What I Wish I Knew in First Year

What I Wish I Knew in First Year

New to campus? Here are our top tips to be ready for university life from day one.

1. Studying on campus

Need a space to work on a group project outside of your dorm room? Book a study room online here, all you need is the barcode on the back of your student card! The best ones are located on the 5th floor of the Learning Crossroads building (CRX).

CRX also has plenty of great individual study spaces and is our go-to for all-nighters.The third floor of the Social Sciences Building (FSS) and the computer labs in Desmarais (DMS) also rank among some of our favorites.

2. Getting to class on time

Let’s face it, finding your classes for the first time can be a challenge, even in upper years. Spare yourself some stress and checkout ClassFind before heading to your first lecture.

To avoid the chill of an Ottawa winter, use the tunnels and overpasses across campus. Locate the buildings that are connected using the virtual map and follow the blue arrows for shortcuts.

3. Avoid exam stress

Finals can be very stressful but DON’T PANIC, there are lots of resources on Campus that were created to help you succeed. For example, academic mentors will often organize group study sessions one week before the exam or you can make one-on-one appointments with them. As for term papers, the Academic Writing Help Centre will read over all of your work and help you with the technical aspects of your essay.

Should you find yourself sick on the day of your exam or are incapable of attending it for any reason, look to your faculties policies regarding differed exams.

4. How to get the best schedule

Creating your schedule for the year can seem intimidating at first but there are a lot of tools that can make it easier. First, head to the uOttawa site and see which courses are being offered in the proceeding semester as well as the professor offering it. You can always go take a look at Rate My Prof to see reviews other students have left about the prof and the course. Then, look to an online schedule builder to see all the possible options available to you. Once you found a schedule that fits you and your requirements, all you need to do is enrol!

5. How to stay on top of your finances

Unlike popular belief, it IS possible to finish university without drowning in debt. The University offers the Work-Study Program for students who demonstrate financial need in order to pay tuition. There are also paid internship possibilities offered through the CO-OP Program.

Don’t forget to apply to scholarships and financial aid through the uOzone portal!

6. Mental Health

Throughout university, you can find yourself forgetting to take time for yourself and your mental health. Thankfully, the Student Academic Success Service (SASS) offers a lot of resources to help with your general well-being such as academic accommodations, student mentoring, as well as counseling and coaching. You can book appointments with counsellors or find one of our well-being events like pet therapy!

Don’t forget to stay active, it’s easier than you think! Through your tuition, you are given access to both on-campus gyms and the pool. There are also multiple activities planned throughout the year designed to keep you active; make sure to look for the various posters around campus or consult uOcal.  

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