Take Charge Of Your University Experience

Posted by Khalila DeGrasse on January 10, 2019

Academic Success | Student Life

When I started attending York U, I was so excited about the opportunity to go to university, make new friends and gain some good life experiences. I knew that coming in as a new student to such a large school, there would be many things to learn and get involved with. Even though I commute to school and have a job outside of my studies, I was sure I was going to make it all work. Fast forward to the end of my first semester and I’m drowning in homework, and find myself in a routine of waking up, coming to class, going to work, going home to do homework, falling asleep, repeat. It got to the point where my stress levels were rising but I didn’t have the support of a group of friends or knowledge of the wellness opportunities on campus to help me get through it.

Hopefully, these resources and opportunities can help you get a little more excited about university: I know I can’t wait to get involved this term!  You can use this list of clubs, services and resources to help with balancing the responsibility of being a student while maintaining good mental and physical health getting involved on campus and making new friends.

Mental Health Is Important

I know first-hand that the transition from working full-time to going back to university was a huge lifestyle change. I had to get used to the workload and studying all over again, so it wasn’t always easy to keep it together and maintain my grades. York understands that this is a natural part of student life, so they support students with a range of  Mental Health & Wellness Resources .Mental Health Disability Services to Counselling. If you feel like your mental health might be negatively affecting you or your studies, consider talking to someone at the Student Accessibility  Services (SAS) or the Student Counselling & Development (SCD) offices. Both of these services are open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are both located at N110 in the Bennett Centre for Student Services and can be reached by telephone at 416-736-5297.  

Wellness Tip: The SCD has free workshops you can attend, check out this post to find out more!

York also offers an app called WellTrack that helps you monitor your mood and is designed to help you deal with stress and anxiety. Sometimes meeting with someone on campus doesn’t always work with your schedule or you might not be sure how to start explaining what you feel – this app may be the perfect guide to help you get on the right track.

Join an Intramural Sports Team

When I was in high school I wasn’t the most athletic person. The teams always required tryouts, making the teams competitive and hard to join. One of the things I learned about when I started going to university was intramural sports. Intramurals are recreational sports teams that all students can join regardless of your skill level. Athletics and Recreation offers drop-in sports, full semester leagues and tournaments.  Some teams require registration on IML Leagues, but there are options for drop-in badminton, 3-on-3 basketball or dodgeball.

You can also play as a part of your college faculty and they will cover the intramural fee!

Look under the tab “My Student Records” at My Online Services to verify your college affiliation. You can also gather up some friends and form your own team, but you will be required to pay a fee. Intramurals are available seasonally or all year round and it is a great way to make new friends and have a little fun.  Take a look at the sports available and join today

Try Group Exercise Classes

One of the best ways to start feeling better about yourself and kick away those bad mood blues is by hitting the gym! Sometimes we feel like we don’t have time to keep our bodies in healthy condition since we are spending so much time on the commute or in class, but exercising releases endorphins in your body that can make you feel happier. A scheduled workout time can give you a reason to stay on campus with a few friends or even challenge yourself physically!

Check out the list of drop-in classes at the Tait McKenzie Centre, York U’s fitness hub! They run every week and have many class options including spin, cardio and super circuit. All you need is a student membership which costs $15 per year. You could also join one of their group fitness classes— class passes cost $75 but allow you to access Yoga, Zumba, Muay Thai and Metafit HIIT training classes! Trust me, I understand the idea of spending an hour or two in the gym when you could be sleeping or studying isn’t always the most appealing, but this exercise break is what’s going to make you more productive. Baby steps!

Join or Create a Club on Campus

In my experience, one of the best ways to make new friends on campus is to join one of York’s 300+ Clubs and Organizations.  Not to mention, getting involved in a club or organization can expand your resume and co-curricular record! There are clubs for any and everything you could be interested in, like the Marvel Club or Black Women Bridging Borders. Every club listed has their specific contact information and you can contact each club organizer to find out how to join. Some clubs are open all year round, so you can join them any time! If you’d like to make your own club with friends, the parameters for recognition are a little more specific. Although, the time for starting your own club is usually the summer and the beginning of the school year, it’s always a good idea to get information and see what might interest you. Why not take the chance?

Sometimes when you’re so focused on getting to class and the commute home, you miss out on the helpful resources, fun clubs, sports teams and recreation opportunities York has to offer. I know my first year here I didn’t do much to get involved and I suffered not only mentally but academically. In my second year I made it a priority to get involved and I have been having the best time because of it. Not everything on this list may be for you, but you’ll never know until you try it. Let us know in the comments any ideas you may have for fun things students can get involved in on the York University campus.