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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Putting the YOU in university: How to make the most out of your experience

November 4, 2020

TL;DR? This article is designed so that you can grasp the general gist of the article in one minute by only reading the words in bold.

Welcome to this journey that I am starting off. My name is David and I will be your tour gu… I am just joking. I am a regular student like you (probably) who would like to share some perspectives and opinions on how you can make your university life great in all of its aspects, but most importantly, great for YOU (not talking about the Netflix show, that’ll be weird). There are many flavors of ice cream that are great, but if you love chocolate ice cream like me, then chocolate ice cream is not just a great flavor, it is a great flavour for YOU, and that won’t necessarily be the case for everyone. You know what I mean. Enough (or “nuff”) said. 

Skip the next paragraph if you hate long introductions like me. 

University at first glance feels oddly bizzare and eerily familiar at the same time. You are used to having a schedule you follow for your class times, but you may not be so used to having so much independence in terms of class attendance. You may be used to attending a school with a relatively large population, but this hardly compares to the strange feeling of being in a place where you have come in contact with a LOT of people, and at the same time barely come in contact with anyone. In essence, the point I’m sprinting towards is that you have to adjust the way you think, as well as the way you live in general, in order to tap the massive potential university has. 

Let’s have a flashback moment to high school (ugh). High school is designed to follow a pretty standard curriculum in almost all aspects of school life. Everyone has to attend their classes (I never skipped class. Don’t roll your eyes). Everyone should be involved in some after school sport or club. Depending on your high school, everyone might even have to wear the same uniform (this was me by the way, see the image below). In terms of schedule, curriculum, and sometimes even clothes, everyone that passes through high school will generally have the same experience. 

What makes university different, in my opinion, is basically two things: independence and population. Independence allows you to craft your experience and population ensures you have the resources to do so. Independence allows you to design your experience to suit you and that is why people tend to have wildly different stories to tell about their university experience even if they attended the same institution. Thankfully, I was able to get a lot of advice from my siblings, but upon experiencing university for a month, it was shocking to me to see how different the picture I painted in my head was from reality. Using my experience, I have been able to put together some suggestions you could use to shape your university experience to be great (and great for you).

Now not everyone is an artist. I have seen myself in the mirror for years, but I still won’t be able to paint a good picture of my face. I’m not ugly, that’s just reality. Some people will be really good at shaping their experience while some others might just do an okay job. Regardless of whichever category you fall in, remember that you miss every buzzer beater you don’t shoot. 

I will give you five ways you can make the most out of your university experience over the course of this series: 

Securing your education

Here I’ll be showing you how you can change your mentality towards being more organized so you can ace the whole semester and not just that one midterm

Securing your health (health is wealth)

You can’t be productive in any of the other categories if you’re not healthy so hopefully you take this as seriously as I do. Furthermore, we’ll look at three different branches of this so you can be healthy as a whole, not as healthy as a hole.

Securing your friends

You have definitely heard that you are a reflection of the company you keep, so if you want to reflect prosperity in your university life, learn how to work with the right people that can shine the right light on you

Securing your finances (aka securing the bag)

Stop. I’m not going to show you how to make money. I’ll maximize this opportunity to show you how to generate wealth (health + wealth = Gucci nelt). Wealth will help you get money and much more so don’t limit yourself.

Securing your style/identity 

YOU are the final piece of the puzzle. I’ll advise you not to read this section until you’ve read all the others. Once you have an identity that embodies all the others, your confidence will be at its optimum and you’ll be in a great position to pass all this knowledge unto others. 

Think of this as a nature documentary. You will see a lot of familiar concepts being used and as well as the occasional unfamiliar one. That’s ok. Like a nature documentary, you’re supposed to develop a greater appreciation of what you have already in front of you and at your disposal. The responsibility then falls on you to either be the spectator or the actor. I suggest you choose the latter, it's a lot more tasking, yet a lot more enjoyable, a lot more uncomfortable, yet a lot more rewarding. 

The ball can either be in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC) or in your court. You choose!