Friday, September 21, 2012

What Not to Do In Your First Year!

Hello, Everyone!

I am a second year co-op management student specializing in Accounting. Contrary to my major, I am not boring at all (I assure you!). I also love to write! Creative writing and poetry are what I like to do on my down time. I am also a huge anime fan and a closeted kpop fan. I am a self-proclaimed beauty nerd and always on the hunt for new beauty tips and tricks which I might post later. I am a lover of exotic foods and fashion and enjoy playing table tennis. I also enjoy joining various clubs that hold some interest to me on campus. I listen to pretty much anything musically wise -- if it sounds good of course. One Direction is recently my new addiction! TV wise ... huge SUITS FAN! I also indulge in a little Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and, um ... Jersey Shore (don't judge!) on the side. Overall I love to laugh and make others laugh. I hope you genuinely enjoy my blog posts and are able to take something out of it. Well now onwards to to my blog post!

So with one school year under my belt and another one just starting I am now a sophomore. Looking at the eager bright-eyed froshies reminds me of myself a year ago ... wonder how long that will last ;).  So now as a second year I feel that it is my responbility to fill the froshies in on what to do at University. Hopefully you can learn from some of the unanimous mistakes that the students a year before you made. Here is the list on how to make the most of your university experience. Rememeber the earlier you start the better your four or five years will be :)

1. Do not slack off and get behind in classes

As you are entering first year everybody will tell you this, in fact you're probably tired of hearing it already, but I'll say it one more time in case it might make a difference to that one extra person that might be reading this. People told me the same thing back when I was a first year but did I listen? No, and most of us won't. I had come out of high school an all star; above 90 average, a nice list of extracurriculars and a great social life to boot. I had been able to do it all ... while studying within three days before the final exam or test. When I came into university, well, it was a completely different story.

What first years need to realize this is not high school. You do not have weekly quizzes or tests that keep you updated on the material. For most first year-courses you will probably have a midterm or final and if you don't stay on top of things you'll find yourself in a big black hole that will be hard to crawl out of. If you do find yourself in a hole get help ASAP! Do not leave this to two days before the final! The depth and difficulty of the material is far too complex to understand in only three days or worse the night before. After you actually understand the material you have to go deeper because the exam is not going to be straightforward. Now don't get me wrong, I do know a couple of people that have been able to pull an all-nighter off and get great marks -- but most of us aren't geniuses. 

2. Do not skip class

This probably sounds pretty obvious but you'll be surprised by how many people skip class. All I can tell you is don't do it! People also give the excuse that it's being taped and they'll watch it online. Take it form a veteran -- it's extremely hard to watch a two-hour boring math lecture on the internet, the place where most distractions lie. What  starts as a two-hour lesson will turn into a four- or five-hour lesson, or get layed off to the side where it will come back to haunt you during the final exam. In short go to your classes folks.

3. Do not go home straight home after a class

Now I know that this is a commuter campus and during a super boring three-hour lecture, we all just want to get home as soon as possible. However if we do that we miss all that the school has to offer. The most happy and pleased students in university are the ones that are involved. There are so many opportunities here on campus that it irks me when people say the student life here sucks. It does not suck, you are just not taking time out to fully explore what the campus has to offer. Join a sports team. If you are not athletic there are tons of intramurals and instructional classes you can join. Join clubs that interest you or volunteer -- you'll be glad you did. Chances are a club that intersts you is already on campus and you just need to find it. You will be much happier this way rather than going straight home and staring into a blank computer screen for the rest of the day.

4. Do not be shy and reserved

Like most first years I didn't have a lot of friends that came form the same school as me, and the ones that did were not in my program. So I went to class all alone without anybody to sit with. It was hard for the first couple of weeks because I was scared to break out of my shell and actively speak to strangers. I realized later that I needed to make new friends and that my high school friends were out of the picture here. Going to university without any friends is a sad thing that will bring your morale down to zero and make you absolutely loathe coming to university. There is nothing more depressing than being all alone during a beak in between classes with no one to hang out or talk with.

You don't have to only find friends in extracurriculars -- you can find them in your lecture too. Just go up to some nice looking person and sit beside them. Give them eye contact and smile in a non creepy way. Then find something that you have in common or compliment them. Something along the lines of "Those are nice earrings", "I have the same laptop as you" or "Do you like the prof?" Once you get the initial conversation going, the rest is easy and now you've made yourself a new lecture buddy! But make sure to pay attention in your lecture as well!

5.  Do not get a demanding job

I have had quite a few friends who, once they started a new job, have had their marks drop. As a general rule any job or jobs that require more than 15 hours a week are not good for you. They will take up too much of your time and, well ... read rule number one again. If you want to earn extra money on the side, do work study jobs -- they are on campus and only require a maximum of 12 hours a week. They are an excellent way to make money and get closer to the UTSC staff!

Well here you have it, my list of what not to do at university. If I have missed anything comment below! First years can also comment on how their year is going so far and if they need any help, I'm always willing to help anyone out :)


  1. The Academic Advising & Career Centre has a "Dear First Year Me" contest on Facebook all about what you would tell your first year self. Just comment on the contest photo to enter. Check it out!

  2. Thank you for that, I'll definitely check that out and so should our readers :D

  3. I'm so lonely. It's hard to make friends in lectures when ppl already have a group of friends there. I'm like the only one alone there and whenever I sit beside people, they're in a huge group. I feel so left out and I don't want to try to interact with some random group of strangers. I can't seem to find anyone like me. And I try to talk to ppl but they don't try to continue the conversation. I just waste my damn time all the time! Please give me some advice. I'm hating school with a passion.

    1. Hey! I went through the same thing all the way to second year T-T. Don't worry everyone takes a little time to adjust. Sometimes it will work sometimes it won't... It helps to find the other loners in the room, which my usual strategy. Best cure is to join clubs and take part in campus activities. That way you'll find people who like to do the same stuff you do. Hang in there!

    2. Hmm sounds exactly like what I was going through in my first weeks of uni. So the first advice I can give you is to not feel disheartened and know that time will pass and you will find friends even though it seems hard now. Second I also agree with Zarish and recommend finding people that are sitting alone because approaching a group is intimidating. If there is no one alone than don't fret! Your best bet is to join a cultural group on campus. For example the Chinese student's association or the Muslim Student's association. Groups like that are super easy to join and you will find a friend that will definetly have something in common with you!If you're good at a sport go for tryouts or intramurals. Since you'll be working in a team its pretty easy to make friends. See if you can join the first year experience program and find your self a mentor as well! When first starting to converse with people find something in common, maybe you like the same sports teams, watch the same shows, have the same cell phone. Just find something and don't let the conversation die out! Complimenting is also fairly easy if you're a guy ...compliment him on his shoes if you're a girl say that's a really nice shirt you're wearing. Asking "how do you like the class so far" is also fairly easy to get the conversation going. Remember if people don't react to you well just shrug it off and move on! Anyway hope this helps and your university experience gets better! Best of luck and tell me how it goes :)

  4. "There are so many opportunities here on campus that it irks me when people say the student life here sucks. It does not suck, you are just not taking time out to fully explore what the campus has to offer."

    I was a little put off by that. The campus is small and in the suburbs. The downtown campus has much more to offer, in terms of both breadth and depth. It’s easier to be a little more spontaneous there, IMHO. Most of us undergraduates live with our parents (correct me if I'm wrong) which could influence things too. The environments here and the environments there will bring different things out of us. It’s only natural for some people to be dissatisfied. Some of them may very well have explored the campus and still feel that way.

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