Advice for First Year University Students: Exams, Booze and Muppets? Oh My!

First things first. I LOVE the Muppets. LOVE. I saw this video a while ago but I had to share it with my coworkers this week and now I must pass it on to you.

Swedish Chef gets me every time. I present to you The Muppets Very own Swedish Chef with

Pöpcørn dëë shrîmpéé: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE

I know that may seem ridiculous but you really need to keep your sense of humour. Especially when exams are about to make you pull your hair out. But let’s not think of that. Exams are 3 weeks away! Wait. That’s less than a month away! Lesson number 1 first years: keep on your toes! There is always something due or some test or exam.

Now, I’m only 23 and I claim to have no great wisdoms from the world, however, I do have some wise words to pass to our young and fresh university first years. Having experienced it, looking back on some of the great opportunities I missed or passed on and also being an adult looking from the side lines thinking “Oh my goodness, are these kids stupid? What on EARTH are they doing?? Wait, did I look like that as a first year…?”

You’re young and free for the first time, so go ahead and enjoy it!

About 60% of my best memories from university are from first year. The other 40% are from first year but I really can’t remember them due to the partying. First year you’re finally legally allowed to drink and the kids tend to go hog wild. Go for it! Why not? This is pretty much the only year you can do it and not have your body completely hate you the next day.

There are right ways and wrong ways to party and you pretty much already know them:

  • Keep your clothes on in public (you’d be surprised at the things I’ve seen in clubs)
  • KNOW YOUR LIMIT! So many kids get alcohol poisoning and from what I hear, it sucks.
  • Watch your drinks. Just because you live in nice little Halifax or Ottawa doesn’t mean you’re safe. This advice goes for both girls and boys.
  • Keep it legal, kiddies! Nothing fun about getting thrown in the drunk tank your first night in residence. You’ll never EVER live it down. It’s not an epic story
  • Be warned: cream based liquors do go bad. Those also make for hilarious stories you’ll never live down.

I hate to go all “after school kid’s special” on you but…

Don’t let peer pressure get to you.

If you don’t want to drink, don’t. If you don’t want to party the night before and exam, don’t. They may laugh at you but this your life and you have to live with the consequences.

Also remember not to over react. don’t take the pressure personally and don’t get defensive if they make fun of you. Stick to your guns. You’re in university now and you’re an adult. You don’t have high school bullies threatening you. University students are generally very accepting of the decisions you make and the lifestyle you live. If you say No and stick to your decision, people will come to respect you.

The more you now *=== (That’s supposed to be a shooting star)

In the end you have to take responsibility for your own actions. There is no one to blame but yourself. This also goes for academia. My best tidbit for dealing with bad grades is…

Always talk to the professor!!

About 85% of profs actually have sympathy. I know. You thought they were just cold scantron robots, but believe it or not, they too were once students. If you’re 2% below a grade level or have a 79%, talk to the prof! They will bump you up just to help you out. You can also plead your case to get them to re-grade your paper.

Be careful though, I once worked for a prof who saw that as an insult; she put a lot of effort into each grade and asking to re-grade it was the ultimate insult to her. At the same time, she was so kind and caring for students because she always pushed you up a grade just to help you out.

This deal goes for academic councilors. Can’t get into a course you need? Just ask and they can make you an extra seat.  No questions asked.

There are so many different resources out there for students that you neglect to learn about. Schools actually try to make this a positive experience*. It’s the least they can do for taking $30 000 from you in tuition and books.

*(OSAP offices not included, you’ll need a full day just to see a human’s face).

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