Get involved and discover your interests
Leanne Young, Photo Editor
The first year of university is undoubtedly a busy time for students, but it is not just about getting your degree: It is also the best time to explore new interests and develop life long relationships. While you should not stretch yourself too thin, it’s important to keep an open mind, step outside of your comfort zone, and try new activities! Getting involved can help you discover yourself, meet new people, and take a breather from studying, all while giving back to the McGill community.
Drop out of political science, you dunce
Kevin Vogel, A&E Editor and former PoliSci bro
I came to McGill with big aspirations: I would graduate with a political science degree; get a cushy, bourgeois government job; maybe even become a big-city lawyer. Yet, these expectations failed to prepare me for the reality of student life. I dreaded political science classes, but told myself that things would improve if I kept with the program. When I finally accepted that I had no passion for my major, I had already taken 18 dismal credits in the program. Had I realized this sooner, I could have explored completely different disciplines instead of listening to centrists in international relations conferences defend military interventionism.
Take the classes you like
Gabe Nisker, Features Editor
At the end of my first-year, I sat in my dorm room and stared at my computer. I wanted to take a film studies class, but I needed to be a cultural studies major to take it. At first, I planned to major in economics, and I had circled the next set of economics classes as “musts” for my first U1 semester. However, the film studies classes I also wanted to take conflicted. I was bored by economic theory but pushed through it for the sake of future income and to please my parents. What I wish I had done instead was take the classes I wanted to from the get-go. Get the degree you want first; the job will come next.
Get some sleep!
Sophie Brzozowski, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Being a night owl by nature, I was instantly taken by McGill’s many opportunities for nocturnal recreation: 24-hour libraries, 3:00 a.m. last calls at the coolest bars, and a selection of fast food joints that delivered, for no good reason, until four in the morning. At first, my sleeplessness was mostly due to the fact that everything was simply too exciting, but by midterm season, I was paying for it. Yes, Montreal is beautiful at night, 2Chow tastes the best at 2:00 a.m., and the upper floors of McLennan the most tolerable in the wee hours of the morning, but getting enough sleep is simply non-negotiable.
Lower your expectations
Keating Reid, Copy Editor
Lowering your expectations is the quickest route to happiness. It may sound cynical, but consider how freighted with cultural baggage our university years are: This is the time when you’ll meet your lifelong friends and possibly your future spouse, discover your deepest passions, and sculpt the remainder of your time on this planet. Of course, none of this is necessarily true. Friends, partners, and passions don’t come and go on a schedule. The good news is that we’re people; we don’t have “best-before” dates. If the ‘university experience’ isn’t all you expected, don’t worry—they’re only the best years of your life if you let them be.
Ask for support
Abeer Almahdi, Managing Editor
In my first-year, I was constantly comparing myself and my success to other people, which took a toll on my mental health. It is important to recognize that everyone is on their own university journey, and that we are all going at different paces. It is important to ask for help and put you and your health first. Seek out safe spaces in clubs and cultural associations, or finding support from your floor fellow if you’re in residence, your advisor, group therapy, or counselling. Finding support networks is important, especially when McGill resources fall short of expectations.