First year survival guide

Congratulations incoming Golden Hawks! Since you’ve just made one of the best decisions of your life by choosing Laurier, it’s clear that you all have a pretty good head on your shoulders. Nonetheless, any little tidbits of wisdom you can gain from our experiences (and mistakes) can help make your university transition as smooth as butter. Here’s the breakdown on how to take first year in stride!

Things I know now that I wish I knew in First Year

1. Get involved with extracurricular activities. It may be scary going to the first meeting by yourself but the worst thing that can happen is that you find out that the club isn’t for you. The best thing that can happen is you make new friends, find a new interest, and start making memories at university right from the get go.

2. A “B” is an amazing grade, even if you’re used to 90s in high school. The games have changed, so the curve is different. Don’t freak out when your grades go down a bit from what you were used to a year ago, it happens to everyone.

Dishes can ruin friendships. Dirty ones that are left on the couch, the counter, in the sink, or clean ones filling up the drying rack or dishwasher for days on end will drive you or your roommates nuts! Figure out a plan that works for everyone who uses the kitchen and stick to it to avoid major blowups from long term pent up dish rage.

4. There’s no need to worry about signing a lease on a place for second year in October. There will be loads of places still up for grabs or just beginning to be advertised in January. As the year goes on you’ll get to know the people around you a little better and can make a better decision about who you can and cannot stand to live with.

5. Talk to your profs! They can be intimidating but it’s worth visiting them because then you’ll know what they want from assignments. Also, they can provide you with specific sources or interesting information from personal experience about the topic you’re studying and they can get to know who you, which is good for participation marks and when asking for refereces.

Things to avoid

1. The geese: Seriously, watch out! These things bite, chase, squawk and take no mercy.

2. Underage wristbands from Wilf’s: Remember when you were little and had to wear the height restriction band at Wonderland so you couldn’t go on all the cool roller coasters? Well, these bright neon underage wristbands given past 9:00pm are just like that, only worse since they stop you from drinking. Add that to the Xs crossed on both of your hands and you might as well stamp “first year” right on your forehead. Be smart and hit up a kegger instead.

3. Walking on the Hawk in the Hall of Fame: Just. Don’t. Do. It.

4. The library, when New Venture is due: When the business kids have their first-year-project-from-hell, they flock to and take over the library for at least a week straight before each assignment deadline. Simplify your life and just hit the books back in residence for a few days.

On roommates and residence

Welcome to the life of having a roommate in quite confined quarters of residence. A time to put yourself out there, meet new people, make lifelong friends and, of course, the most exciting part, escape from the extreme annoyance of being under the same roof as your parents and having to follow their nagging rules.

For those of you who are moving in with a friend, prepare yourself to get annoyed with them endlessly, but also take this chance to make your friendship blossom into an even closer bond. You will see your friends’ true colours, realize their biggest pet peeves, know when to back off and know when they need you the most.

Most importantly, you will be able to look back on your first year at Laurier with memories of your roommate that will last you a lifetime. Many memories will be good, some will be tad bit rocky but, in the end, both of you will look back and reminisce about all the adventures you had with each other – with your friend, your roommate and, in some cases, your partner in crime.

Now to those of you who are walking into residence blind to who your mystery roommate will be, there are four key words that must be drilled into your ready-to-learn brains: keep an open mind! I understand that there are a number of you who will be stuck in a double dorm situation when having wanted a single room or even a completely different living arrangement but that is no reason to shut out your future roomie and not give them a chance.

Expect the worst and hope for the best. There is no need to take your anger out on your new roommate; after all, it’s not their fault that you’re living together. They may hate the situation as well, but by giving your roommate a chance, there is a strong likelihood that you’ll develop a lifelong friendship.

You might have a roommate who will gossip with you until 2:00 in the morning, or someone who is really computer savvy and can lend you a helping hand in those seemingly dire situations when you have five minutes to hand your paper in, your printer doesn’t work and you are ready to throw your computer out the window.

In the situation where you are paired up with a person who isn’t quite your type, maybe he’s a bit of a character or just someone you don’t really click with, remind yourself that this time will end. It is an obstacle and a learning experience, and you can and will overcome it.

This may also be a good opportunity for you to really branch out and meet new people who aren’t found in the walls of your bedroom.

Helpful Hints

Although it may sound stupid, create a roommate agreement (your don will explain these to you). It can be as simple as using your own garbage can or something more important such as not being allowed to turn the light on until a certain hour. It can help prevent the little bickers that put you in a funk for the rest of the day.

Confront your roommate when something is aggravating you. If you let it bottle up, your roommate is definitely going to see your wrath, which probably wont end up too well.
Don’t be a hobbit! Stay out of your room as much as possible.

Though its fun creeping all your friends’ frosh photos on Facebook, the first two weeks is when you really have to put yourself out there and meet your peers.

Be respectful of when your roommate wants to sleep. There are common rooms on every floor, so use them! There is nothing more annoying than hearing the constant tapping of the keyboard at the wee hours of the morning when trying to get that beauty rest.

You can’t change the ones you are with but you can change the way you react to them. Rooming with someone who grinds your gears or yanks your chain? Make yourself the bigger person and figure out how to coexist on a friendly basis. As Miranda Bailey, from Grey’s Anatomy, says, “rise above”.

Privacy! Since there are no walls other than the four that create your cube shaped room, allow for the two of you to have your own time once in a while.

Make these next eight months really count, show people who you are and meet new people everyday. These times are the best of your teenage lives so embrace it and take it to your fullest advantage! Let there be no regrets!

What they don’t teach you in class

So, you’ve made the daunting decision of which university to attend, and with less than two months to go, questions are presumably entering your mind about what you should expect. Not to worry, the following tips are exactly what you need to get you started.

Below is a list of things I wish I would have known prior to entering my first year here at Laurier. They’re the kinds of things you won’t learn from a teacher. Don’t worry though, for once you get here and get the hang of things, you won’t want to leave!

Top 10 Things You Should Know About WLU:

1.Don’t walk on the Hawk in the Hall of Fame—EVER. Just don’t do it. Of course, you can, but only if you want people to start screaming at you. Consider yourself warned.

2.Laurier students have created their own calendar; weekends typically start on Wednesday, even if a midterm follows the next day.

3.If you’re enrolled in an Arts program, it’s best you try to desensitize yourself because you won’t go a week without some business kid bashing your program.

4.On the above note—the business building’s sparkly floors are that way because they’re comprised of the business kids’ souls. (Just kidding biz kids, I’m sure that’s just a nasty rumour).

5.You’ll soon learn that classes beginning at 8:30am were not a good idea.

6.By the end of the year you’ll have gold medals in Flip Cup, Beer Pong, and Kings.

7.You don’t have to be nervous about making new friends; everyone here is just as eager as you.

8.Getting your books early from the bookstore may seem like a good idea, but wait until you get the list and see if you can get some from an outside source—There’s no point in spending more drinking money than you have to.

9.The whole meal plan thing can be confusing with all the accounts. Transfer the majority of it into the convenience account so you don’t get screwed over when you are in need of that late night pizza when you’re cramming for your Psych final.

10.Our campus takes approximately ten minutes to walk from end to end so waking up ten minutes before class is totally doable.

The most important thing to remember—you’re now an official Laurier Golden Hawk, which means you have to rock the purple and gold for every occasion. Rock out with your hawk out and enjoy the amazing experience that awaits you!

Technology must-haves

Trying to balance your first year at university can be nerve-racking. Keeping up with the latest gadgets available to make the most of your experience at university without the added stress of technial glitches is a must for any first-year university student. Between juggling both your social life and academics, you’ll need a little extra help.

So here are the top five must have tech gadgets to help you excel in both of these important realms of university life.


A laptop is the most important tech must-have. This is where you work on your assignments, watch movies and, most importantly, use Facebook. The new Macbook Pro 13 inch at $1,249 is the laptop to have. This is because it is packed with all the applications you need for work with Microsoft Office and lifestyle apps with iLife and no viruses to worry about, all in a beautiful and strong aluminum build body.


Cellphones in 2010 must have 3G mobile internet, MMS, email, multimedia, Facebook, Twitter, a decent camera and the ability to, well, make phone calls. Two smartphones that do all of this and more are the iPhone 4 at $199 and the Blackberry Bold at $99.

Printer and extra cartridges

Many of your classes will require you to hand in both a paper copy and a electronic copy of an assignment. A reliable printer with extra ink cartridges is a must for those late-night paper-writing marathons. The Lexmark Interact S605 does it all: copy, scan and print, with wireless printing at a reasonable $229 price tag.

External hard drive

To backup your precious lecture notes and have extra storage for media content downloaded from DC++ (a local P2P program) you will need a reliable external hard drive. The Western Digital Elements 1.5TB (1500 GB) hard drive has all of that at an affordable $119 price tag.

Wireless dongle

Laurier wireless on campus is well known for its random dropouts, and with ResNet being next to impossible to use at peak hours, you can avoid the hassle and stay connected with a wirless dongle like Rogers Rocket Stick priced at $29 a month.