Post-frosh blues

Coping with the realities of university life

Eventually the lit goes out, fam.

Students stumble into the routine of that Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:35 a.m. class life and the partying all night turns into just Thursdays at Cheers.

Once the excitement of meeting every dorm-mate dissipates and the orientations are over, the realities of what university culture can be like may hit hard.

Dalhousie student Vanessa Hamkens says, “Being somewhat of an adult is a lot to handle. It’s a lot to juggle – your responsibilities escalate pretty quickly.”

Responsibilities such as a major lifestyle change, lots of studying, and trying to act like an adult after spending 12 years still asking to go to bathroom.

Game change

As a freshman or going into a graduating year, university is a place where both big changes and big challenges arise.

Everyone is here for their own experience. Each person is figuring things out, defining and redefining themselves as often as spam gets sent to their Dal e-mail.

Being independent for the first time, trying to avoid the “freshman 15” and learning to shop for groceries could be stressful. The key is in finding a way to juggle it all.

Fourth-year student, Euodia Mutua says, “You really need to start finding balance right away. Go crazy for frosh week but know that this shit’s gonna get real.”

Finding Balance

Hamkens said, “Finding your place in university – I feel like if you don’t get involved you can kinda feel like you get lost in the shuffle.”

  • Become involved: Subscribe to university life. Don’t be afraid to establish roots in Halifax. There’s a little bit of something out there for everyone. Take advantage of free events offered and the different societies at Dal.
  • Keep focused: Remember why you’re at Dal – the end goal. Work hard on improving grades and yourself.
  • Find your fam: Living in res or not, put yourself out there. Join an intramural sports team or a club of interest to help find a tribe that’s supportive. University student Shayna Vollans says, “The diploma is nice and shiny and everything – but creating that family with people who aren’t your blood family is something you can’t put a grade on.”


Hamkens said she was surprised at “the range at which some people invest in their schooling. Some kids live in the library.”

The Killam Memorial Library has different seating areas throughout the building. The atrium has a coffee bar plus food options. The main floor has computers, student help services, and study rooms available for booking. On upper levels are the stacks with plenty of study spots and quiet areas.

Also, the Student Union Building, the Wardroom on King’s campus or Coburg Coffee are all spots to go for a few hours of studying and coffee.

Academic support:

  • Ascension Tutoring is a student-run company that offers a broad range of subjects from sciences to foreign languages.
  • Student Academic Success Services, located in the Killam’s first floor offers academic advising for Dal and King’s students. Tutoring services are also available here. Call for an appointment at (902) 494-3077.
  • Dal Writing Centre: Located in Room G40C of the Killam Library. They offer services for students to help understand assignments, improve writing skills and more.

Connect with professors. They have office hours designed to help their students who have questions or concerns. Students are always surprised by their professors’ availability and interest in helping them.

Study tip: “When I’m working hard and it’s not making sense to me –  ideas just aren’t flowing,” says Mutua, “I take a break from it and do something else then come back to it and it’s always easier.”

Being an adult

You don’t need to raise your hand to use a toilet anymore. Just go.

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Kaila Jefferd-Moore

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