What I Wish I Knew Before Attending University
Hi! This is Jami and Ben – both fourth year students who attend Brock University. We decided to sit down and collaborate on a list of things we wish we had known before coming to university in the hopes that we can help future university students avoid the frustration and disappointment associated with finding out crucial information a little too late.
1. Attend campus tours – This helps you to get familiar with the general location of important buildings and departments. It also helps you to know where your classes are so that your first day is not so overwhelming.
2. Become best friends with your course/program calendar and academic adviser – Program guides are usually available online or as print copies at your university. These documents are useful in ensuring that you meet your degree requirements, but also typically give a list of courses along with their respective descriptions – use this to make sure your courses/program interest you! Your academic adviser can help make sure you are on track towards completing your degree, can provide assistance if you aren’t sure your program is right for you, or can offer you guidance concerning which courses to take – and more!
3. Visit your Career Centre – We cannot stress how lifesaving a place this can be. From general job search help (including resume and cover letter assistance) to grad school information and career planning, your school’s career centre can help you when making difficult career-related decisions.
4. Get involved – This can be done in a variety of ways and we suggest doing as many as you can! First, attending your orientation day/week events can help you get comfortable with your new environment and can answer many of the questions you have. Second, join a club or co-curricular activity, such as a mentoring program or students’ association in order to meet new people, provide you with networking opportunities, and make you feel more integrated into your university community. Third, volunteer or intern in your spare time – this looks great on a resume and can make you feel great about helping others! Fourth, attend career fairs and events in order to find exciting opportunities for part-time, full-time, career, abroad opportunities and more!
While this list is not exhaustive, these are things that we did not think to do until later in our university careers, so we feel like we missed out on some great experiences and are now trying to catch up! Take our advice – ask questions, get involved, get informed. It will make your transition from high school to university much smoother and will aid in making your transition from university to the “real world” a lot easier, too! Good luck!