I thought I would share my transition to university experience and a few tips I wish I knew prior to attending uni.
My home is in Bermuda but went abroad to Canada to attend university. I found it very hard in the beginning as this was the first time living away from home and being away from my family, however if anyone else is in the same position as I was, I encourage you to still go as I have had a great experience so far. Facetime will be your new best friend!
Main tips I would give to a first year university student:
Roommates and Living Arrangements
I had the advantage of one of my friends attending the same university as myself and this has worked out perfectly! I do not suggest you choose a university depending on friends, make sure you choose what you want to do, but this just so happened to be my situation and it worked out great.
Our first year we decided to live in a townhouse on campus with two other roommates who also so happened to be friends. This did create a division within the house as there were times tension occurred and it was very clear there was two against two. However majority of the time when choosing first year living arrangements, you will not know who your roommates are unless you request friends before, so you just have to hope for the best!
Make sure in your first year you live on campus! Like I said, I went abroad for university so I didn’t have any personal transportation and at that point I did not know the bus routes. But living on campus you are also more likely to hear about events happening at university and this is very important when wanting to meet new friends and learning about your program.
Lastly, I would recommend sharing housing accommodations but having your own room! Its great to live with people and share that experience, but I guarantee there will be times where you will want to be on your own and get away from other people. I made sure I have had my own room each year attending university and I wouldn’t have it any different. A few friends of mine wish they did the same. Having time to yourself is important!
I will guarantee you are going to buy too many things for your room, I did! Make a list of things you need before coming to university and stick to it! If later on you end up needing something else, you can always go and buy it.
Enjoy decorating your room! I was so excited to do this. A good idea may be to research tips on organizing and decorating your room, that way you look forward to being at home to study and relax.
I recommend you attend as many events as you can in Frosh week! I regret not doing this as one, its an experience and two, that is how many people make initial friends. You will also make friends within your program as in first year when attending lectures, it was new for everyone and people would just start a conversation and its as easy as that!
If making friends is on your mind, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You definitely will meet lots of people, starting with your roommates.
You will have different meal plan options which is what the majority of university students buy into. Everyone has heard about the complaints of cafeteria food and I have had my share however the living arrangements I chose each year gave me access to appliances, therefore I did groceries once a week and cooked my own food. My diet is more specific than most, vegetarian all the time, vegan half the time, so cooking my own food worked best for me. I would recommend cooking, you will stay healthier and happier, trust me!
It is a good idea to budget your money. Put aside a certain amount per month to include groceries, any other expenses and leisure. Beginning of every year the cost of textbooks was the worst! Be prepared! It is sooo easy to spend, spend, spend. When living on a university campus you will be surrounded by fast food places, shopping areas and tons more. Especially transitioning from Bermuda, these places were all new to me so make sure you are being smart with your money.
Before attending university, research the area to find places that you are interested in visiting and could go with friends throughout your time at uni. It is very important to manage your time between school work and leisure time with friends, otherwise you will go crazy! Especially attending university in a different country than home, this may be a one time experience so take advantage of it and enjoy it! 🙂
I have one year left of university. Time will go by soo fast, I honestly feel like I blinked and now im finishing my second year.
Make sure you work hard but have fun! 🙂