Nervous, excited, or down right dreading the first day of your university class? We’ve all been there at one point in our lives, whether we were fresh out of high school or decided to take a break and returned to post secondary education.
It’s the first day and you have no idea what to expect! Yep, it’s a little awkward standing all alone making eye contact with others who are waiting outside the classroom, ten minutes before the class starts. However, these are the people with whom you will be having most of your courses with during your years at Ryerson, so get cozy! Acknowledge that you have made it this far and that you are pursuing an education at an awesome school and in the super cool field of nutrition! With that in mind, shoot a little smile at your peers and you’ll make a friend sooner than you know it!
The time creeps past and you start to flow into the doors of your first class along with all the other students like sand in an hourglass, slowly dispersing through and dispersing out into the array of seats. You sit down and settle in, pulling out your writing utensils or computer prepared to keenly write down every single word your professor spits out. You listen attentively, hands in the ready position to write down anything that sounds remotely important, but why is the professor talking about themselves? Isn’t this class?
Most of your classes during the first week will begin with an introduction to get to know your professor and to go through the course syllabus (AKA the most important document that your professor gives you – refer frequently to this document). As a half hour trickles by so begins the course content. Alas here is what you have been waiting for; the slides begin to show important notes! You multitask diligently writing down the new brain food as you listen to their lecture. As you keep up with their lecture, suddenly break time! Yes you get breaks!! Thank goodness because you have been dying to go to the bathroom!
You return to your seat, chat with your peers next to you and your break comes to an end. You continue to listen attentively and write down notes as the class winds down to an end. Guess what? You officially survived your first two or three hour class! And you know what else? It actually wasn’t so bad! You can do this! You look at your timetable and see that you need to be off to make it on time for your next class.
Your road to Ryerson has officially begun. Orientation and move-in days have come and gone and now it’s time to hit the books! To help you in starting your journey, Olivia and I have come up with six tips that as veterans of the nutrition program, we think are useful for new students:
1) Give yourself time – every change, whether moving to a new city or starting university can be equally exciting and stressful. It’s okay if you don’t feel completely oriented at Ryerson just yet. Don’t feel disappointed with yourself if you don’t do as well on a test or assignment. Sometimes we get easily caught up in being upset over one bad mark. In such moments, think of the bigger picture. One bad mark doesn’t mean that you aren’t a successful student! Try your hardest and with time, you’ll become more comfortable with writing university level papers and exams.
2) Maintain a social life – Your university experience shouldn’t only be focused on your academics. Your years at Ryerson will go by quickly! It’s worth becoming involved. With so many student groups on campus, find something your passionate about and take part in their events! Even if you choose not to become involved, it’s important to plan into your schedule a night off here and there to simply relax and get your mind off of school. Be sure to make time for yourself and for friends as school is much more than just your academics.
3) Become a mentee – Joining the Tri-Mentoring program at Ryerson was hugely important when we were in our first year. Having someone to talk to that has been through the same experience as you are going through now was extremely helpful, especially when we were first starting out in the program and we didn’t really know anyone at Ryerson yet. You don’t have to meet up with your mentor very often, but just having that extra support can make a difference. You can see what other students are doing and it provides you that extra insight that you don’t have just yet!
4) Don’t give into cramming – We’ve found that cramming for exams the night before isn’t the very best option to get you that A you’ve been dreaming of! It might’ve worked in the past but it’s not the best method for acing your exams! Don’t get us wrong, there have been times that we’ve stayed up writing a paper or studying early into the wee morning. However, study smart by studying in short periods of time daily as opposed to long shifts right before the exam.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help – You’re not alone in your journey. Reach out to your fellow classmates (you’re going to be seeing them every day and in every class), speak to your professors and visit them in office hours, stop one of us execs in the hallway or stop by the School of Nutrition office; everyone is here to help you to make your time at Ryerson a success! There are so many resources put in place to help you (counselling, chemistry tutoring, help in enhancing your writing skills, crafting resumes, and career planning) you just have to take the initiative to search for what you need!
6) Own your university experience and follow your path – Do what is right for you. You don’t have to finish your undergrad in four years nor do you have to become a dietitian. It’s okay to take longer to finish your degree or to learn what else you can do beyond dietetics. Explore what options you have and don’t hold back! Be open to learning about yourself and forging a path that will be right for you!
Best of luck to all of the first year students! We can’t wait to see you at our NCU events! Now it’s off to class, bright and early tomorrow morning!
– Megan Tran and Olivia Kordos