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Dear First Year Self
An almost somewhat kinda all-emcompassing guide to getting through your degree flawlessly. JK. Not really.
Look around and take a deep breath. The frosh air is stuffy yet crisp with undertones of unexplainable anxiety and eagerness. Remember your first day? Whether you’re one semester away from walking the stage or still trying to find the bio sci link from the C-train station, we all have days like our first (maybe yours was fansupertabulous. If so, high five!) when we feel lost, disconnected, or disengaged and overcome with uncertainty. With finals, graduation, and significant life desicions upon us, below is a cornucopia of programs, services, and advice to (hopefully) help you get through the next four years or four weeks.
Add this to your bookmarks/favourites now. Follow it religiously. It’s essentially your roadmap to get that cut, dyed, flat and fancy 8 X 11 piece of tree at the end of your degree.
Textbooks are expensive. Surprise! But fear not. If you can, always opt for used. Also, turns out some of your profs are ok with buying earlier editions (always make sure to check with them). And when you’re done with them, consign them. What’s better than being notified to pick up a cheque? Plus the only thing your books are doing right now is eating up space, collecting your dead skin cells and acting as room decor to make you look smarter than you really are. Where to buy and consign? Bound and Copied has you covered.
#thestruggleisreal regarding study space, but… This article. Enough said.
I want to raise my C to a C+
As a student at the U of C, you have access to a plethora of support tools to improve your academic performance. Find a tutor or a previous exam from your class through the SU’s Tutor Registry and Exam bank. Visit the Student Success Centre to improve your writing, research, and time management skills through workshops and individual consultations. Oh, and LibGuides are lyf. These are extremely helpful resources you don’t want to pass up if you want to excel in your studies.
Free food, stuff, and events
Take a break and indulge in all things free. Want some free swag? Hit up all the resource fairs! If you’re feeling hungry in the morning, drop by the Q and break the fast on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, you shouldn’t have to open your wallet in order to de-stress. Take advantage of the SU’s free yoga class on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Wednesdays in that Empty Space, or watch a free movie every Monday at The Den. Into Dance, Drama and Music? Claim your free seat at a School of Creative and Performing Arts event. Stay in the know by checking the SU’s and UCalgary’s event calendars regularly.
Read the bulletin boards
Get paid to answer research questions! Maybe you need a job, someone to edit your paper, or a cool event is coming up. Peruse through the sea of posters. Old school attention-grabbing but highly effective if you look long and hard enough. Something’s bound to catch your eye.
You don’t have to deactivate all your social media accounts
Seems counterintuitive but this is where the time management piece comes in. Manage your time by working in a social media slot. It’s a lot better to get a reasonable (15-30 minutes) daily dose than suffer from unwanted withdrawal symptoms. It’s a win win win win win situation! Plus, it’ll help you stay plugged in and connected to your classmates, campus, community and world. Follow the SU on Instagram and thumb their Facebook page, they share a lot of cool stuff. You won’t ragret it. Not even a single letter.
Get involved and make some friends!
Make the most of your overall postsecondary experience by taking part in something other than your classes. Involvement can be as simple as voting in student politics or joining a club. Check out opportunitites through Volunteer Services or become a Peer Helper with a variety of departments and offices on campus. Need to move? Join an intramural sports team! Transferable skills and extraordinary experiences aren’t the only things you come away with, but friendships and memories to last a lifetime. #cheese
Engage in self-care
Stay in bed all day. Run a bubble bath. Go for a run. Netflix. Gorge on all your fave snacks (not all at once). You need and deserve it. If you’re feeling down or need someone to talk to, take advantage of your 10 free counselling sessions at the SU Wellness Centre or drop by the Q or Women’s Resource Centre where trained peer supporters are ready to help.
It’s not a race
Some want to be a cog in the capitalist machine. Those who can’t do, teach. Some stay in school or go on to be really cool. All in all, you do you. No one is timing you. Sprint, jog, walk, or crawl we’ll all get somewhere sometime eventually. In the words of Lilly Tomlin “The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat”.
Phew. That was a lot of info. But you made it ☺ Congrats and thanks for reading! Oh, and one more thing – don’t forget to breathe.
5th year Arts student, Dianne Honorio, is tranquil as a forest, but on fire within. As swift as a coursing river, with the force of a great typhoon, and mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
Get involved with student politics
You have the right to be heard as a student who ultimately shapes and influences your post secondary experience and getting involved can be as simple as voting. Confused or have questions and ideas? Engage with your SLC by attending the weekly meetings, contacting your faculty rep(s), or running in the next election!