The Undergrad Guide: November Blues Edition

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This is for the student who is nervous to leave the comfort of their hometown. For the girl who misses her high school hallways and the boy that misses his sports team he grew up with. This area is for the lost, the confused, and the scared. But also for the excited… for those that see a journey, that see a hopeful destination but the clouds, debris, and the unknown are covering the path to get there. So, I urge you please to turn to your neighbour, befriend the girl that lives across the hall, say “hi” to the fellow rookie, and sit next to the person that is alone during those dreaded tutorials— because in four years, that girl across the hall could be your best friend, your comfort. And that sports team that makes you feel like a child could become like your new parents, the ones you left at home. And those taunting lecture halls and the minuscule tutorial classes will expand your knowledge on topics you had no idea existed.

This one is for the girl who is terrified, yet ready for a journey. This is for the guy who is prepared for a challenge but doesn’t know where to start. This is for the students that are looking at campus not sure why the heck they chose such a scarily beautiful place to be their new home. Although I can’t be your guide through the unexplored, I can attempt to prepare you through the journey of your lifetime. So, behold: your unofficial directory to your first exam, your first heartbreak and overwhelming wave of homesickness; an attempt to lead you through the chaos of the university district, the CoGro line that seems endless, and the regretful nights that are guaranteed to occur. This will be a collection of words, lists, and letters from those who have unknowingly fallen in love with their own journey and can only hope that you do too.

I assure you when people say “don’t blink, these four years go by faster than you could ever imagine,” they were not wrong. Although the campus seems daunting, with its unknown buildings, secret passageways, unfamiliar faces, and everything else in between, fearlessly accept it. Before you know it, you will look around and this place won’t seem scary at all. Soon you will realize that if you can get through the unfamiliar today, you can most definitely walk into the unknown tomorrow.

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As this month overwhelms us with its beauty and cold weather, the November blues begin to set in. So, do not worry if you feel a sense of dread looming over your everyday actions and you find yourself counting down the minutes until your head hits your pillow.

For some unknown reason, November seems to be a time of loneliness, confusion and dread. Maybe it’s because as the leaves begin to fall reality sets in. This is your life now, quite literally alone without your parents, and as seasons begin to change, there is a deep realization that you are too. University is a time of overwhelming differences and November seems to be the time that the hits hard.

To push you through, here are some everyday things that I do when I’m overwhelmed with schoolwork, when I feel utterly alone, and when the day seems hopeless; however, these little things help to make life a little more bearable.

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1. Say three things you’re thankful for.
Seems easy right? Some days it’s not, and that’s nothing to worry about. I find it’s these days that I need to be the most grateful. The days I need to step back and remember where I am, who has helped me get here, and how much of a privilege this beautiful opportunity is.

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2. Head to the local coffee shop
Whether it’s on campus, downtown, or somewhere new, there is something serene and peaceful about a coffee shop. Get your favourite latte and a little treat and do some work. If you’re looking to escape even more, don’t bring your laptop or allow NO work to happen. Surround yourself with today, read the news, and embrace this new surrounding.

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3. Cozy up with your favourite movie
There is a movie for every feel, whether it’s action-packed, a British indie film, or your favourite rom-com. Cozy up with a blanket, light a candle, and grab something sweet and something salty while you indulge in a little “me” time.

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4. Hit the gym
This may sound foreign, or if you’re a gym lover, may seem obvious. Although physical activity may be opposite of what you feel like doing, I promise the gym is great! Exercising releases endorphins that make your body happy and the health benefits are endless! (It’s true, Google it!)

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5. Hit the campus bar
QP is legendary, and even better, its sangria and cheap eats! Grab a group of friends and enjoy a night with each other. Take your beginning-of-the-night snaps and then put your phones away— and no talking about schoolwork. Focus on the Queen’s environment and the friends you have been so lucky to make!

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6. Look into campus resources
Life is sometimes hard, but mental illness is always serious. It can bury you without any signs. Queen’s offers great Student Wellness Services that can help you figure this out. It’s okay to be sad, feel anxious and feel a little lost, but what’s important is figuring out these emotions and getting help when it’s needed.

Whether it’s the drop in temperature or the dread of midterms, November is overwhelming. There is a certain difficulty in things that used to seem so effortless that might be hard to shake and being in a new place may not always help. It’s inevitable and happens to more people than you know. But, when you look around, you’ll realize that this strange place will seem like home and these consuming emotions will get sorted out. Take it day by day because, before you know it, you’ll blink and it will be time to leave this home.

Emily Battler
Online Contributor