It’s officially back-to-school season. This year, Queen’s has the honour of both the Bhuiyan sisters being in attendance. My little sister, Lamia, is starting her Queen’s journey just as mine is drawing to a close. Eager to impart my wisdom and share in her excitement for university, we met for a chat the day after she moved into residence.

My sister opened our conversation by saying, “When you said you sang “Wonderwall” in a stadium during frosh week, I thought you were exaggerating.”

Nope, I wasn’t.

My sister and I both picked Queen’s because it had what our high schools lacked: school spirit —one only has to walk through the tricolour-riddled University District during Homecoming to see what I mean. My sister asked me when HoCo was going to happen way back in July because her high school friends were already planning to visit campus for the infamous day. From HoCo to St. Paddy’s, students from other universities have been joining the festivities in Kingston for years. If it’s not my high school friends, it’s my housemate’s high school friends —basically, cramped sleepovers are inevitable (my sister knows she’ll have to host me whenever I visit as an alumni). It’s just proof everyone wants to be a Queen’s student sometimes.

“It’s just proof everyone wants to be a Queen’s student sometimes.”

Of course, the school spirit is often mixed with the notorious party culture at Queen’s, which can result in the best of times and the worst of times. For the millionth time, my sister asked, “You don’t drink at all?” Personally, choosing not to drink is something I’m proud of, but I don’t overtly promote it to other people. I told my sister what I’m telling you now: you’re free to choose what you want to experience. At this point in your life, you’re going to face a lot of choices with no one telling you what to do. Drink and party, don’t drink and party, party but don’t drink —I encourage you to live your best life, however you define it.

“You’re free to choose what you want to experience… you’re going to face a lot of choices with no one telling you what to do.”

Listening to my sister talk about her residence made me really nostalgic. None of us realize it at the time, but having such a tight-knit community of people our age is an experience we’ll probably never have again. She mentioned her floor played Cards Against Humanity together before heading out to University Avenue, and I suddenly felt like a million years old.

My sister, like many other first years —and fourth years, let’s be honest —, also has no idea what she’d like to do in the post-university future. I advised her to try everything during her time on campus. The best way to try things, besides taking new courses, is by joining clubs. I’m a science student who didn’t realize how much I love writing until my pitch was selected for MUSE Magazine’s December 2016 print issue. I’ve been a contributor ever since, and I’m already looking for writing outlets after I graduate. Seriously, clubs are free, provide experience, and introduce you to some awesome people.

My sister and I parted ways so she could get ready for her next frosh week activity. I can’t help but feel second-hand excitement for all of the first years in the process of making the memories I now cherish in my final year at Queen’s —from getting a Lazy 4-piece at midnight with your floor mates to pulling all-nighters at Stauff because you’re screwed for the final to using your real ID at Stages for the first time.

To the Class of 2023, my last bit of wisdom is to enjoy this year while it lasts because soon you’ll be like me, a nostalgic fourth year giving advice.

Header Source: Tiasha Bhuiyan