From An Oldie To A Newbie: How to Survive The University Experience

Written By: Anoja Muthucumaru

Let the fun begin! School is back in session and for those new to the University of Toronto and even those returning to the University of Toronto, back to school is about meeting friends, new teachers, and cracking open a brand new textbook. But for those who have been around the block or Philosopher’s Walk, we know better. We know the real university experience, and guess what? It is not always easy! So from one U of T oldie to a newbie, here are some tips to help you not only survive, but to create some of the most enriching years of your life.

1) Use your dental plan. It’s free money! Let’s face it, it’s a great feeling when the tab is on someone else!

2) Used books are better than new ones. Listen to the ING man with the oranges! Save your money!

3) Use your calendar. The University of Toronto Student Union (U.T.S.U.) gives out a free calendar and you can purchase a larger one for your room at the bookstore for under $20.

4) Don’t study at Robarts. Studying in a cold brick building with a radiator softly rattling can make you feel cold and unimaginative. Find somewhere quiet and learn to work by yourself.

5) Join at least one club. Choose carefully, as you will probably have to engage in a conversation with the members of this club for more than 5 minutes and trust me that can be difficult if you choose the wrong one. No pressure!

6) Budget. Street meat, a poutine, or Chinese food from a truck, can seem very tempting when you can’t visualize how much you spent on coffee that week or when you don’t pack a lunch. So make a budget for yourself and stick to it! A key tip for budgeting is to budget for the unexpected, because as we all know the unexpected should be expected! This is a skill you can use all through your life.

7) It is all about you. An education is a privilege, though if we were talking politics I might argue it is a right, (this is not always the case however). As a result, take advantage of your opportunity to learn and grow both intellectually and socially. Work hard and play just as frequently. Be yourself and never question your potential to change, argue, and scream whenever you want- just not in lectures.

Just so you don’t leave feeling all mushy inside, may I remind you for those who are not prepared, university can bruise your hopes, dreams, and aspirations! So get prepared and cure yourself of the sentimentality and sense of pride over the most draining four years of your life. For those who are more masochistic let’s add another six years to your pain and suffering (you crazy grad students!).

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