When I look back on who I was in first year, I can’t help but smile fondly at my younger self while also cringing. Lots and lots of cringing. Because now that I know better, there’s so many things I could have done differently in first year that would have helped me get more out of my experience. University flies by and I strongly believe in grasping every ounce of value you can from it while having the best time possible. Here’s a few things to remember during your first year!
1. Don’t stress too much over grades
It’s easy to go from grade 12 where you’re constantly hustling to get the best marks possible and bring that same level of stress and anxiety into university. While it’s important to work hard in order to succeed, there’s so many growing experiences you’ll have that aren’t involved with school. Worrying to much about your marks can really get in the way of your enjoyment of this exciting time! The trick is to do great work without being too hard on yourself.
2. Put yourself out there
This is something I was able to successfully do in my first year, and it’s continued to benefit me since. Taking on challenges and opportunities in order to develop yourself as a student and a person are exactly what first year is all about. You might be hesitant at first, but once you get comfortable in your surroundings there’s nothing that can stop you.
3. Explore Toronto!
Studying in downtown Toronto is one of the best things about Ryerson, and you definitely should take advantage of all the city has to offer by doing some exploring! This is something I definitely wish I prioritized in my first year, since later on I had absolutely no foundational knowledge for where anything was in the city. I suggest checking out different neighbourhoods like the Entertainment District, the Harbourfront, Queen Street West, and Kensington!
4. Learn something new
While you’ll have your core classes in your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to take electives available from a variety of different subjects. I was able to take a class in philosophy in my first year, which was completely foreign to me, and it ended up being a perfect fit for me and and I’ve taken two more classes since. Your first year is the perfect opportunity to expand your learning and try out different subjects that might just become a new passion!
University is all about exploring a world outside your own, so don’t wait until your later years to start! Getting right in the thick of it first year and having bunch of great new experiences will certainly set an important tone for the next three years. You can thank me later!