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canadian university report - advice

Current students offer advice to incoming students in hopes their own experience will ease the way a bit for those coming behind them.

Find your interests

Brittany Williams

Brittany Williams, Bachelor in commerce program, McMaster University, Hamilton.

“Be yourself. University is the time to discover yourself and own it. You will find your place – it’s inevitable. You will learn and grow a lot. Welcome to one of the most enlightening and exciting periods of your life. You’ve got this!”

Work hard to do well

Patricia Mielnik

Patricia Mielnik, bachelor in business administration and computer science programs, University of Waterloo.

“Having finished my first year of university, the one thing I wish I had known before coming is that you can succeed if you work for it. Most of the advice given to me beforehand made university seem like a place where it’s impossible to succeed. However, that’s not true. If you are willing to work hard and take advantage of the resources provided by your school, you can definitely do well. It’s true that nothing is handed to you once you enter university, but that doesn’t mean that will prevent you from succeeding in your studies.”

Things may change

Katarina Toews

Katarina Toews, doing prerequisites for the bachelor of environmental design program after switching from the sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

“I wish I knew 12 months ago that you can prepare as much as possible for what you want to go into and what your next four years are going to look like, but as soon as you go in, you can change your mind.

Things can be thrown at you that you just have to work with and figure out what you actually want. For instance, classes you didn’t realize how hard they were going to be. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like until you’re there.

So you’ve just got to learn to roll with the punches and adapt to whatever comes at you. That’s a major skill that people learn in the first year – how to take what they’re given and use those opportunities to keep moving forward in whatever path they’re taking. ”

The housing challenge

Archisman “Archie” Mitra

Archisman “Archie” Mitra, bachelor in history program, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, B.C.

“I never knew housing was such a big issue in Kamloops [and in some other university locations].

It’s really difficult to find housing in Kamloops." He warns that prospective students may need to reach out to get information from the university and student groups before arriving, especially international students.

The student athlete’s juggling act

Quinn Pelland

Quinn Pelland, bachelor in business program with a minor in biology and a varsity volleyball player, Mount Royal University, Calgary.

"I wish I would have known that it wasn’t just the physical demands but the mental demands that can take such a toll on you that come along with [competing in sports at a high level as a student]. You’re in the gym every day and you’re gone every weekend, but then you’re also game planning, and there’s a mental side to competing at this level. Along with school and time management, it’s very draining, both mentally and physically.

I’ve learned that you just need to get it done, and there’s no excuse for wasting time.

And hopefully, later you have time for leisure. I find that I do actually get more done when I’m busy because you don’t have the time to relax and think, ‘Oh, I’ll do this later.'"

Talk to your prof

Monica Lambatin

Monica Lambatin, bachelor in biomedical physiology program, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.

“Professors are there to help, and it’s okay to go ask them questions. I thought that when you go to university it’s a lot of self-studying, which is true, but there are so many resources out there, and the profs are one of them.

They are the ones teaching the course, and [they are not too busy to see you during] office hours. I realized that it’s really good to talk to the profs, not just for help with the course but help with planning. That’s something I wish I knew in my first semester. ”

Responses have been edited and condensed