Congratulations on hitting the six week mark of a new school year! Like many others here at Nipissing U, these past six weeks have been my first in post secondary, and man, have they ever been wild. University is a little overwhelming, and quite frankly, it’s easy to let yourself get swallowed by all of the homework, readings, and other educational aspects of the school. While I’m sure some of you have found your inner balance between schoolwork and a social life, I know there are many students like myself, whose claim to fame is a weekly nose dive on the not-so-vertical staircase while going through the latest course readings. No kidding, I’m talking every single week.
But what else can a person do while they’re in University?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s very possible to do more than give your new home your actual blood, sweat, and tears. Here I’ll share with you a couple of the super simple things I’ve learned, that will be sure to change your school experience for the better.
Talk to the Person Sitting Next to You.
This is the most obvious, and least followed through with advice I can offer! Lets face it, making friends at your new school is essential. They can be your confidant, your study partner, and not to mention the person who does your morning coffee runs––I mean, how great would that be?––the perks of having an on-campus friend are endless! While you’re not in kindergarten anymore, and thus cannot bribe them with your new packet of stickers (though I’m sure you’re right, and sparkly stickers are all the rage these days), the hardest part about making friends is simply taking that awkward first step and saying hi. The biggest conspiracy about university life is that after the first week everyone has a group of friends exclusive to the rest of campus, and that you’d be an unwelcome addition. This isn’t true! So, get yourself out there, and talk to someone. I can guarantee that they’re just as nervous as you are, and they’ll be relieved that you were the first one to break the ice. Even if you mispronounced your own name… Twice.
Visit The Humane Society.
This is a shout-out to the residence folks who can’t bring their furry forever friends with them to their new homes. While this does have its perks, life gets awfully lonely without your partner in crime. Undoubtedly no less lonely with your substitute goldfish. Volunteering at The Humane Society is a great way to de-stress, and a sure do-good for both you and the animals you get to bond with.
Experience Gallery Hops and Local Shops!
Don’t forget that North Bay is a quaint little town with a lot to offer! Be sure to take advantage of the gallery hops, the heritage museum, the seasonal fairs, and the local shops only a few short kilometers away from campus. If nothing else, it’s an email-worthy conversation starter, and a cool way to immerse yourself in the local events that you might otherwise never experience. If nothing else, think about all of the neat souvenirs you can collect!
We All Know the Cliché … Join a Club!
You know that club your professor keeps droning on and on about? The one that you only half listen to them talk about as you wonder what it is you’re going to do tonight? Well, what are you waiting for? Check it out! I realize this is the most cliché student-to-student advice I could possibly give you, and you’re probably rolling your eyes at the thought of another “this is the best way to have a good university experience” lecture. So, let me tell you upfront that joining a club can be either the best or worst experience of your life. That’s right, I said worst. My best advice is that you be sure to follow your interests, and don’t commit to more than you can handle. Keeping this in mind, you can’t possibly go wrong!
Lastly, Don’t Forget to Do Your Homework.
I’ve spent all of this time telling you not to do your homework, and now I feel the need to remind you that you should probably remember to do your homework. After all, this is what you’re here for. While there are so many great extra-curriculars to experience both on and off campus, it’s okay to find yourself tripping over the staircase every now and again (so long as nobody is watching)! Make yourself a cup of tea, curl up in the library with those course readings, and own tomorrow’s class discussion.
Adventure is in your grasp! You just have to remember to check out of your studies long enough to catch it.