- Tate Carman-Gardner
- Jan 30, 2019
Attending sleepover camp and summer programs while growing up, I’ve had no problem adjusting to new environments—but my transition to university was harder than I thought. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of independence and felt the pressure of “adult” responsibilities. However, as cliché as it sounds, it is really all about balance and prioritization. As a first-year student, you are surrounded by various other people going through similar experiences and have a variety of support services at your disposal. People such as Sophs and residence dons can easily be turned to for advice, tips and tricks on getting into a healthy routine. As time went on, I began to adjust to the flow of life at university and then time management came naturally.
The benefit of being engaged
While it may be scary at first, try not be afraid to branch out and be engaged. During Frosh Week, a Soph said to me, “leave your door open all the time because you will get to know so many people that way”. I took her advice and this little action allowed me to get to know a surprising number of people in my residence. There are so many different opportunities at Western, from sports teams to intramurals to clubs to leadership positions, and so much more. No matter your commitment—big or small—there is something and someone for everyone. Being part of the Western community is so rewarding and something to be proud of. There are countless ways to meet people and while most of it will come naturally, do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Being independent is okay
The feeling of complete independence can be daunting for some people. That’s normal! Whether feeling the pressure of booking appointments for yourself, making food for yourself or ensuring you wake up on time for class in the morning, just know you are not alone. You are surrounded by a community that has gone through similar experiences and can be relied upon. While it can be harder for some more than others, independence can be both an exciting feeling and a rewarding one as well. Being independent has taught me a lot about myself. I have had the freedom to make choices for myself and prioritize aspects of my life that I value most.
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself
In high school, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in school. I focused so much of my energy on academics that I began giving up certain passions of mine, such as dance. At university, I made a promise with myself that I would find balance rather than sacrifice the things I love to do, such as hanging out with friends, baking, and reading. It is important to make time for the things and people that you love. You should not be afraid to take a break and step away from your work, even if just for 5 minutes.
Be open minded
After realizing I had the freedom to enroll in almost any course from any discipline, I was very excited. I decided to take a wide range of courses such as math, geography, sociology, computer science and a few more. The variety of courses I took allowed me to find new passions and also gain a better understanding of the things I do not like. I encourage new students to try different courses and to not judge them based off an opinion from high school. Aside from academics, I also encourage new students to be open-minded to the entire university experience: making new friends, joining clubs, sports teams or whatever it may be.