Entering a new world of academics, transitioning from high school to university, and starting a new chapter in life is a frightening and intimidating process for many incoming froshies. Many feel confused and lost, especially with the uncertain future of the pandemic. From adjusting to a new school to moving to a whole new continent, incoming students are already facing life-changing situations, including the new online university life. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you survive your first year at UTM.
Do: Get involved! Joining clubs, teams, and interest groups was one of the most beneficial things I did in my first year. It may seem intimidating to be a froshie in clubs with upper-year students, but the lines between years are completely blurred and do not matter, creating safe and open spaces for all. Joining these clubs is a great opportunity to get into the groove of mingling with like-minded students and form new friendships. Don’t shy away from these opportunities! This is an amazing way to explore new things, challenge yourself, and hopefully find something you really enjoy.
Do: Make use of the resources available to you! UTM has a plethora of resources available to students at no cost. All you have to do is use them! The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC) is one of my absolute favourites and was exceptionally helpful to me in my first year. The RGASC allows students to meet with skilled tutors to work through assignments and areas of difficulties such as writing or math, giving you the chance to receive feedback and guidance from expert tutors. Other beneficial resources to help you adjust to university life include the library, and mental health resources like the Health and Counselling Centre (HCC). UTM’s library offers a vast collection of literature, the opportunity to meet with librarians, and a chance to seek aid with referencing and research whenever you need it! Be sure to utilize these resources, they are here for you after all.
Don’t: Don’t be afraid to speak or communicate with instructors and professors. Coming out of high school, it can be difficult to adjust to how university classes are run. Being in a lecture with so many other students breeds fear, sometimes stopping students from asking questions or seeking clarification. Professors and course instructors are here to help. Although there may be varying expectations on when and how one may ask questions or seek clarifications during or after classes, the opportunity still stands. Emailing or meeting professors in office hours are great ways to ask your questions, dig a little deeper into the content, and build connections with professors, without having to speak in front of hundreds of students.
Do: Ensure you know the rules of academic integrity. UTM offers a wide range of resources and interactive learning modules that allow students to learn about the dos and don’ts about academic integrity. This is essential to student life. Ensuring that you know what is academically honest and what is not can help you immensely in your studies.
Do: Plan, plan, and plan some more! A huge chunk of university life is about how you manage your time. By planning your time, you allow yourself to get things done within deadlines and with your best effort. But planning does not only deal with academic work. Ensuring that you budget and plan time for yourself and things you love to do is key to academic success. Balancing school, other responsibilities, and your own mental happiness is the key to the path of success.
With these tips in mind, you are bound to have a successful and enjoyable university experience. Remember, your university experience is what you make of it, so make it enjoyable!