A second start in residence

Morgan Meikle - 27 September 2021

Second year student, first time on campus? You are not alone.

Last year was far from the norm and many second year students are now experiencing their first time on campus (more than a little late!). Get the details on all the fears, excitement and what to expect from student leaders in the residence community—including some tips to take away.

Q1: What are you most excited about this year?

Connor, a second year BSc student, who returned to campus early for RA (Resident Assistant) training, touched on the importance of physical interaction to his learning style:

“I learn better when there is physical interaction. I’m excited to have a more similar experience to high school. RA training this year was a great glimpse into what in person classes will be like and I can’t wait.”

Alexis, a second year business student and Floor Coordinator in residence, talked about missing her first year experience:

“I’m really excited to meet all these new people and to get that second chance at a first year experience. It is amazing to have the opportunity to work as a student leader and have the excitement of first-time experiences at the same time.”

Q2: What are you most worried about this year?

Chris, a second year mechanical engineering student, mentioned the stress associated with managing a social life alongside his classes. Along with this, he expressed concerns about getting around campus:

“As a VP (Vice President) of a frat as well as the LHSA (Lister Hall Students' Association) on top of being an engineering student I’m a little worried that I will have a hard time managing my health and wellbeing with the increase in social events this year. I didn’t go on campus tours last year, I’ve never been in a real lecture hall, I’ve never had to walk across campus for classes... It’s going to be interesting trying to navigate campus as someone who hasn’t had those experiences already.”

Paul, a second year criminology student, had similar concerns:

“I am most concerned about wandering around campus like a tourist. I’m worried I won’t be able to find my lecture halls or where things are when I need them. I don’t want to get lost or miss something important.”

Q3: What is something you’ve found surprisingly useful about starting your second year this way? How has this situation impacted residence life?

Connor: It is very useful to have good study habits before hitting the party scene. My high school study habits didn’t cut it in university, but now I feel like I can handle the school/life balance because I know what the school component of university looks like.

Alexis: There is such a close knit community that has been created among students that missed their first chance. I think it has made this year's support system in residence stronger because we all want to make sure that this year is enjoyable, safe and better than last year for everyone.

Paul: I think it's an amazing thing to be able to connect with my peers and coworkers on a different level than other years. We all have this unique shared experience that has created a much closer and coordinated team of student leaders in the residence community. It's easier to keep the community safe and fun when we can empathize with each other's struggle.

Q4: Do you have any advice for other second year students experiencing their first year on campus?

Alexis: Don’t be scared to talk to people. Everyone else is just as nervous and excited as you are! Do your best to get out of your shell, it can be scary, but it is absolutely worth it.

Paul: Make an effort to be as outgoing as you can introverts and extroverts alike. If you try to step out of your shell and genuinely make that effort you will have more friends than you know what to do with!

Chris: Prioritize your mental health—if you have to pull back in any aspect of your life, it’s okay. Don’t make it a habit, but sleep, food and self-care are so important in every other aspect of your school experience. Put yourself first!

Connor: Join a club! I am an executive member of a club and it’s a great way to get to know people and be a part of campus. It can be hard to go into the community if you don’t get in right away. But this year is unique in that there is a much larger community just starting.

This year is going to be far from normal, but there is a community of students with similar worries and excitement here to support each other across campus and in residence. While no two experiences are ever the same, there is a level of empathy that second year students have for one another as we begin the new semester.

The close knit student support system in residence this year and our shared experience will work to make this semester easier for everyone. You are not alone! We are all doing our best to manage this transition and keep both grades and spirits high! Go out, have fun and make sure you put your health and wellbeing first.

Sincerely,

Your second-year student leaders in residence