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Three students at the top of the stairs at Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre
August 19, 2019
3 mins read

Making UBC your own

I have a confession to make: when I started at UBC I had no clue what I wanted to get out of my time here. Sure, I had picked my classes, but I hadn’t thought about how I planned to learn outside the classroom.

As a student, there will be days that can feel like years, but more often than not, the years (when you look back) will feel like days. Yes, I feel like a grandparent saying that, but take it from me—a person who (somehow) completed a degree not too long ago—you are about to enter the fast lane!

With this journey about to start, it’s time to roll the windows down, think about some pit stops along the way, and most importantly breathe in that crisp air because your ride is about to begin.

But I’m not even there?

It may feel too soon to be thinking about what you want to do with your time at university, but hey, it’s never too early to start imagining your new life. Just like it’s never too early for some gas station snacks on a road trip, right?

Take a look at some of the traditions, unique places, and music, theatre, and art that you can immerse yourself in. It might be time to start a UBC bucket list after seeing some of these! It doesn’t have to be anything monumental—maybe simply getting active is your thing? Starting a list in the notes section of your phone is a great portable way to keep track of things you might want to do as you find out about them.

Making UBC your own means different things to different people.

For me, it was ultimately working in our residence life program and volunteering as my department’s student representative, two things that helped me develop leadership and time-management skills, while also having fun!

For you, it might mean leading a student-directed seminar, going on exchange, running for a student government position, attending some of the numerous events on campus, or just treating yourself to a Triple-O Tuesday burger. There’s something for everyone.

Is this for me?

It’s an important question that I asked myself a lot throughout my degree, but you’ll never know that an intense fitness bootcamp class isn’t for you unless you try it.

I tried a variety of things because it helped me make more informed choices about what I really wanted out of my university experience.

Through trial and error, I found out that certain classes didn’t interest me. I changed my major a couple of times. I tried my hand at a couple of clubs, like the Fashion Club and Blank Vinyl Project.

I got involved on campus as an Orientation Leader, Residence Advisor, and Equity Ambassador. I ended up continuing with a couple of these (obviously not all of them) after I knew which ones lined up with my passions.

Ultimately it’s a multi-year game of trial and error. It’s conversations with people who might seem cooler than you, but end up being just as quirky as (or even quirkier than) you. It’s applying for things that you might feel underqualified for. It’s trying a new food item.

Swipe right on new experiences outside your comfort zone, and you’ll eventually find your niche.

Four UBC students walking outside on campus

Do I have time for this?

You might be thinking: Hey, I’m trying to pack and move across the country. I don’t have time to think about this now.


But whatever the case, I encourage you to give it some thought!

Okay, it totally doesn’t have to be right this second, but maybe when you’re walking past club booths during Imagine Day, put your email address on a club that seems cool. If you’re participating in Jump Start, sit next to someone new during mealtime.

It’s not a lifetime commitment—it’s just a stop along the way. Maybe you’ll meet your best friend, or maybe you won’t end up liking the experience at all, and that’s okay too! It’s all part of figuring out who you are.

There will be bumps along the way, but this next journey will also bring you towards amazing people who will be there for you.

Claim this time in your life as your own to discover who you are, and what you want to get out of your time at UBC. And don’t forget to sneak in a couple beach trips along the way—the sunset is always a good pit stop.