WRITTEN BY: Sahar Rahimi, First Year Representative of the Afghan Students’ Association
One step into university and you are exposed to the reality of the world that is outside of the walls of the small high school classrooms. You have come this far and it doesn’t matter what path you chose but that you are now here. The place that you have anticipated to enter is finally a reality. The one thing that slips your mind is that you’re not the only one. Everyone surrounding you is on the same path.
The first few weeks of university will be spent trying to figure things out. Trying to make a place for yourself in a sea of other lost minds. At times you will feel lost, with no idea of what to do. The only way to carry on will be to grasp on what you can handle.
Everyone’s overall experience of university will be different. The one thing everyone should gain from university is the connections they make with other people. It will be difficult to do this in a lecture hall, tutorial, lab, etc. UofT’s large student population will make connection-making harder (as ironic as it may sound). How, then can one meet others alike or different? The answer is simple and is crucial to a memorable university experience. Clubs.
At the beginning of your first year at UofT, there will be a rage about clubs. Everyone with experience will tell you to join at least one club out of the over 800 clubs currently offered at the university. You can belong to one (or more) of these and tell yourself that you will join at least one. But when everything becomes too much to handle, you find it hard to be committed to any club. Whatever may be holding you back to attend the club meetings and participate, it is understandable as first year of university is rough and juggling everything at the same time will be hard. However, make a club (any club) also a priority of the first year of university life. Clubs are designed to bring people of similar minds (or different) together and create an environment where everyone is able to create something special.
As a first year at UofT, I can’t stress enough about how important it is to join a club. I was the person who singed up for as many clubs as I could at the Clubs Fair but found I was unable to attend most of the general meetings. However, out of all the clubs that I was interested in, a few stood out and I thought I could surely afford some time to be involved in something I enjoy. And I did. I joined the Afghan Students’ Association and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made coming into university. I met incredible people and became involved in something special. Later after first semester, I also became more involved with the
UofT in Support of SickKids Foundation where I met people in my program and did some amazing voluntary work around UofT.
Once time goes by, you will become better at juggling more. You don’t lose anything by attending the club meetings and being involved. What about time? Being committed to a club will actually make you better at handling and balancing your time. You will become better at setting aside work to be done as you will also have something else on your plate. What will you gain? Connections to the people you meet (AKA friends).
I can now speak of/with experience and tell you that, you can do it. You can handle it all. Don’t think that joining a club will weigh down your GPA, you are in control of that. Joining a club will remind you that your GPA is not what will define your overall university experience. What will define your overall university experience will be what you do with your time (aside from the academics) and the people you meet along the way. Time goes by very quickly, so make use of it and do something you like. Ultimately, you are in charge of your university experience. You control what happens. Do one thing though, join a club or be involved in any other way possible. People will welcome you with open arms and you will feel more connected to the large circle of other wondering people that is university.