Hello readers, it’s that time of the year again, summer’s almost over and it’s time to start the new academic year. I want you to have a wonderful start to the semester and have compiled a list of some of the top things to do during your first week. Whether you’re a new student or a returning one, I hope you find this list useful.
1. Attend UVic Orientation: First, let me congratulate you on being accepted to UVic. You’ve made it through the long application process and you’re finally here. So be excited, you’re in for a few of the most memorable years of your life!
UVic offers orientation programs for both undergraduate and graduate students starting their first semester at UVic. This is THE place to make new friends! The friends you make at UVic will have a huge impact on your life. No matter how smart or independent you are; you can’t go through university alone. Explore, have fun, and challenge yourself because this is the time to do just that and you’ll want friends by your side through all of that.
You’ll also get a chance to learn about campus services and locations; get some tips for success at university; and my favorite – a free barbecue lunch 😉
2. Enjoy the UVSS Welcome Back Event – Campus Kick Off: The University of Victoria Students’ Society (more commonly known as the UVSS) welcomes new and returning students by hosting some awesome free events during the first week.
On September 7th, the first day of class: enjoy a free pancake breakfast, a BBQ lunch, and dance to some tunes as bands play music on the Student Union Building (SUB) roof!
Cap off the night by watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the Quad in front of the McPherson library.
On September 8th: support your local community by checking out the UVSS Farmers’ Market, and then ‘catch ‘em all’ at the Pokemon Go PokeSafari!
On September 9th: see what Vikes Nation is all about at Thunderfest, an event brought to you by Vikes Nation in collaboration with UVSS, UVic Orientation, and Res Life.
Cheer on the UVic Vikes soccer teams at Centennial stadium where the women’s team face the MacEwan University Griffins at 5:15 pm and the men’s team face the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades at 7:15 pm!
Remember the friends you made at orientation? Invite them to these various events and feel like a total boss when they ask, “omg, how do YOU always know about these cool events on campus?”
For more info, check out the UVSS Facebook Page.
3. Join a Club or a Course Union (or both!): Learn about over 200 clubs and course unions and how you can get involved on September 14th and 15th at Clubs and Course Union Days.
From the Vikes Improv club to the UVic Outdoors Club to the UVic Meditation club, there’s a club for everyone!
This is a great way to get involved on campus and meet new people who share similar interests.
I joined the UVic Billiards Club and PsychOS (UVic Psychology Organization of Students), a psychology course union, during my first semester and have met some really cool friends who have not only helped me find opportunities on campus but have also given me advice on which classes to take and which profs to stay away from 😉
4. Explore Your Surroundings:
Our UVic campus (pictured above) is beautiful and so is Victoria!
First week is relatively easy going and this is the perfect opportunity to explore. If you’re a new student, you might want to start on campus first. Take your roommate or your new friend and go find out where your classrooms are, where you’d like to study for your tests, and where you’d like to eat lunch in the future. Find out where the nearest microwave is; or check out your new workout area or join an intramural team at CARSA (Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities); grab some popcorn and enjoy a movie at Cinecenta; or check out the magical Mystic Vale; or take a stroll through Finnerty Gardens. Just get out of your room and make the most of this first week!
Next, venture off campus and explore the city of Victoria. Relax at one of the beaches, or go downtown and find your new favorite coffee shop or your new favorite sushi restaurant. There’s lots to do!
Here are some of my personal favorites – Sizzling Tandoor, Tacofino, Red Fish Blue Fish, Ebizo Sushi, Discovery Coffee, Cadboro Beach, and Beacon Hill Park (pictured below).
5. For Those 19 and Over – Check Out Our Local Watering Hole – Felicita’s Campus Pub: We have a pub on campus! I repeat, ON CAMPUS!
Felicita’s (sometimes called Fels) has a great selection of food and local beer. They organize awesome weekly events where you’ll meet and compete with lots of new people and you’ll also get a chance to win some great prizes.
They also have some great daily features – Hoyne Brewing Company’s Dark Matter on Pool & Trivia Night (on Tuesdays) and 50 cent wings on Karaoke Night (on Thursdays) are my personal favorites.
I’ve regularly been going to Felicita’s Pool Night on Tuesdays since my first week at UVic and I’ve met some great folks there and I’ve also won some free prizes 😉 Come say hi and shoot some pool if you happen to be there on a Tuesday night!
Visit their website for more info.
6. Answer Your Phone: You don’t want to piss off your parents during this first week, so don’t ignore their texts or phone calls.
They miss you and may genuinely be worried if this is the first time you’re going to be away from home. Not answering their calls or not replying to their texts is only going to make them more worried. So answer your phone and let them know that you’re fine and that you’re having fun and that you’re actually going to class. If you’re really that busy, send them a short text saying you’ll call them back later, it only takes a second or two.
BONUS TIP: Surprise your parents by calling them instead, and ask how they’re doing?
Don’t forget about this tip after the first week though, remember this whenever you’re away from home!
7. Get Down to Business: Alright, so you’ve hopefully attended orientation and campus kickoff, made some new friends, joined a club or two, explored your surroundings, had a chance to sing on Karaoke night at Felicita’s, and have even called your parents! What now? Well, now it’s time to get down to business – work on your course schedule, buy textbooks, and prepare for future assignments and tests.
Course Schedule – First, make sure you’re taking the classes you’re supposed to. Check the program worksheets on this website where you can find required courses for the program that you’re enrolled in. Next, make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew! Five classes per semester is considered to be a full course load, but don’t be afraid to take less than five if you can’t handle all of them at once or if you’re taking a few super challenging courses at the same time. It’s much better to get an A average when enrolled in a few courses than it is to get a B average while enrolled in many. You’ll also have more of a social life 😉
Finally, go to class, evaluate the prof, and see if the class meets your expectations. Don’t worry if it doesn’t, you can drop a course before September 20th for a 100% tuition refund or by October 11th for a 50% refund. Check the UVic Calendar for more important dates.
If you’re feeling stressed or if you need a hand with course planning, meet with an academic advisor. They’re capable of answering your toughest questions and believe me, you’ll feel a lot less stressed after that appointment.
Textbooks – Now that your schedule looks slick, you’ll need some textbooks if you haven’t bought them already.
First, you need to find out if you can get an A+ without buying a textbook and if so then it’s time to forget about the textbook! There are courses in which you can do just fine without a textbook and then there are courses in which answers to all the questions on the exam can ONLY be found in the textbook. If you find yourself to be in a class belonging to the latter category then buy yourself a textbook and ALWAYS BUY USED, unless you need some sort of access code you can’t purchase separately. Do some extra homework (scope out ratemyprofessors.com, talk to upperclassmen, find free pdfs online, etc.) upfront to determine which books you need and which you don’t. It’ll save you some money!
My go-to source for used textbooks is the UVic Textbook Exchange Facebook group. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on the above Facebook group then check out Subtext in the SUB, and if you still don’t find what you’re looking for check out the bookstore which has both used and new textbooks. BONUS TIP: You can also rent textbooks for a semester or two from textbookrental.ca!
Assignments and Tests: Most profs will take it easy, hand out syllabi, and glance over future assignments on the first day but you may soon feel stressed when you understand the full scope of your course load. So, be proactive and mark the important dates and times in your calendar – tests, assignments, final exams, even office hours. Immediately resolve any conflicts and plan how much time you’re going to spend on each course. Trust me, you don’t want to procrastinate too much and then feel overwhelmed the following week when you have two assignments due on Thursday and a mid-term on Friday!
If you do find yourself stressing out or feeling anxious about an assignment or test, remember that university life can sometimes be challenging and talking to a friend, a family member, your professor or TA, or an academic advisor or counsellor can do wonders.
BONUS TIP: If you pay attention during lectures, you can try and read your professor and guess what some of the questions on your test will look like. I do this ALL THE TIME. Some profs have visible tells, much like in poker. You may notice a change in body language, voice tone, etc. and sometimes they’ll straight up tell you that you may see this on the test. I had one prof last semester who used to look up from his lecture notes, raise his eyebrows, widen both eyes , and then say something along the lines of – “and this is another one of those important concepts that we will talk about in this course.”
8. Take care of yourself:
By the start of the second week, you’ll have homework to do, assignments to complete, and tests to study for. You might feel a little homesick, and this new sense of freedom might feel a little overwhelming. You may miss your high school friends or your long-distance partner. Remember that we all have ups and downs in life and this is how we learn, develop and grow. Some battles you’ll win and some you’ll lose but always remember to take care of yourself and get back up when you’re feeling low. I know it can be hard sometimes, so make sure you have a good social support network, learn about the various resources on and off campus, and take advantage of these resources if need be.
Here are some of the awesome resources we have on and off campus –
UVic Academic Advising – 250-721-7567 ext. 6
UVic Counselling Services – 250-721-8341
UVic Health Services – 250-721-8492
Campus Security and Personal Safety Coordinators – 250-721-7599
Resource Centre for Students with a Disability – 250-472-4947
Residence Services – 250-721-8395
Well, folks, this brings us to the end of this blog post. As you can see, I LOVE GIF’s and I hope you enjoyed some of the above ones. I also hope you found something useful up there! Take care, have fun, and stay safe.
See you next time 😀
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The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.