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20 Ways To Make The Most Of Your First Year

We all want to make the best out of our university experiences. Here are 20 ways to make the most of your first year of university. Written by Jessica Lam on behalf of RU Student Life.

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So you're heading off to university, ready to get a fresh new start, and you obviously want to make the most out of it. Remember to take every chance, risk, and opportunity you get. Everyone has the same worries – what if I don't make any friends? What if I can't maintain good marks? You need not worry – we've provided some tips on how you can make the most of your first year university experience.

1. Get to Know the Campus

Whether all your classes are in the same building or in completely different ones, you're at a great advantage if you know the campus area. Know that Jorgensen Hall, the library, Kerr Hall, and the Rogers Communications Centre are all interconnected – this will be useful during the winter months because you won't have to walk outdoors (unless you have class in a different building). Learn the labyrinth that is Kerr Hall so you don't get lost. If you ever get lost anywhere, don't hesitate to ask someone for directions.

2. Go to Orientation Week

If you're worried about not meeting people, here's your chance to start thinking otherwise! With events like the RU Amazing Race and RISE Gala, you're bound to make friends with tons of fellow Rams. Plus, it's a great way to get you even more excited to start university!

3. Attend School Events

Check out all the fun events at the Week of Welcome (the first week of classes). Show your support for our Rams by going to sports games. Sing your heart out at the Ram in the Rye during karaoke nights. Whatever events you decide to attend, there is never a dull moment at Ryerson!

4. Make Lots of Friends

Whether it's a shy "hello" or a funny icebreaker, you should try to make as many friends as possible! Who knows? You may just end up meeting one of your future best friends... Or your future Valentine's date.

5. Join Extracurriculars/School Clubs

Extracurriculars and school clubs are a great way to meet other people who share the same interests! For those of you in fandoms, check out Fanatics Domain. For you computer science lovers, there's Robotics. There are numerous clubs at Ryerson for whatever hobbies you may enjoy.

6. Get Involved

Why not do something good and volunteer at the Toronto General Hospital? Or get some cool television experience at Rogers TV? Not only will you gain valuable experience, you'll meet people in the industry and possibly have a chance of getting a future job!

7. Go to the Eaton Centre... Until You Get Sick of It

Wow! Going to school right beside the Eaton Centre?! How will I control my spending habits?! Don't worry, you'll get tired of Eaton's pretty fast. You probably won't end up spending that much anyways – the advantage of being downtown everyday is catching the $$$ales.

8. Try Lots of New Restaurants

I personally loooooooooooove trying new foods. There are tons of great restaurants around Ryerson! If you're a picky eater, try and be a 'lil more adventurous. Try the amazing takoyaki at Guu Izakaya and the delicious meatballs at Scaddabush. Or even the kimchi fries at Banh Mi Boys. If you're a vegetarian, try the saag paneer at Everest.

9. Work Out at the RAC or MAC

Three reasons why you should check out the RAC or the MAC: 1. Gym membership is included in your tuition, 2. it's good for your health, and 3. you can squat your way to a cute butt.

10. Go On A Date

Whether it be with someone off Tinder or someone you bumped into at a post office, going on dates can be fun. First dates are great because you get to know cool new people. Who knows – you may even hit it off with one of these lucky dudes/gals!

11. Be Active On Social Media

Facebook is absolutely essential – it will most likely be the number one source of communication between you/your classmates/people in your program. Twitter and Instagram are necessary to keep up to date with everything. Besides, who doesn't use social media these days?

12. Take Lots of Photos

Okay, not necessarily selfies, if that's not your thing. If you're out with your friends having a good night, take a group photo. If you're trying out a new restaurant, take pictures of your food. If you're exploring new areas of the city, take photos of the urban scenery. Whether you plan on keeping them on your phone, uploading them on Facebook, or printing them out for a scrapbook, they'll be good memories you'll look back on in the future.

13. Start A Blog

Blog about fun days you've had with friends or cool events you've attended. Personal blogs are nice to write out your thoughts and feelings. Not much of a writer? Document your favourite memories in photographs and caption them. Tumblr and Wordpress are both excellent blogging platforms.

14. Relax

If your schedule permits it, take a lazy day off. Take a break from studying and working and spend it binge-watching your favourite TV show and eating junk food. Or, if you're just that tired, you could spend it sleeping all day.

15. Network

Befriend your professors. Attend office hours. Form groups with different people for different group assignments. All of these things will be beneficial to you in your future career endeavours. Also, don't forget to always be nice to everyone – the person sitting beside you in class might be your boss one day!

16. Don't Get Hung Up On Things

Got a bad mark on that essay you spent weeks writing? Unhappy with the mark you got on that group project only you put any effort into? Don't get too hung up over things. Move on, because there will be more chances for you to upgrade your marks. Even if there aren't, you could always retake the course.

17. Put Effort Into Your Classes

This is probably the most obvious point but it's something that we all forget... When it's the night before our final essay worth 30% is due. Go to class, do your work, and study! If you don't at least put some effort into your classes, you're not allowed to cry about your GPA later.

18. Look At Everything Positively

As quoted by Roald Dahl: "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." Don't compare yourself to anyone. Don't ever let yourself be sad. Don't put anyone down. If you look at things in a positive perspective, you will be faced with positivity!

19. Apply For That Internship/Job

Don't be afraid to apply for internships or jobs. You may not have any experience in your field, and yes, there may be candidates more qualified than you are, but it doesn't hurt to send over a resume! Who knows? There's a chance you may get it, so why not? And if you don't, that's okay too, because you will have many more opportunities.

20. If You Don't Like Your Program, Transfer

So you're halfway through first semester, and you realize your program isn't something you'd like to commit to for the next few years. Instead of putting money and time into studying something you don't enjoy, transfer into a program you can see yourself enjoying. Whether it's to a different program in your faculty, or a completely different school, you should study something you're happy to devote all your time and effort to.