So you attended New Student Orientation — now what? Your first few days on campus can be daunting. You still don’t really know where anything is, how anything works, or how to get free parking. Here are some tips to help you survive your first semester at UFV.
1. Make new friends
It may seem pretty basic, but making friends in class is one of the best things you can do. Developing a solid crew for working on assignments, or just testing out someone’s project-partner compatibility, is a great way to start each new semester. Not only will campus life feel more friendly and familiar, but you will find that this new support network is a great resource for your overall academic success.
2. Explore the campus
Three places you will want to find are a study zone, naptime real estate, and a place to just chill. It’s really important to find a study zone that fits your personal needs. For eerie silence, head up to the top floor of the library (called “the stacks”). If you want a low buzz of background activity, choose somewhere like the Rainbow Lounge in B building, or the bottom floor of the library. If you enjoy a deafening roar of conversation around you, try the cafeteria between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
You might also need to recover from a crazy weekend, or that exhausting calculus class. Having a comfy spot on campus to catch up on some “z”s is a good way to make sure you are alert for your next class. I won’t reveal my personal naptime destination, but a couple of popular spots are the big leather couches in G building, or the benches in the geography wing of A building, on the top floor.
As for a chill-space, the cafeteria can be a gong show, so some other top picks are the Science Centre, or our brand-spanking-new Student Union Building. Of course, there’s always the Canoe, the restaurant on campus which, incidentally, serves real beer! With alcohol!
3. Look for cheap textbooks
Shopping for five classes at $100 per textbook might roughly equate to your first month’s rent. Buying them used is a great way to save money. You can troll the bulletin boards scattered around campus to find a textbook on the cheap, or check websites like Books 2 Go. This site in particular allows you to search specifically by institution and class. Also, always make sure to ask your instructor before buying an older version of a required text to make sure that it will still be appropriate.
4. Use the free parking zones
Finding a free parking spot is a great way to save money all semester long. Think about it this way: every $2 you save on parking is another coffee you can afford during finals, which is roughly equivalent to an extra three hours of sleep-free study time before your exam! Some of the best spots include the big Park and Ride just off the McCallum exit, the parallel street parking on McCallum across from the old movie theatre, and down the hill on King Road.
5. Check out student services
A lot of students fail to take full advantage of the student services on campus. Even if you feel that you understand the material covered in class, and are happy with your grades, stop by one of these centres to get even more out of your educational experience. For tips on anything from fine-tuning an essay, to making a presentation, to studying smart (not hard) — someone, somewhere, can help you. A few of these services are the Math Centre, the Academic Success Centre, the Science Centre, and Supported Learning Groups.
I hope these tips help you to not only survive your first semester, but to fondly incorporate the University of the Fraser Valley into your personal definition of home.