Advice from Upper-Year Students

Posted by Deea Deb on May 4, 2022

Academic Success

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Hey Lions! Some of you may be starting at York in the summer or taking summer courses. Starting university can be quite exciting and overwhelming at the same time. We have so many questions like “will I be able to make friends?”, “How should I prepare for university?”, “what are the instructors going to be like?” and more! Don’t worry!  This #YUBlog post features advice from upper-year students who were once in your position and have learned through experience. We asked them for one piece of advice that they would give to first and second-year students.

Personal growth

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“What are often considered mistakes or failures are opportunities to learn and grow as a person.”

At university, you are responsible for yourself. You have a ton of freedom in terms of how you want to handle your personal life, social life and academics, especially if you are living away from your family for the first time. As you transition into university, things will change around you; you will change.

Hiru Balasuriya, fifth year, Biology, has some advice for those who are anxious about fitting in.

There will be times when you feel like you should let go of yourself to fit in. Don’t stray away from who you are as a person. You will find people who will love you for who you are. Put yourself out there, take risks, but never change your values for fear of being judged by others.

As a first-generation student, Priya Saha, fifth-year, Communications and Media Studies, faced many challenges but she overcame them. Here’s what she has to say.

No matter what struggles you encounter, aim to maintain a positive mindset and don’t let your hardships define you. It will not be a smooth sailing ship every day, but the journey is totally worth it!

Resilience is a key trait at university, and you will develop it as you progress through the years. You will become tougher! What’s important is that you learn to discover yourself and how you learn best.

Jodie Chinnery is a third-year, Human Rights and Equity Studies double major with certificates in Refugee and Migration Studies and Indigenous Studies. Her advice for those of you who are afraid to fail is:

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or failing! What are often considered mistakes or failures are opportunities to learn and grow as a person, in relationships with others, and in whatever roles you may currently be in! Own your mistakes and failures, celebrate them, and grow from them!

Academic success

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Take some workshops with Learning Skills Services and learn how YOU learn!

Our fear of failure is closely linked with the amount of importance that we place on our GPA. Yes, it is great to have an outstanding record at university. It can open many doors for you. However, if you sacrifice your mental and physical health for your GPA, you won’t be able to take advantage of these opportunities when they come by. On the other hand, if you do need help with your academics, here are some reading, note-taking, and study strategies that every university student must know.

Theanna Joyce is a fourth-year student pursuing a major in Linguistics and Language Studies with a minor in Psychology. Here’s what she has learned from her time at university:

Check your perspective. Whether you’re just starting an assignment or in the middle of exams, it’s so easy to think that school is everything and to be so overwhelmed that you can hardly think. It’s important to remember that university is only a few years of your life and that you are worth more than your GPA. Obviously, try your hardest to succeed but don’t let it define you.

Often, failures arise from bad time management. Not taking your time seriously at university can result in falling behind on coursework and missing deadlines. Here are five mistakes you make while planning your day. Don’t get me wrong, we all procrastinate, but when deadline/exam season is around the corner, you have to pull up your socks and put in the work. Learn what type of procrastinator are you to find better solutions!

Silja Mitanje, fourth year, English and Professional Writing, has valuable advice for you:

Look at your first and second years as roots, a foundation for your academic success. Be intentional with your time—study time, personal time, and time to attend lectures and tutorials. Having said that, I also encourage you to not be hard on yourself, maintain healthy study habits and try to branch out into the university extracurricular experience.

Getting involved

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Explore York’s 300+ clubs and organizations to learn more about yourself and meet new people!

Taking the cue from Silja, don’t forget that university is not just about academics. There are a ton of things you can do to have a more fulfilling experience. Getting involved at university will help you make friends, network with future professionals, learn new skills, test-drive careers, and more! Katherine Mazzotta, a fourth-year, History and French Studies Double Major and Concurrent Education student asks you to:

Try new things even if they scare you. It’s okay not to have the same identity that you did in high school.

Amorin Amello, fifth year, History and Geography, is also of the same opinion. Here’s her advice for all of you:

Always strive to push yourself out of your comfort zone as that is the only way to experience the most personal growth. I would also recommend that students get involved in the York community through participating in student clubs, councils, playing intramural sports or participating in frosh. York has a wonderful community and getting involved has made my experience an excellent one.

These upper-year students have created a unique university experience for themselves, and you can too! Explore what’s out there, ask questions, talk to students, faculty, and university staff members to make connections and customize your York experience!

To stay up to date on campus life and events, connect with York on social media. You can follow us on Facebook @YorkUStudents, Twitter @YorkUStudents, Instagram @studentlifeyu and with our weekly This Week @ York emails.

Deea Deb
Deea Deb

Deea Deb is a third-year English and Professional Writing major at York University. She loves reading, travelling, being organized, and writing. She hopes to help York students succeed at university.

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