Photo: Rame Adbulkader.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A second-year details what she would have done differently

As September starts, the campus begins to fill up with new and returning students eager to begin the school year. The old students dreading what lies ahead, and the new students so unaware of the horrors that await them for the next four years. I remember my first year like it was just last year (I mean it was, but whatever).

Now if you are one of the young, innocent, university virgins, then listen up. Cause I am about to offer some advice from someone who may have made a few mistakes… correction: A LOT of mistakes. Here are a few of my regrets so hopefully, you can learn from me.

Number 1: Meal plans

So, I have heard many different opinions when it comes to the five day vs. the seven day. My friends who did the seven day, regretted it. Now, don’t get me wrong. The dining hall is so much better than most university food halls, but after about 70th time, even the best of us get sick of make your own pasta/pizza.  I had the five day meal plan, which worked out okay for me. I would buy food, cook on the weekends and use the plan during the week. I mean, I still got sick of it after awhile, even though the 24 hours, 5 days a week was really convenient when you are craving chicken nuggets at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Also, if you are a somewhat picky eater, trying to find food that you actually like is very difficult. If you are the type of person who only wants to eat a certain kind of food prepared a certain way then you’re probably going to be disappointed with the dining hall.

Sometimes, the food isn’t what you expect it to be. For example, you might pick up some chicken and then return to your table to discover it’s actually just super overcooked fish. The same food is often cooked differently each time. One day, you might have the best french fries in the world and the next you are just eating undercooked potatoes. So, if you’re the type that needs food to be perfectly consistent and actually cooked 100 per cent, then maybe the dining hall isn’t for you.

Number 2: 101 Week: A MUST!

Okay, so 101 Week is one of the most hyped up weeks of university, and if you are in first year you really must attend. And I know, $70-90 for a bag with a few trinkets might not seem worth it, but the memories are priceless. My biggest regret was not attending all the events I could fit into my schedule during my first week.

I was too overwhelmed moving into residence and trying to find my way around campus. I thought I would be too stressed if I stuffed my scheduled to the brim with all the events, but now? Major regrets. A lot of friendships are made during this week, as it’s a great way to meet new people while also having the time of your life.

Number 3: Studying is vital

Now I know, everyone hates studying. I, for one, started with the best intentions. First semester, I kept up with all my readings (I mean when you spend $300 on textbooks, you might as well actually use them), redid my notes after every lecture, and studied before every little quiz, midterm and the dreaded exams. I thought I had it all together. Then, I went home for Christmas break. After I came back, my habits changed. I never did my readings, barely took any notes, and would attempt to cram before every exam the night before. Boy, did my GPA feel it.

In summary

Balance is the key to everything. Don’t slack off,  after all, we are paying thousands of dollars for this. But also, don’t study too much and miss out on all the other amazing things first year has to offer. First year is a blessing and a curse, but the one thing that every student has in common is that we all got through it—whatever regrets come along with it.