31 Aug Four Things I Wish I Knew in First Year: Confessions of a Nostalgic Fourth Year
Calling all froshies!!! I’m about to lay down some serious ~wisdom~ about this weird and wild ride that you’re about to embark on: university.
You may have some preconceived notions about what university is like, and most of them are probably true – the lack of sleep, the parties, the amazing friends, and that feeling of belonging are all part of the package. That being said, there are a lot of things that you won’t understand or appreciate about university until you’ve lived it – until you’ve made all the right mistakes.
I’m here to discuss five things that I wish I knew about “doing university” when I was in first year. Believe me you, I’ve made all the right mistakes and, as happy as I am for the learning process, I wish someone had sat me down and taught me a few “dos and don’ts.” So, I’m gonna share four tips with you so that you can begin relishing in your glory days earlier than I did. Tip number one: don’t wear a backpack or your frosh week bracelet if you plan on walking down University Street one night or you will stick out like a sore thumb. Kidding! (But seriously – please don’t do that.)
- Res is actually a lot doper than you realize so LIVE IT UP with your floormates. You’re only gonna do res once in your undergrad and maybe in your whole life, so enjoy it as much as you can. There are so many perks to living in res: dorm parties, countless buddies at your disposal, general shenanigans. And don’t even get me started on the magic of meal replacements – a luxury you will soon come to love. Sure, some parts are shitty. Like, I can’t tell you how many times I had to shower in a PUDDLE of mucky drain water in Brock 0. But it’s part of the experience. (And news flash: the cleanliness situation is not much better in the infamous student district, so get used to it kids.)
- Join a club! I know this sounds like a vanilla recommendation but trust me. There are so many benefits to getting involved I could write a whole article about it, but here are the Cliff’s Notes: it looks damn good on a resume; it will give you something to do besides coursework; it will expand your interests and introduce you to motivated and likeminded people; and here’s the kicker: joining the club scene will be your key to the wildest parties at Queen’s. I might be biased (so pls do your own research) but, in my humble opinion, these are the most amazing clubs at Queen’s: VCFS, Queen’s International Affairs Association, Project Red, Queen’s Players, QFIN, Jack.org, Improv Club, DSC, QECC, QHacks, and MUSE Magazine (duh). That ain’t even ~scraping~ the surface.
- University is all about being strategic with your time or, in other words, doing the least amount of work to get the best grades. We simply cannot do it all, and that’s just that. It takes a while to figure it all out (e.g., what readings are most essential out of the five billion that are assigned, what assignments require maximum effort and which assignments require minimal, etc.), but once you do, it’ll save you a lot of long nights, tears, and stress. There’s a study floating around which basically says that it’s LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to make time for exercise, recreation, eating, sleeping, and extracurricular activities if we students do everything assigned to us. So, it’s okay to skip a few readings. It’s okay to sometimes accept the B and take a night off if you’re feeling super overwhelmed. We’re not wired to be in a constant state of stress, so find out what’s important and dedicate your precious time to those tasks first and foremost.
- This tidbit of wisdom speaks for itself: university will be over in the blink of an eye so enjoy it while it lasts. You won’t believe me until you’re in my position – entering fourth year, on the brink of washed up, adulthood staring you in the FACE. If you’re wondering why you hear this piece of advice over and over, it’s because it’s so true.
University will be one of the most incredible, crazy, and weird experiences of your life. It’s the milestone that you looked forward to for years, and it will be the milestone that you look back on as the best time ever – unmatched by anything else. Never again will you stay up ‘till 2 AM at Club Stauff, crying into your textbook or laughing in a fit of hysteria. Never again will you have young adulthood as a scapegoat to excuse your questionable decisions. Never again will you party as hard, feel as free, love as deeply. We’re not tied to our parents (sorry mom and dad!), or mortgages, or full-time jobs, or babies. Your only responsibility for the next four years is to live it up. These are your glory days.
The MUSE family and I are wishing you the very best in the coming months. Breathe – you got this!!! And if you feel like buying me a four piece from Lazy for bestowing all of this wisdom, I would not be opposed.