What’s the first week of uni going to be like? (incoming first year currently freaking out)
it’s almost certainly going to be great. i don’t want to invalidate your freak-out (by all means, get all the panicking out of your system now; better to do it in August than in December), but you will almost certainly have a great time and feel silly that you were so worried.
that said, the look of your first week will depend largely on two factors: 1) whether you’ll be participating in frosh week and 2) whether you’ll be living in residence.
if you’re doing frosh, your first week will be a whirlwind of group activities that will include lots of chanting, singing, dancing and running around campus. frosh activities will vary slightly depending on your college/faculty, but they have all been conceived of with the same idea: to make students feel more comfortable with each other and the campus, and to get excited students about school.
here are the websites for each college’s (and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s) orientation weeks, so you can take a further look: innis college, new college, st. michael’s college, trinity college, university college, victoria college, woodsworth college, engineering.
if you’ll be living on residence, your first week will be a VERY INTENSE one filled with rapid friendship-making, get-to-know-you activities on your floor, and – obviously – moving in. it’s like this bizarre combination of frosh week and camp.
if you’re participating in neither of those things, you will still have a VERY BUSY first week. here is a list of tasks every student should do before school starts:
1. get your TCard, if you haven’t already.
also, get any cards you may need for commuting, e.g. Presto card, GO Student ID, Metropass, TTC Student ID, tokens.
2. buy your books (most will be available at the UofT bookstore, though you may have to resort to other options like Bob Miller).
every September, the controversy over whether it’s worth it to actually buy course books flares up again, like a recurring rash.
on the one hand, they cost an arm and a leg, and you will cry when you see your balance by the end of of your shopping spree. plus, everyone on Facebook and Twitter is promoting sites where you can find everything you need (maybe) for FREE!
on the other hand, you’re not so sure about the free/cheap options because they might not be the right edition, you kind of want a physical copy, you want to be able to set these books on your bookshelf to make you look smart later on, etc. etc.
if you’re unsure about any of your books, the best thing to do is wait until the first class. then you can ask how essential it is that you own a certain edition.
you can also wait it out and only buy the books when it becomes apparent that you will actually need them. some courses will rely more heavily on books than others, and there’s nothing wrong with just waiting and feeling it out.
3. practise the route between your classes.
it’s one thing to be able to point out all your classes on a map. it’s another to actually make the trek between, say, Northrop Frye and New College, slogging across Queen’s Park, manoeuvring past the giant plant pots next to Sid Smith, and figuring out exactly how much time you need to get between those two places.
most of your classes won’t be back-to-back, so you should also identify convenient food and washroom stops in your vicinity for times when you have a break between classes.
again: make sure to do this before classes actually begin. that way, you’ll be confident about your route when school starts.
4. if you’re thinking of getting involved on campus (and you really should, in one way or another), then you should stop by UTSU’s Clubs Fair on September 9th. find out what kind of stuff is out there, and maybe even sign up for one or two clubs that interest you!
5. if you think you will need it, look into support services on campus.
– Accessibility Services takes a notoriously long time to process applications, so sign up for them before classes start, if you can.
– Drop by CAPS and see what they’re all about. familiarize yourself with the process of booking an appointment.
– identify academic success tools: your registrar’s office, the UofT libraries that will be closest to you on campus, the Academic Success Centre, the math aid centres, and your college’s writing centre.
and that’s aska’s guide to having a great first week! i really do hope you enjoy your initiation into the wild ride that is UofT. stop back in sometime and tell me how it went.
cheers for now,