Things I Wish I Could Tell First Year Me

Reflecting back on my 5 years at Bishop’s, I think I can safely say I’ve learned a lot during my time in university. And while I may think I have it all figured out now, there are definitely a few things I wish I could go back in time and tell myself in my first year. Here are a few things that top that list:

  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

Coming to university can be a scary transition. I came to this school from an average sized high school in Vermont, and knew absolutely no one. When I got here, I couldn’t believe what I had done, travelling all this way instead of just staying at home for school like most of my friends. But once the first few weeks rolled by, I broke out of my shell and started living it up. It took me longer than it should have to start experiencing all the fun here, and I wish I had joined in sooner.

  • Ask for help when you need it!

Whether this applies to getting a tutor for class, going to a subject help center or just asking someone for directions, it makes much more sense to ask right away than to wander around aimlessly for weeks! Everyone here is so friendly, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about, everyone needs a little help sometimes. A tutor here and there would have probably benefited my marks greatly, and it seems silly looking back that I didn’t get one sooner.

  • Start taking your electives early.

This is a great way to both try out new things, and make sure that your major is the right one for you. It could save you from staying in a major that isn’t the best fit for you, or help you to discover a new passion for something (and potentially add a nice new minor or second major).

  • Your assignments DO matter.

It took me waaaay too long to realize this. Your professors are not just assigning these to be a pain in your butt, they really are crucial to passing the course. University isn’t high school where your teacher will come up to you and make sure you are doing fine every day, it is up to YOU now to make sure you understand what is going on and seek help if you don’t. Doing all of your assignments is also a great way to boost your marks!

  • Your life plan is going to change, and that’s ok.

I came to university thinking I had my entire life planned out. I was here for a degree in elementary education, I would graduate and start my lovely little existence in a beach house with a dog and a jeep and the best 3rd grade class anyone could ever ask for. But by my second semester, that little fantasy life started to change in my mind, and I ended up switching degrees entirely. It didn’t end there either, it wasn’t until my last semester of my 5th year that I was sure I knew exactly what I wanted to do after school. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself now to figure it all out; you’ve got the next 3-5 years for that. Your plan will fall into place so you’ve just got to trust that it will all work out in the end.

That being said, you’ve got to do things at your own pace and choose what is right for you. If you’re looking at Bishop’s or have already committed, you’re attracted to the school for both the academic opportunities it has to offer and the hilariously fun social environment you’ll be tossed in to. Remember what drew you to this one of a kind purple place, and take part in all that fun. At the end of your time here, you’re going to look back on the early years like they were yesterday, and cherish every moment. Make sure you’ve got great experiences to look back on when you reach this ripe old age.

Megan Konstantonis

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