The #YUBlog’s Declassified University Survival Guide

Posted by Sophie Morgan on August 28, 2018


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The Fall term is just around the corner, Lions! At this point, you may be getting ready to return to York University or attend for the first time. We at the #YUBlog are here to help you navigate this transition with our tried-and-true tips and resources for all university students in our #YUBlog Declassified University Survival Guide! We have used real tips from Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, one of our favourite Nickelodeon shows from the 2000s. Although these tips were initially for middle schoolers, they are definitely applicable to us as university students!

A GIF of Moze, Ned and Cookie walking down the hallway together.

1) During the first day: just relax, be yourself and don’t panic! Try to make new friends and get to know your professors for the year.

The first day of university is a big transition for many students, especially if it’s your first time attending York U. One of the first steps to getting used to university life is getting involved with the YU Community. Although it takes a bit of getting used to, you’ll soon feel right at home!

You can get to know the YU Community in many ways:

  • Complete YU START. All newly admitted students are encouraged to participate in this new student transition program because it includes all the information new YU students need!
  • Attend York U’s Orientation Day. On this day, you’ll meet new and senior students, peer mentors and professors from your major program, explore the campus and even attend the official York Welcome Ceremony! You can register for this event using YU START.
  • Get to know your classmates and professors. After all, you’ll be spending lots of time with them! I’ve found that the best way to get to know professors is to actively participate in lectures and tutorials and visit them during their office hours.
  • Visit the RED Zone, a kiosk located in Vari Hall and run by Student Ambassadors who can help you locate on-campus resources. Stay up-to-date with the RED Zone and their #YORK101 Guides, Kidus and Mayu, for any information you may need as you transition into university!

Bigby’s Success Tip: When you come across something difficult, be positive and believe in yourself.

2) Due dates are closer than they appear: be sure to do your projects/homework ON TIME!

A GIF of Claire Sawyer handing Moze a large stack of papers.
No matter how much work we are given (by Claire Sawyer or our professors), it’s manageable if we break it up into smaller pieces!

Time flies in university – the due dates and exams arrive a lot sooner than you may have expected. One of the best ways to manage your deadlines (according to Ned) is to keep a schedule. For example, if you have to read a novel, calculate how many pages per day you have to read – eight to 10 pages a day sounds a lot less scary than a 220-page novel!

It’s also a good idea to transfer the important dates from your courses’ syllabi into your calendar to plan out your workload. Then you can schedule when you will work on assignments for each of your classes well before the due dates. Once you do this, you’ll have all your study times and assignments organized for the entire term!

The Learning Skills Services’ Time Management & Academic Reading Resources and our previous #YUBlog post, “Time Management Tips for York U Students” are also great resources that can help you with your studies.

Bigby’s Success Tip: I know it doesn’t feel like it but professors are people too and if you just do the work or at least try in class, you’ll be amazed how much your grades shoot up.

3) Don’t stress or you’ll make a mess.

A GIF of Coconut Head upset and screaming while raising his arms up in the air.
Don’t be like Coconut Head – when things go wrong, think positively!

While at university, it’s important to take care of our physical, mental and emotional selves; this means we need to stay balanced. It’s a good idea to take time each day to do something you enjoy, even when it may be difficult to manage the demands of work and home. When things get tough, you can reach out to any number of resources, including:

Remember, grades are important, but they aren’t the most important thing in life – your physical and mental health should always be a priority!

Bigby’s Success Tip: More than a class, health is a lifesaver so pay attention.

4) Set goals for yourself during the school year.

An image of Ned speaking while a notepad showing Tip #244 (If you don't like something, don't complain. Change it.) is in front of him.
Set monthly or term-long goals to keep yourself motivated!

We all want to graduate with a fantastic GPA, but many of us are unsure how to achieve it. One of the most important things to do is to set academic goals at the beginning of the term. This way, you’ll have something to work toward and you may take your studies more seriously with a goal in mind! I find that keeping my goals in a visible place, whether it be on my desk or my phone wallpaper, is the best way to remember my objectives.

There are also plenty of academic resources at York U that can help you achieve any academic goal you may have, including:

Bigby’s Success Tip: Don’t do nothing, keeping working hard.

5) THE FINAL AND MOST IMPORTANT TIP EVER (which was technically Moze’s tip all along): Have fun. Don’t have unreasonable expectations and go with the flow.

A GIF of the "bullies" dancing in the hallway.
Be sure to attend York U’s Club Day during YorkFest in September to learn about even more club options!

There are plenty of opportunities to get to know people across campus that can make your university experience more memorable! The best places to meet new people include your classes, clubs and councils. Check out the following resources to learn how to get involved in the YU Community:

Central Student Governments

College Governments

There is a representative college council for each of the nine Colleges. Be sure to consult with the following list for more information about your program’s College Council.

Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD)

Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD) is the heart of student life at York U. It creates and maintains a variety of programs at York U, from Learning Skills Services to York U’s RED Zone and the Peer Leader Community.

In addition to each of these fantastic student leadership opportunities, you can also join student clubs at York U using YU Connect and attend various College events. Once you go with the flow of the YU Community, you’ll find yourself right at home in the Lions’ Den!

Bigby’s Success Tip: Don’t be afraid of trying out new things because you just might like it.

We hope that these five tips in our #YUBlog Declassified University Survival Guide will help you throughout your journey at York U! For even more tips, be sure to check out our previous #YUBlog post, “15 Resources for Any York Student“.

If you have any questions about the resources mentioned in this post, please comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents!

Sophie Morgan
Sophie Morgan

Sophie Morgan is a second-year Professional Writing and French Studies double major at York U. She is an avid writer, a baking enthusiast and a full-time cat-sitter. She hopes that her posts will inform and inspire both prospective and current York U students!

See other posts by Sophie Morgan