Tackling the Case of the First Year Jitters


You’re about to embark on a new academic adventure that is rife with unfamiliarity and change. This can be overwhelming when preparing for your first year. Nervousness is only natural when heading into an environment surrounded by new people, places, and subjects, but it can always be subdued by preparing in advance for the scholarly trip.

Follow these do’s/don’ts to transform your first-year jitters into excitement and readiness for the ultimate university experience.

1. Do your FROSH week

Fall orientation week is designed to crush your jitters and get you pumped for university life. You aren’t obligated to attend every event so you’re free to choose how much you want to participate. But push your boundaries and you might end the week off with a lifelong friend, a new hobby, and a better understanding of what to expect during your first year.

2. Don’t bulldoze the bookstore

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It’s tempting to hit the bookstore the minute your class Syllabus arrives. But instead of standing in lines that wrap around the building just to get your hands on a brand new textbook you might not use, do your research first. Is there a second-hand copy online? Is there a second-hand bookstore nearby?  Better yet, is there a digital version? Chances are, if you take your time, you’ll find a cheaper copy and in a less stressful environment than a packed campus bookstore of buzzing first-years elbowing each other to the cash. Besides, week one of classes will give you the chance to gauge how much you’ll really use the textbook and if it’s really worth purchasing new.

3. Do explore your campus before your first week

Once your classrooms are made available, take a walk around your new campus and map out the routes for your first week of classes, especially if you timetable makes you run from one end of campus to the other. By surveying in advance, you won’t have to worry about being that student who bursts through the swinging doors of the lecture hall 10 minutes in or sits through an entire seminar only to realize they’re in the wrong class.

4. Don’t forget the freebies


As a first-year with loans and little savings, take advantage of the free resources that your school offers. Head over to your student union for a plethora of freebies such as snacks, agendas and pens.. Start your year off organized, responsible, and with a tad more spare change. And while free stuff  is great, you can also count on sit-down sessions if you’re feeling down, stressed, or just need to talk to someone.

5. Do join clubs and extracurriculars

There’s a lot more to university than just attending class and all-nighters. Sign up for clubs that resonate with your interests or align with your aspirations, and keep up with the latest events happening on campus. Follow your curiosities that tempt you on flyers across campus, try out a part-time student job, write for the student paper, or join a rec sports league. Chances are you’ll remember these experiences down the line more fondly than your first-year seminar in PSYC 1001.

6. Don’t worry

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Seriously. There will be hundreds of like-minded first-year students with similar questions, struggling with the same online portal issues, and getting lost in the exact same places. Fortunately, you’re not alone. You have resources online, along with professors, student union reps, and classmates to guide you. You’ll be a pro in no time.

University is the best of times, and it’s not the best of times simultaneously. Some days will be a breeze and other days will seem impossible to overcome. But that’s life, isn’t it? You make your own experience. So while first-year jitters are completely normal, embrace them and gear up for an adventure worth doing right the first time.