From The Editor: Tips I would give to my 1st year self

I remember my first day of university like it was yesterday. Realistically, I started my adventure with Concordia a year and a half ago. But even with my first year gone and now amidst my second year, I have learned some things I wish I told myself when I was first starting this crazy adventure!
With this post being from the editor, I thought that I would give you all some tips that I would give myself if I was a 1st year student.

1. Chat with someone in your classes, it’s the best way to make friends.
I like to consider myself to be a reserved person, and as you can expect, I did not speak to many people. On my first day, I didn’t talk to a single person. I just went to my classes and went home. By day two, one of my French teachers encouraged us to speak to each other and that day was the day I made my first friend! To this day, her and I are great friends!
It can certainly be scary to make conversation in classes, even more now that all of our classes have turned online, but it certainly does not hurt to reach out to someone who may catch your interest. Shoot them an email, say something in breakout rooms, go to the events that get held on campus, reach out to other CUE members through social media.

2. Don’t worry if you fail an exam or need to drop a class
Almost everyone has done this; failed a test/exam or they needed to drop a class. I personally have had to drop a class before and I have also failed some tests. It was difficult to tell myself that it isn’t the end of the world because I am a perfectionist. The first time I had to drop a class, I hated the feeling it gave me but I knew I had to do this because that class was ruining the good GPA I was already building.
I felt really guilty when I had to drop the class, as if I let myself down. But I had to reassure myself that one grade and one class does not define who you are as a student. It is okay to make mistakes. Plus, with all of the different courses Concordia offers, it is a great time to try a bunch of different classes and see what you excel at!

3. Enjoy the time that you get to spend on campus
Though the current first years don’t get the privilege that the people before have with enjoying the time studying in the library, visiting with your friends in tieglar, or even going to the cafeteria with your friends for some lunch. With the current pandemic, COVID-19, that has all been taken away from us. I wish I would have enjoyed being on campus more and appreciated getting to see my best friends everyday.
And for the current first years who have not gotten the opportunity to enjoy what life is like at the Concordia campus, I hope that when it is safe to do so, we can all reunite and go back to how it was a year ago!

4. If you need extra help, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Now this statement applies to more than what you might think. There is the obvious: mental health. If you are struggling with mental health and need an extra hand, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Whether it’s a friend to talk to or reaching out to Concordia’s Peer Support Program, there is always help for when you need it.
Academically, the same thing applies. If you are struggling with a class, you shouldn’t be shy to either ask a classmate to help or ask the best source, the professors! All of the professors are there to help you learn and achieve your degree. If you are not understanding the material, ask to meet up with them in their office hours. They will be more than happy to help you!
Suffering alone does not have to be your only option. Some people, myself included, may feel shy to ask for help and think that if they ask a question in class, it will make you sound like you don’t know anything. But guess what? I can almost guarantee that there is at least one person in the class that is wondering that same question, but is also too shy to speak up and ask.
So why not speak up in class! It’ll help you and your classmates!

Written by: Sarah Cowan

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