Tips and Techniques For Incoming Students

Coming to university can be one of the biggest decisions for some, while being the easiest decision for others. Some people may have dreamed about a certain university all their lives and others may have no idea where to start when looking at different schools, and I can tell you I was one of these students. I knew I wanted to become a teacher but I had no idea where to go, what school to apply to, or how far I wanted to be from home. Four years later, I am finishing my undergrad and only have teacher’s college left in the upcoming school year, and I can honestly say that coming to Nipissing University was the best decision I could have made to pursue my dreams.

Looking back over the past four years, I have learned a few tips and tricks that may help you as a new university student. One worry you may have is the university workload, and how you will keep up with the assignments and weekly readings. My best advice that has worked for me is to look at each class’ workload one week at a time. I have found this helps reduce stress because you are finishing what you need for the week instead of worrying about trying to get ahead on schoolwork.

Another technique I have used within the past four years that has helped me stay on top of my workload is to lay out all my assignments that are due during the semester on a large calendar. By doing this, it allows you to be aware of upcoming assignments that are due within each month and if you have a week that seems really busy, you have the ability to plan for it.

The last tip that has helped me to keep up on the workload is to create a weekly homework schedule to follow. By only concentrating on a few class readings or assignments each day, your workload becomes less overwhelming and more manageable. With only having to complete a few readings/assignments a day, you will create more time to hang out with friends, and participate in all the different events the university has to offer throughout the school year.

A second concern you may have is when I come to university, how do I stay healthy, avoiding this frosh 15 that everyone keeps telling me about? My first recommendation is to make your lunch and dinners, and bring them to school with you instead of always eating from the cafeteria. At Nipissing University, you have the opportunity to make all your meals because every residence has a full kitchen. I found by cooking my own meals, I could choose what I wanted to eat, it was cheaper, and it was a time period where I could be with my roommates and create family meals for us all to eat and talk over. It was a great bonding opportunity for our room.

Another healthy recommendation is to stay active. As a Nipissing University student, you have full access to the newly renovated gym with your student card that you will receive on your first week of school. Going to the gym can help you reduce stress, and it can be a time where you and your friends can go workout together and catch up with one another. If working out with weights or machines isn’t your style, there are always intramural activities you can join with friends, free workout classes (Zumba, Yoga, Muscle Classes, Step classes etc.) or squash courts that you can use without any fee.

If the gym scene is not your thing, there are numerous trails that are right behind Nipissing University that you can use at any time that are very well laid out. Since I have started university, I have found myself to be more of an “outdoorsy” person, and I spend lots of time on these trails all year round as it is exciting, and the scenery is beautiful.

In the wintertime, you may think to yourself, I really want to try winter sports with some friends. At Nipissing University, you will have the ability to rent snowshoes and cross-country skis to use on the trails behind the school. If you are into downhill skiing or snowboarding, there is also a ski hill that is only a bus ride away. Staying healthy by exercising is a good opportunity for you to get outside, and have a good time with friends as you try new activities, meanwhile reducing stress.

Lastly, some student shortcuts I have found to be effective over the past four years are as follows; get involved with student life at Nipissing University. It will provide you with lots of fun, ample opportunities to make new friends, and creates a time to get out of your residence room for a while.

Make sure to find that divide between fun and schoolwork. As a university student, this was my biggest challenge. I always thought I should be doing homework and have no fun, but in the last couple years, I finally learned that divide. I find I am doing better in school and having more fun with many new people I have met.

Finally, my last piece of advice for a new university student is, if you are having trouble with school work, or missing home, there are always people around the school to talk to. I have found that people at Nipissing are very friendly, and tend to help you in any way possible. Coming to university, I was very shy, timid and was afraid to ask professors for help if I needed it, but I have learned that they are more than willing to help you at any time, and very friendly people. Do not be afraid to ask questions, professors enjoy them, and many times it sparks discussions within the classroom. Just remember, if you are questioning something, or not understanding a concept, there are probably other people around you who do not understand either. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it will benefit you and others in the long run.

I hope these small tips and techniques will help you in your upcoming university career, allow you to take in the new opportunities all around you and let you realize you made the right decision by experiencing the University Life.

Meagan Wills
4th Year Primary/Junior Concurrent Education, Psychology