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I survived my first semester of college—here’s what I learned
by Mackenzie Murphy | February 11, 2020

Everything is figure-outable.

Going into my first semester of college, I had no idea what to anticipate. I moved across the country from my humble city in Alberta to the big leagues here in Toronto. There I was, wide-eyed and ready to take on the world. Well, that was until FROSH was over.

From creative assignments, studying most nights, and completing capstone essays—some days it felt like I was in over my head. No matter how much advice I received and how much research I did, some things I just had to learn on my own.

Here’s what I learned after surviving my first semester of college:

Find your people

Penguin's running away

Early on, I realized I couldn’t make it through the year spending every weekend in my dorm room, cozying up with Netflix and Sun Chips. I had to branch out and make friends with the people in my circles; if you’re anything like me, this can sometimes be the hardest part.

There are lots of ways Humber College, the University of Guelph-Humber and IGNITE make socializing a breeze. You can attend your program’s orientation to get to know the students in your program and establish a study group or find a club with IGNITE to discover likeminded people. Clubs like Movie Madness will allow you to embrace that Netflix addiction while also making friends.

 

Organize your life

Bullet journal with mountains for the month of January

Deadlines, exams, work, and having to schedule in your newfound friends? We’re going to need a bigger calendar. It’s hard to balance school, work, and friends when you’re just starting to get a grasp on your everyday routine.

I found bullet journaling to be the best solution for organizing my schedule and keeping track of my mood, health, and habits. You can explore your creative side with it too!

 

Know where and when to ask for help

"Oh my god I need help."

From writing help to counselling, this past semester I’ve needed it all. In your first semester of college, it’s important to know what avenues you can turn to when you’re in need of some extra TLC.

We’re fortunate here at Humber to have so many resources that help with not only academic success and support, but also personal and professional development. Book an appointment with a counselor for a listening ear or get connected with a mentor through Humber or Guelph-Humber’s First-Year Experience (FYE) initiative to ask questions about your program.

 

Discover your learning style

Notes and grid paper with black pen

Each professor is unique in how they teach just as every student is unique in how they learn. For me, lectures aren’t my thing. I had to find ways around my professor’s lectures to best learn and retain information. Hands-on, real-world learning like case studies really help me.

A lot of this I learned through trial and error, but you can take this quiz to find out your preferred learning style. Still unsure? Take advantage of Humber’s Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) or Guelph-Humber’s Learning Support Peers (LPS) for workshops, free tutors, and note-taking services!

 

Budget, budget, and budget

"I'm going to miss being able to afford food"

Whether you’re living on or off-campus, being a student means you’re more than likely broke. When that OSAP payment gets deposited, you have to know how to budget it. There are countless spreadsheet templates roaming around the internet that help break down your income and expenses monthly; I find these super helpful!

You can also check out the newest Adulting 101 video to learn all about price matching and save yourself a few bucks.


Still struggling to adult as a student? Get support with IGNITE’s Financial Relief Program; apply today!

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