This time last year I was a bright eyed, Aboriginal (Cree, First Nations, or as Derek Zoolander would put it “Abodiginal”), first year, Humanities student. I wanted to do it all: the student clubs, events, sports, meeting more Indigenous students, you name it. I mean, you always hear about the great opportunities in university from your friends and parents right?
“You’ll have so many clubs and events to go to” or ” You’ll find friends who will last a lifetime” or even “You might even be cool in university and meet some cute girls” (ha “cool”?… highly unlikely).
Well yes, of course all of that can be true or come true, but with the inevitable truth of tests and essays breathing down your back by early October, it can be hard (especially as a commuter) to get, and stay tapped into the campus loop. Also with so many people to meet, which ones are even worth your precious time?
This is exactly what happened to me last year. Between tests and waking up with sweaty palms about my bad writing skills and wondering how I would even manage a research paper on Pentecostalism (hence why I write blogs), I completely forgot that there was a world out there called Campus Life – just waiting for me. In my worried stupor I just carried on – keeping to myself and going from class to the subway station without talking to anyone (of course I saw the posters promoting the next frat party/pub nights, and also the chicks around campus ;)),but it really didn’t bother me all that much, though of course it would have been nice to know a few more people on campus.
So, later during the Winter semester I decided to try and make a change by hanging out around campus more. I still didn’t join any clubs at my college, I simply spent more time in my college’s student lounge (50% because they offer free food on Wednesdays and 50% because they have Mariokart, but I was also there to make friends… I’m serious), and decided to volunteer with the University of Toronto Student’s Union, and boy what a difference that made. Not only did I make a ton of great friends, but it opened up a ton of doors for me too. From being engaged campus wide, to being tapped into my college, the opportunities were/are endless, and all it took was a little engagement with my campus. At the same time I didn’t feel swamped with work/studying and my extra curriculars, because I only took on what I could handle, and you would be amazed how many friends you can make by doing just that.
Now of course I’m no oracle for all things extra curricular, I’ve only been here for a year after all, but I can tell you that being involved in some way or another really can help out. So to all of you first year students out there (especially you commuters) thinking about getting involved on campus, definitely get out there and join at least one club or organization/association, and try spending more time at your home college too. Because the only regret I have from my first year was not being more engaged; that, and trying to hit on the pretty girl in my religion class who’s boyfriend was sitting on the other side of her (of course I would mistake him as her “best friend”, turns out all guys aren’t friend-zoned, who would have thought?)
And of course, keep trying new and exciting things on campus- there are a million things to try and do. From Zumba classes at the AC (yes I had the pleasure of doing that this past week, lets just say I can’t dance, or shimmy…) to puttering around on a broom as a member of the Quidditch Team. So….dabble….yes that is the word…. my fellow students, dabble away.