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Opinion

To new students, from a former new student

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Entering university can be daunting. Navigating a new environment, while figuring out the workings of the academic world, is bound to be stressful. The parental pressures, and separation from high school friends, can lead to students feeling alone, even amongst their classmates. This is further perpetuated by universities callously treating students as a number, and working to fill as many seats as possible.

Like many students, I had some anxiety around starting university. I wasn’t sure if I was going to find a career I wanted, or even a subject I enjoyed. As a disabled student, I wasn’t sure how I would keep up in classes, or fit in with peers. What I found at UFV quickly erased my fears.

UFV is a community-based university. Professors have smaller classes and office hours to help students. There’s a ton of resources on campus from tutoring to counselling, and even academic advising. There’s events at the school in between and after classes where you can meet and hang out with peers. The great thing is, at UFV, everyone on staff wants the students to succeed. Students aren’t a number, they’re the faces of a new generation.

This supportive environment brings peers together, and encourages students to do their best. At a university that gives you the support and tools to do well, all you have to do is put in the effort. While there’s still the stress of exams and ridiculously long papers, there’s also spaces to de-stress and hang out with friends.

My first year was a rocky one. Trying to achieve a high GPA, while also dealing with a health crisis, had me so stressed I considered dropping out. However, with the support of my professors, and the disability resource centre, I was able to complete the year successfully. When other staff members heard of my plight, I was overwhelmed with support and kind wishes. My peers were also encouraging, lending notes and cheering me on.

As I was encouraged my first year, I hope to encourage you, new students. You’ve made a big step in your journey by coming to university, and you’ve picked a great one to attend. So don’t be afraid to ask questions, take advantage of resources, and engage in activities. That anxiety won’t last long once you find your groove. Pretty soon you’ll wish you could stay forever. Most likely because you’ll realize the work force is unstable and even more daunting than university. Good Luck!

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