9 Things Every First-Year Student Should Know

As a TRU alumni, I can confidently say that I have managed to figure out student life. Is it easy? No. Does it take time? Yes. But once you get the hang of it, you will wish you knew some things earlier. 

Here are my top 10 tips for students who are just embarking on their journey. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be a uni pro!

Plan every semester until graduation

This one is by far, the best and most important tip I can give you: plan out your years of university in advance! Of course, things will change, and you will have to revise this plan each semester, but having it done, makes it easier for you to know all the necessary courses you need to complete in order to graduate, and how long it will take. 

Having your semester planned out also allows you to add things like Co-op, Study Abroad, Field Schools and much more.

Don’t leave your required courses for the last minute!

Many of the required courses can be the most challenging ones, depending on your program. They are also required for many of the 3rd and 4th-year classes, so make sure you have completed them in order to register for the advanced classes! 

Choose classes that you are interested in

If you are able to choose your classes, make sure to choose those that spark your interest! There’s nothing worse than registering for a class on a subject that you hate – plus, research shows that you do better on the subjects you like!

Be organized!

Mastering the art of organization is key in order to survive University. Make sure you write down all your dates and deadlines as soon as you receive your course outline – it will not only make it easier for you to remember, but you will also prevent any stress in the future (i.e. Finding out at 8pm that you have an assignment due next morning at 8:30am is not fun!) 

Finding a class too difficult? Ask for help!

Don’t give up on a class just because it is challenging! TRU offers many resources (from writing to math) for students who are having trouble with a course. If you find that you still need extra help, you can also hire a tutor – you can ask your instructor for recommendations.

Get involved around campus

The easiest way to meet people and gain experience is to join a club! There are many clubs around campus, and I highly recommend first-year students to show up to meetings and get involved in projects. You can find a list of all the clubs here

Apply for scholarships, awards and bursaries

There are so many things to learn during your first year of university, that we often forget to look for financial help. TRU offers hundreds of awards each year for both domestic and international students. You can find a list of all of them and their criteria here.

Write down your goals for the semester

One way to start your classes at a good pace is to write down your goals for the semester. Do you want to be on the Dean’s List? Do you want to get into the Soccer Team? It is proven that those that write down their goals on a regular basis achieve those desires at a higher level than those who don’t. I find it easier to write down either on your phone or on your planner, so you can read it frequently and remind yourself of them!

Take care of yourself!

Trust me, you will be extremely busy throughout the semester. But in order to maintain your mental and physical health, you cannot forget about taking care of yourself! Exercise, hang out with your friends, travel and explore – but remember to keep your balance. 

Now that you know all of this, are you ready to tackle your first year like a pro? Don’t forget to leave a comment down below with what you wish you knew in your first year of university!