week may be a super awkward time, but it is also the best time to meet new people. Go to frosh events, sit with new people in the caf, and introduce yourself to the people in your classes. Find like minded people that support you and you can be yourself around, and they will become your new family.
Lesson Two: Get Involved
This one is super cliché but getting involved in clubs and councils is an amazing way to get to know your university, peers, and yourself. From the awesome Residence Council team and our late-night sweatpants meetings, to going on a trip to Trinidad with Alternative Spring Break, getting involved this year has helped me gain friends, awesome memories, and leadership skills.
Lesson Three: Work Hard
As someone who attends a ‘party school’ (#Westurnt) I can attest to the importance of a work/play balance. University is an amazing time full of exciting opportunities, but as important as it is to have fun, it is equally important to focus on your studies. Go to class, do the readings, study for your exams, and set yourself up for academic success and an amazing future.
Lesson Four: Take Care of Yourself
University can be stressful. Exams and assignments can pile up, extra curricular commitments can seem overwhelming, and even just being away from home can get you down. Remember to fuel your body with healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep. And remember that taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take advantage of the resources available on your campus, lean on your support system, and take breaks when you need to.
Lesson Five: Take it All In
First year goes by in a flash. One minute it’s move-in day and you’re saying goodbye to your parents, and the next its April and you’re in the last lecture of first year. Remember to take a step back every now and then and appreciate the moments that will one day become fond memories.
Those are my tips for incoming first year students, but they really apply to every year of university; It’s never too late to make new friends or get involved! Have an awesome summer everyone,