Written by Alana Spira,
Dear First Year Me,
Congratulations! You made it out of high school – Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you make the most of the next four years.
DO go outside of your comfort zone! I know it’s cliché, but the most incredible experiences happen in the places you least expect.
DON’T eat only pop-tarts and Mac and Cheese. I know it’s tempting, but this gets old fast. Throw an apple in there once in a while.
DO travel – whether its at the Castle, an exchange, or a summer road trip, travel is a great way to change your perspective and learn about the world. Queen’s has some great experiences to broaden your horizons.
DON’T sleep through your Monday morning classes – even though you hate that 8:30am calculus class, you will be glad you went at the end of the semester when you don’t have to scramble to learn 12 weeks of material in 12 hours.
DO make the most of all the amazing resources on campus – whether it is the Peer Learning Assistants, who will help you create a study schedule, or the amazing Hillel Director who will help you find your Jewish home on campus. It can be tough being a first year student away from home for the first time. These resources are invaluable to helping you settle into this crazy little City of Kingston and making it your home.
DON’T overplan. It is great to have a goal and know where you want to go, but it is equally incredible to find things you are passionate about and see where those leads you. Sometimes the place you end up is a place you least expected, and is better than anything you could have imagined.
DO Get involved in clubs, like Hillel. It is an amazing way to meet some of your best friends and develop strong leadership skills. Hillel was my home away from home, a place where I started as a volunteer and became President. I was inspired by those who came before me, and mentored by those who came after me. I had the resources and support to plan events and create a community on campus. It is through this community that I met some of my best friends – people who share strong Jewish values and a love of meatballs and kugel.
DO Remember to stop and enjoy the experience. You are only in university once. It is easy to get stressed with all the assignments and deadlines, but take a moment to stop and connect with the people around you and the crazy things you only get to do at Queen’s – like walking around all day during Hoco or dancing all night at Bar Mitzvah Bash – it’s amazing how fast four years goes by.
Dear First Year Me, I am so excited for all Queen’s has in store for you. You are going to love it!
Love, Alana, The Bubbie of Hillel