Getting out there and finding your place

Stepping out of the car with your bags, unfolding those clothes into your new dorm and looking out onto campus: it all sinks in.

You finally made it and are about to embark on a significant rollercoaster for the next four years. Anxious, excited and overwhelmed at the same time, it is all a learning process with starting your new chapter attending Laurier.

Everyone is in the same boat with feeling uneasy and nervous but it is up to the individual to really channel themselves to get out there and pursue what they need to do in order to be successful in the next upcoming years.

But, how exactly do we do that? How do we ensure that we are getting the most out of our years? Just going to class and getting good marks is only part of it.

Fifth-year psychology and co-op student, Noelle Antkowiak seized the opportunity to make the most of her Laurier years by getting involved right away.

This year alone Antkowiak will be a residence life don, president of Fashin ‘N Motion, coach of a recreational team, participating in basketball and volleyball intramurals and Powderpuff —all while maintaining a part-time job.

“I like to keep busy and I feel more productive when I am because it keeps me on track,” said Antkowiak.

Although first years do not necessarily have to be involved that much in order to have a balanced year, Antkowiak’s drive to get involved with as many things as she wants proves to help her get through the year.

“I’ve stumbled into things that I love doing. From meeting people as well, they’ve invited me to join things,” she said, also noting, being involved has helped eased all the other stresses and woes brought on by University life.

“You get caught up with exam stress, boy/girl issues… you just need to find what you love to help you get through it.”

Getting ready to meet her first years and going into her second year as a don, Antkowiak plans to help her first years find the right step by guiding them in the right directions to make sure that they are getting the most out of their first year in residence.

“What I tell my students the first day is that your university career, — not just first year — what you’re going to get out of it, is what you put into it,” said Antkowiak.

“The more you try, the more things you do, the more you will get out of it.”

According to Antkowiak, being a don is all about making sure the first years are safe and having fun along the way and that there is someone there to guide them. “That’s what we want for students, to find their niche. We want to help them achieve that and we tell them, ‘you’re never going to know if you never try’”.

However, simply making sure you get to class, studying and getting the good marks does not mean you are getting an A+ in reaching your full potential at university.

“I’ve learned more outside of the classroom than inside the classroom; you gain so much from volunteering outside of what you’re learning and studying at school,” Antkowiak added. “Laurier has so much to offer. So many clubs and so many ways to get involved, you are going to find something you love. And if not, you can make your own club.”

The worst thing a student can do while attending university? Being afraid. “It’s their fear that keeps them back,” said Antkowiak on first years that are hesitant to get out and get involved. “They get anxiety that they’re going to fail or it’s intimidating to make friends, but we all go through it”.

The Get Involved Fair will be held Sept. 5th and will feature hundreds of clubs and volunteer opportunities for students to get involved.

When asked about the theme Antkowiak wants to project towards her first years, the first word that popped into her head was: “fearless.”

“In order to reach your goals and be that person you wanted to be, you have to be fearless,” she said.

“You have to want it and you have to try it. You have to put yourself out there and that’s one of the hardest things you can do and that’s pretty scary especially for first years”.

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