Cord Picks: Best & worst advice for entering university

Reading Time: 6 minutes

File Photo / Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Make yourself known to your professors

The best advice I received when entering university was from my dad, who happens to be a Laurier alumnus himself.

Among many of the wise and funny (at least to him) pieces of advice he passed on to me, the most important one was making myself known to my professors.

He encouraged me to push against my natural tendency to stay quiet and not speak up for myself, and it made a big difference in how seriously I took my classes and how much I enjoyed them.

There is far more accountability involved when a professor knows your name and you actively care about what they think of your work and how you conduct yourself.

It always makes me want to try harder when someone recognizes me and knows my name, since I want to live up to their expectations.

The worst advice I got was to do everything you can to stay in touch with your high school friends, since they will be your friends for the rest of your life.

I still talk to some people from high school, and I completely see the merit in holding meaningful friendships close to you.

But sometimes people are only meant to stay in your life for certain periods of time, and forcing something that just doesn’t work with a certain stage in your life will just make you unhappy.

Instead, branch out to new people and don’t beat yourself up over the friendships that were never supposed to last longer than high school in the first place.

Emily Waitson, Opinion Editor

 

Make reading a habit, get involved

I got a whole lot of advice when I was entering university. A lot of it was the standard stuff that you here from parents and teachers; things like ‘always focus on your school work’ and ‘profs won’t give you a free ride, you’ll actually have to work for it’.

To a certain extent this stuff is all true and valuable for those entering university. However I think the most valuable advice that I got surrounding the purely academic part of university was from my grade 12 history teacher.

His advice to us was along the lines of this: get used to reading every day now, especially if you’re going into the arts.

Read and read because you will do a lot of it, and he was right. I’m glad I kept in mind what he said because the reading only gets longer and longer here.

The other piece of advice is something that I didn’t follow until well into my time here at Laurier and that’s getting involved.

I did barely anything except go to class in high school and I seriously regretted it.

If I were to pass on any wisdom to first years I would say find something that isn’t class work and put your time into it, whether it’s going to the gym, joining a club, or writing for your school paper find something you love and your time here will be so much more fulfilling.

Michael Oliveri, Arts and Life Editor

Travel as much as you can

With any luck, Laurier will start to feel like home for you very soon. Like all of us, you’ll get absorbed into the so-called “Laurier bubble” and stay in the Albert to Regina, Hemlock to Ezra borders, perhaps occasionally making the trek to UpTown or Conestoga Mall.

The best advice I got coming into university was to ignore all that — travel as much as you can, while you can.

That could be checking out the latest movie in Kitchener’s independent theatre, The Apollo, or heading to THE place to get high end stationery in Cambridge, Phidon Pens, all travel expenses included on your GRT bus pass.

That could also mean taking part in one of the many travel summer courses offered through Laurier or find yourself living abroad for a year as part of the exchange program.

Some of my most rewarding experiences haven’t been at Laurier at all — from my first year residence learning community trip to Puerto Rico to my semester at the University of Birmingham, I learned more about myself and gained so many more life skills by venturing out of the bubble.

Laurier also offers tonnes of scholarships and funding opportunities for you to get involved outside of campus so you can go travelling even if you’re OSAP dependent like me.

This is probably your first time living on your own, so make the most of it. Have adventures, get out of your comfort zone and explore the world around you. There’s plenty to see and explore if you can drag yourself off of Netflix every once and a while!

Madeline McInnis, Features Editor

 

Get out of your dorm room

The best advice I ever got going into university was that your dorm room is only a place to sleep, shower and shit at, a little thing I like to call the “3 S’s of School.”

Living in a new dorm with a random person can be terrifying.

I already know you have watched the movie The Roomate in 2011 where the pitiful downfall of a thriving university student is her psychotic roommate who goes on a killing spree.

I like to think I am more optimistic than believing in the mass consumerism of Hollywood, but roommates can be unnerving for a messy girl that enjoyed having her bedroom as a quiet sanctuary to escape from the real world.

With great fun soon does come great responsibility and all of your work will be taking up tonnes of your time and you will start to notice how often you are out of the room.

The lack of study room available in most residences is almost a good thing, so thanks Laurier for your 1960’s design layout.

With the mess and stress of midterms, this is an optimal time to make use of Laurier’s on-campus study spaces, a great way to ace your midterms and a time to get away from your crazy roommate.

Kate Weber, Online Editor

 

Leave your comfort zone

Being one of the first people to attend university in my family, I didn’t really get the experience of having each relative sit me down and provide me with all of their hard earned wisdom.

I can’t say I missed hearing about uncle Joe’s binge drinking exploits, but I was desperate for some advice, so I did what anyone who grew up in the digital age would do: I looked it up online.

I actually got some great advice from the internet, and one of the pieces that stood out to me was a classic: step outside of your comfort zone.

Unfortunately, it’s so nice to feel safe that we often forget it can be a good thing to push yourself. I did this by applying for a ton of club positions, even if I wasn’t that interested in them, and because of those opportunities I have grown so much.

The worst advice I received was written on the face of almost every adult who heard I was majoring in English.

They asked how I could possibly find a job after graduation, then they tried to divert me to their personal favourite “growing industry.”

To me, university isn’t for teaching you how to get a job, it’s for exploring the things you want to learn.

I’m confident that when I’m looking back on the time I spent at Laurier, I’m going to be glad that I actually enjoyed what I was doing, both inside and outside of the lecture hall.

Sara Burgess, Senior Copy Editor

 

Start early, attend review sessions

The best advice I got entering university was start assignments as soon as possible and no matter how many classes you skip, make sure you go to the review classes before exams.

Starting assignments and projects as soon as possible will make your university experience so much more enjoyable.

That’s not to say that you can’t get away with starting things last minute, but there’s no better feeling than knowing that you’ve gotten school work out of the way when you’re enjoying your free time.

Even if you don’t finish right away, I guarantee that you will be more likely to go back complete the work before the deadline if you have already begun the assignment.

Going to review classes is probably the smartest thing you can do at university. No matter how hard we try, skipping class can become inevitable.

The best way to make sure you’ve covered all your bases is to go to review classes because this is when professors tell you the most important material you need to know going into an exam.

If you’re lucky, they might even give out a question or two directly on the exam.

Pranav Desai, Sports Editor

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