The great thing (well, one of the many great things) I love about York is the flexibility of taking courses throughout the year. Students can begin their studies in the fall, winter or summer term. It is also a great opportunity to fast-track the study process. My journey at York began three years ago when I joined this vibrant community in the summer of 2013 (and today I have completed my Honours degree!). In this blog post, I have generated some useful ideas for students starting their studies in the summer to help them with their very first semester.
Fall and winter Orientation Week offer a great welcome to incoming students with a full five days of fun-filled activities. If you start classes in the summer term, you can get an advance understanding of the academic world before you attend your orientation in September — pretty nice, right? So, as you begin classes in May and await your fun-filled O-week, here are some tips from an old Lion, so to speak:
Tours, tours and more tours: Tours are free to attend. Attend as many as you would like until you are comfortable with the campus. Bring your class timetable to the tour. As you walk, ask your tour guides (who are current students at York) to point out the buildings in which your classes are held. Besides geographical pointers, your tour guides can provide you with their personal perspectives on what it is like to become part of York’s community. They can provide you with many helpful tips about campus life, including eateries, academic support, book stores, services on campus, meal plans, residence life, peer support and much more.
RED Zone: This is the name for the student ambassadors located in the heart of York — Vari Hall. RED Zone ambassadors are upper-year students who have been actively involved on campus through their Colleges and leadership positions. Moreover, they have gone through extensive training to learn about the different resources offered to York students. With these solid foundations, they are devoted to helping other students like you navigate their way around campus.
College communities: College councils plan social activities throughout the year such as trips and social events, and they even offer peer support for academic help. Colleges provide students with a strong support system and a strong sense of community building, as students get a chance to meet other students within their Faculties or in their majors. Colleges have designated student spaces such as lounge rooms, study rooms and clubs. Moreover, Colleges have many clubs affiliated with your majors or interest, proffering a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. Folks in your Colleges are great resources to help you with the campus and the ins and outs of university life.
Social media: Social media is a valuable tool to help you integrate into campus life before classes begin. Join groups and connect with other students who will also be starting summer classes. You can leave comments or questions on the student blogs (like the YU Blog) or with online ambassadors who also have a lot of experience with campus life will be happy to guide you!
Consider online classes and blended classes: If you cannot picture yourself sitting in classrooms in the beautiful summer months, then perhaps you want to consider starting the summer term with online or blended courses. Online courses offer the flexibility of completing courses from the comfort of your home, while blended courses combine online and in-class learning. Online participation and groups; in-class, phone, or email help from professors; chat rooms for online discussions — these are just some of the ways in which these courses shine while you are earning your credits.
For those students who are starting university this year, a very big welcome to the York community! I hope you all have a lovely time, whether you are in school or enjoying the summer months off.