As the new school year is upon us, it is important to reflect on past experiences in the educational system. For some, maybe you are still in the “small steps”, like elementary school or even high school. For others, perhaps this year you are taking a giant step—a leap, really—and attending a post-secondary institution. Regardless, I’d like to share with you the five things I learned from my freshman year at Nipissing University:
- Doing laundry isn’t that bad
Often a massive fear for freshman students is the need to do one’s own laundry. In reality, though, doing laundry is not that bad. Sure, you may have to walk up and down a bunch of stairs, or even walk out into the rain or snow (if you live in TRC like I did in first year). Usually, though, the process is quick and relatively painless!
- Not all roommates will be your best friends
Real talk: there is a very high chance that you will not like your first-year roommate(s). This is not to say that all your roommate encounters will be negative. I know people who did become best friends with their freshman roommates. In my second year I actually became really good friends with my roommate! In any case, just try to make the best of the situation and always remember that you can talk to your don if you need to sort out a situation!
- Take advantage of the free food!
Stop buying Kraft Dinner by the case! It didn’t take me long in first year to learn that the staff of both the school and the residences know how much students love free food. Pretty much any event you go to will have food. Go to that basketball game, or that pep rally, or even an academic advising event; most likely they will have food! Free food is also a great incentive for you to become involved in any leadership position because most of the time they feed you during training!
- Be open to new experiences!
There are countless ways for you to get involved this year. Nipissing and the surrounding area offer several groups, campaigns, and volunteer opportunities for you to get involved in. If volunteering isn’t your thing you can join a club, or go do something that you are hesitant to!
- Mental health matters.
It is important to remember to take care of yourself first. Be sure that you aren’t wearing yourself too thin. Make sure you practice self-care. This looks different for everyone. Personally, my easiest way of de-stressing is through writing, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Find something that works for you!
In all, first year was exactly what it was supposed to be: a learning curve. I learned from my mistakes, my reservations, and my too high expectations of how to adapt to life at Nipissing. Now, as I sit here eating ice cream with one of my fellow executives, I truly feel like I belong at NipissingU.