If you are anything like I was, you have visualized this moment for a while. No, not your first time perusing your campus newspaper, but rather your first few days at Dalhousie University.
You have envisioned a lot of possibilities in your head, the friends you will make, confusion over where your classes are and surely the parties you will be attending.
Let’s be honest: you are idealistic. There is a tinge of nerves and perhaps homesickness, yet you are excited.
But that anticipation is now over. You have arrived. And you’re probably wondering if you should be as giddy as those hyperactive O-Week leaders who cannot stop smiling.
Here’s the short answer: you should be excited. Here’s the long answer: read this guide.
Your student newspaper, the Dalhousie Gazette, has crafted a survival guide of sorts to help you navigate this campus. It’s by students, for students. We know what it’s like to navigate post-high school life and all its challenges.
We will show you the Dalhousie your admission packet didn’t—with all its beauty prominently displayed but not ignoring the pimples, blemishes and ridiculousness.
This piece of literature has been formatted into numerous short blurbs summarizing what we know about this place. Our advice runs the full range, from how to pick the right electives to forming friendships, practicing safe sex and why you should explore this great city.
We know you’ve been inundated with advice from parents, friends, alumni and anybody else within earshot, but we like to think you’ll value these suggestions. Trust us, the awkwardness of our first weeks at Dal are still fresh in our minds.
If you are looking for one fundamental tip from somebody who has done his time here, even failed a class or two along the way, I share this: university is entirely what you make of it. Sorry if you were expecting something more profound than that.
Remember to make your own decisions. I realized after my first week here I had no interest in following the crowd and getting plastered every Friday and Saturday night—so I didn’t. Eventually I made some friends who felt the same way, took in my fair share of Tigers games, and came out of it with some good memories.
Whatever you choose, make the most of your time here (volunteering for the Gazette is a great idea, by the way). If you follow this mantra, this place will be remembered as more than a degree factory after you graduate. And then you may actually donate money when the university comes calling.
To this year’s frosh, we say: welcome to Dalhousie. To the returning students: welcome back. This will be a wild ride.