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Students sitting in a class
April 24, 2019
3 mins read

We are all first years in the school of life

After first year there seems to be an expectation that you have things figured out: your major, your way around campus, your understanding that aluminum foil does not go in microwaves (figured this one out last week).  

But that isn’t always the case. Take, for example, the start of this year, my fourth at UBC, when I sat in the wrong lecture hall. After about 5 minutes, I realized the professor was definitely not lecturing about Geography. All the Spanish should’ve been a giveaway…

When it comes down to it, we are all like first years, navigating the turbulent, albeit magnificent, waters that are UBC—and life in general. Feeling uncertain, underslept, or overwhelmed are all part of the learning process.

While first year comes with a bunch of helpful resources to get you settled here on campus, it's not like they suddenly disappear once you pack up and head off for the summer—UBC has a wealth of resources accessible to all students! 

5 resources to help you along the way

If you’re struggling to decide on your major...

Check out the Academic Calendar. In the Calendar, you’ll find all the requirements for specific degrees and programs at UBC.

If you’re not sure how your courses will work towards a major...

The SSC’s Degree Navigator provides a detailed and customizable checklist—a useful tool for planning your upcoming schedule! I checked it last term and found out I had enough English credits to declare another Major, so it’s worth it to take a look! Note that this tool is not applicable for every program, so check out this post to see if it works for you.

If, like me, you still get lost on campus on a weekly basis...

Bookmark the Wayfinding at UBC Vancouver page. The interactive map features every nook and cranny where you could possibly take a wrong turn. Although it can be a bit tricky to use at first, it provides details that Google Maps just can’t match!

If you had a blast with intramurals, or are looking to pick up a new activity...

Keep up to date with the UBC Recreation page. I played on a dodgeball team in second year, lost every single game, and had a great time doing it.

If you’re looking for some tips and tricks for life on campus, some words of guidance and support, or just some world-class puns...

I highly, and shamelessly, recommend our own UBC Life Blog. We even have a round-up of 10 fantastic resources that I haven’t mentioned yet!

Staying connected to the first-year you

You might be beginning the next stage of your UBC journey—but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole team supporting you along the path.

Life is continually a process of learning, and relearning. Leaving first year doesn’t mean leaving first-year you behind. It’s important to keep in touch with who you’ve been, so you can better understand who you are today. In the ageless words of T.S. Eliot: “Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future.”

So, each week I make time for an activity that reminds me of first year. I run the route from my Totem Park days, or I listen to my favourite album from that period (Yo La Tengo’s I Can Feel The Heart Beating as One, if you’re interested). Through this process, I’m able to reflect on my journey at UBC. I see how I started as an excited, albeit clueless, first year, and have grown into an excited, slightly less clueless, fourth year.  

Somewhere along the way, the unknowing and uncertainties no longer seem like a daunting tempest, but have become instead singular and soothing waves on this ocean that is UBC.

Entering second year can be a big change—but that doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out. We’re all finding our way through this together—so embrace the uncertainties and find pleasure in the process of discovery.