Congratulations, you made it. You’ve been accepted to the Telfer School of Management. As wonderful and exciting as this experience will be, new challenges will arise. Today, I’m giving you a survival guide to your first year at Telfer.
Alright, listen up…
In university, you’re responsible for your class schedule. Register for your classes as early as you can, first year classes fill up quickly! I highly recommend meeting with an academic advisor from your faculty to make sure your course sequence is in order. The last thing you want is being told you can’t graduate because you’re missing some mandatory courses.
Some students will jam-pack their class schedule, so they have three days of craziness but in reward a four-day weekend. I recommend spacing them out, you shouldn’t have more than three hours of straight lectures. Most people will not be fully attentive for a six hours block.
I suggest researching your professors before selecting their class. Trust me, a good professor makes a world of a difference, especially in harder courses.
Lastly but more importantly… GO TO CLASS!
In your first year, you’ll be bombarded with that word. Well for a good reason. Build your network, go out to events, get to know your professors and classmates, reach out to businesses that interest you…You must network as much and as soon as you can. Yes, it’s stressful, yes you probably have nothing to say as a first year, but that’s normal and expected. By showing up and being present you are already doing better than most. Start reading about what you want to do to be able to have good conversations with people in your field of interest. At the end of the day, networking is intimidating, you can either embrace the experience or shy away from it.
All this to say:
1) go to networking events;
2) make friends in your classes and encourage them to tag along to that networking event you’re dreading;
3) get to know your professors, most of them are nice and want to help you.
Let’s face it, you’re young, excited and inexperienced. You might be on your own for the first time in your life, with so much freedom you can more or less do whatever you want. A lot of students fall into the freedom trap and end up in tough situations. Moderation is key, having fun is a given, but don’t make it your priority. Create structure and have a routine, this will help you stay away from toxic behaviors. Do your dishes, do your laundry, have a healthy diet and make time to study. This all seems obvious, but very few young students do it. It’ll pay off in the long run, I promise.
At the core, you’re in university to study, to get your degree and hopefully jump into the real world. Being serious in school is important, however, you need balance. Be sure to socialize and enjoy yourself. For those not from Ottawa, making new friends can be scary, but everyone in university is looking to make new friends, so don’t be shy. Enrolling in clubs such as sororities and fraternities, intramural sports, or any other group makes it easier to meet people and it's tons of fun.
One of the worst mistakes people make (I’m looking at you Montrealer’s) is to leave Ottawa on the weekends. Commit to your new city and you’ll be rewarded with amazing new friends and experiences!
Fully embrace this experience, it’ll fly by… trust me! Go to class, study hard, make new friends and remember this is (hopefully) your golden ticket to your dream job, so make the best of it!