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What I wish someone told me before I started university

August 23, 2018

I've learned a lot during my time at university so far. Below is a list of 14 things I wish that someone told me before I started my undergraduate degree.

Download a banking app


You can quickly deposit a cheque, send money to your friend after they cover your dinner bill, or check your accounts while on the go. The only reason you need to go to the bank is if you have to deposit cash or talk to someone personally about a problem. Having an app can spare you the embarrassment of your card being declined on a $2 purchase... as long as you check it first.

Make your coffee/tea instead of buying it 


Start this habit early so that lining up at one of the campus Tim Horton's is not a part of your routine. Buy a jar of Nescafé and a reusable coffee cup, I promise you it will make you rich.

Download the Durham Region Transit app 


Save yourself the Uber money and take the bus. The Durham Region Transit app lets you know when the bus arrives and how you can schedule your time better.

Eat breakfast


"Don’t miss breakfast, it saves lives." It's the most important meal of the day, yet it is also the most neglected. Breakfast makes you ready to face whatever the day throws your way. Don't miss it.

Go to class


Don’t skip class. Professors can announce things and give extra participation marks anytime. So, if you can, always attend class. Also, befriend your professors and ask questions if you need clarification. Make sure to talk to them after class - it pays when they recognize you as an engaged student.

Your health should be your #1 priority


Don’t blow off going to the doctor or dentist. It is incredibly important to take care of your body. The university has a Health Centre right on campus, so there's no excuse not to go.

Your health includes your mental health


Always make sure you value yourself and that you make your mental health a priority. Surround yourself with good people and set realistic goals. If you need to talk to a professional, Student Mental Health Services in the Office of Student Life has counsellors who are here to help you.

Try not to isolate yourself


Do not sit in your dorm all day, it can make you begin to feel lonely. If you’re bored, read a book, call a friend, exercise, join a club, start a YouTube vlog. Just don’t isolate yourself.

Manage your time wisely


This is so important in university. Make a schedule that includes time for studying, class, eating, naps, friends and most importantly, time for yourself. Stick to your schedule!

Check your grades


Make sure you know your grades at ALL TIMES. You could think you’re doing well then find out you need 101 percent to pass the class. Remember that an F doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means you need to make adjustments.

Go thrift shopping for clothes


Forget name brands. No one in college cares. If you search well, you will find really good stuff in thrift stores. You may need to wash it three times to get the old lady smell out, but it saves the cost of going to the mall and buying an outfit for $50 when you could get 10 outfits for the same price.

Order things online for cheaper 


Amazon is your best friend. Textbooks, electronics — anytime you need something, Amazon usually has the best price. Plus, students can get Amazon Prime free for 6 months - but make sure you cancel after that otherwise it will start to charge you.

Stay hydrated


I can’t stress this enough: drink water as much as you can! Tired? Drink water. Headache? Drink water. Bored? Drink water. Just drink water. Always. The university has water filling stations all over campus, so bring a reusable bottle from home and drink as much water as you can.

I learned all of these things the hard way in university so that you don't have to. Follow some of these tips and your days might go more smoothly than mine did.