The Declassified School Survival Guide: First Year of University

August 27, 2017


To all the soon to be Gryphons- 


Congratulations! Congratulations on deciding on a program and getting accepted to the University of Guelph!


As summer is winding down there are likely some of you who cannot wait to start their first year of university! Others may be feeling nervous to transition into first year, and even more may be feeling a mixture of the two! Well my purpose for writing this blog is to welcome you to Guelph and help eliminate some of those pre-first year jitters through a few tips: 


1. Get involved 

While this tip is one you have likely heard time and time again, to me, it could not be more true. Within your first couple of days at the University and especially during frosh week, several campus clubs and activities will be set-up around campus in hopes of recruiting new members such as yourself. Take this time to check out a few clubs of interest and ask questions to see if the club is the right fit for you. Guelph offers numerous sports teams, clubs (like DECA *hint hint*) and intramural sports, to which any one is encouraged to join! Taken from experience, being involved at the school has led me to meeting individuals with similar interests to me that have since become close friends. Involvement has given me a reason to step away from my books to get an hour of much needed exercise and stress relief in. Additionally, getting involved at school helps to round out your resume as employers much prefer well-rounded students who demonstrate an ability to be involved whilst maintaining their grades. 


2. The Cannon 

As a first-year student who may be away from home for your first time, saving money is crucial! One way to do this is through purchasing your required textbooks for classes through a website called "The Cannon". For those of you who haven’t heard of the website, The Cannon is a website devoted to transactions between Guelph students for anything ranging from places to live to buying and selling textbooks at a discounted rate. Prior to purchasing books from this site, double check which textbook (& edition!) you will be needing. An easy way to check which text you need is to email your prof or check the class syllabus. This avoids buying the wrong edition/textbook completely! 


3. Time Management 

First year of University is a fun and eventful time that can ultimately lead to some distractions from your studies. Examples include various frosh events, meeting new people and residence get togethers. With that being said, I encourage you to partake in as many of these experiences as you can in first year, but, you just need to find the right balance of your time. In addition to these experiences, we must remember we are at school, there will be course work to be completed. Having gone through this same dilemma, I found that organizing my time with a calendar was effective in helping me prioritize what needed to be done. Through outlining upcoming due dates and prior social commitments, I was able to assess what time I had to work on such assignments and was able to finish the assignments without sacrificing my social life or my academics. It may take some time to perfect this fine balance but, once you do you will experience significantly lowered amounts of stress and be able to truly appreciate your time at University. 


While there are several other tips that could be given, these three tips helped me manage some of biggest worries about first year: making friends, saving money and balancing both my social and academic life. I hope these tips are able to do the same for you and wish you all a great first year as a Gryphon!


Renee Gibbons

Director of Training, DECA U Guelph 2017-2018

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