Every student who has experienced first year understands how tricky it is to navigate your way through school. It’s a complete and total change up from your normal 9-3 high school regime, and lots of young students struggle with adapting. But hey, we’ve all been there. We get it. Here’s an easy guideline that will help any student, first year or fourth, to succeed at Carleton University.
1. Tunnels will save your life.
I mean this literally. Ottawa winters are not to be reckoned with, especially if you’re not native to the area. The extra 10 minutes it takes to walk to class is nothing in comparison to the -40° wind chill you’ll face for 3 months straight. This works out even more for res students, I mean who doesn’t want to roll up to class in flip flops and shorts? We may stare at you judgingly but deep down, we’re all jealous.
2. Yik Yak is still a thing here.
Yep, go ahead and re-download the app that every high school WiFi deliberately blocked. At Carleton, the most entertaining way to pass the time in a boring lecture is to log on and see everyone around you talking under the radar. How else are you going to notice your prof’s zipper is down?
3. Avoid UC stairs at all costs.
Unless you enjoy being sweaty, breathless and humiliated by the time you reach the top, I would opt for the elevator. It smells bad and it takes more time, but walking those 3 flights of stairs is the equivalent to running half a marathon. The least they could do is offer us cups of water on the side.
4. Always clear your schedule for the Panda Game/Capital Hoops.
These days are a guaranteed good time. This means saying sorry to your boss at DQ; you’re going need the weekend off. Maybe even Monday. Every year, Carleton and OttawaU square off for an unforgettable match of football and basketball. And TBH, Carleton almost always takes the win.
5. Morning classes are a no. Especially on Fridays!
Let’s be real, if it’s before 10am- you’re not going. I’m telling you this to better your university career. Pick classes that you know you’re actually going to attend, because even if the prof is hype, it doesn’t matter if you never show up to see them. And Fridays are even more important, which leads to my next point…
6. Thirsty Thursdays are the place to be.
Oliver’s pub is the place to be on Thursday night if you’re looking for a good time, and want to meet some awesome people. The drinks are cheap and the music is dope, and you can bring whoever you want (as in not just Carleton kids). So do yourself a favor, and drop that 8:30AM Friday class.
7. Use RateMyProf like your life depended on it.
Once you get to building your time table, this is a crucial part of the selection process. Sure, a class might sound fascinating on paper, but your prof could have a low score and a tough reputation. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the course, especially if it’s a requirement. But sometimes picking a good prof can make any breadth course easier to get through
8. Comfort > cuteness.
I know we all want to dress like we’re hitting the runway, but sometimes looking your best, isn’t your best option. No one wants to be sitting halfway through a lecture in Theatre B when the temperature drops below freezing and all you have is the new tank from American Eagle to keep you warm. Also, once the snow drops down, invest in a solid winter jacket. OC transp runs on its own schedule, so the last thing you want is to be stranded in the cold wearing a faux leather jacket with no hood.
9. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Raising your hand in a lecture of 300+ people can be intimidating, but it can also be rewarding. Participating in class, introducing yourself to the professor and to those around you, and allowing yourself to appear open and approachable are only a few ways to make school 10x easier. Not only will you get a better grade, but you’ll also gain more confidence within yourself, and maybe meet a couple new friends.
10. Hit the gym early.
Carleton has one of the nicest, most modern and new gyms in all the Universities through Canada. The only problem is that it can be a workout- trying to work out- during peak times. My advice is to get there early before the rush comes in. Not only will you avoid all the posers who only go there to socialize, you’ll also be more productive throughout the day. Or you’ll be able to nap a bit longer.
11. Invest in a locker.
The lockers throughout the tunnels may look sketchy and gross, but they’re one of the best assets Carleton has to offer. No more are the days of carrying around 5 different textbooks, a huge parka and wet snow boots. Just remember to be courteous to all of us who walk the tunnels, it’s a locker- not a food pantry.
12. Take all the free food you can get.
It doesn’t happen often but when it does, take it. There will be times when groups and organizations set up tables by tunnel junction or Southam and hand out free samples of coffee, baked goods, etc… Just try not to get too teary eyed when you bite into your free brownie.
13. Book study rooms in advance.
Our library is amazing, and the study rooms are even more amazing. Take the time in the beginning of the semester and book a couple dates to use them. It’s a quite, secluded space that you and your friends can use to study, work on group projects, watch Netflix…
14. Pack your own snacks.
Although sometimes you may be treated to a free one, packing your own snacks is the best way to save money and avoid getting hangry. It may be embarrassing at first, and you might not want to whip out your cheese and crackers in the middle of a lecture, but it’s more embarrassing to have to explain to your parents why you spent $75.00 on Starbucks in one month.
15. Appreciate the warm weather while it lasts.
Ottawa winters can be really short, or really long. Enjoy the fall warmth while its here, and pray that spring brings us more grass.
16. Online courses are a blessing and a curse.
Yes, you can now watch your BIO lecture in your pj’s while eating Nutella in bed. You can also rewatch all the Friends episodes in your pj’s while eating Nutella in bed. The choice is yours, so make sure you have the willpower to watch your lectures on your own time. Chances are, if you’re the type of person who eats Nutella in their pj’s in bed, you need to go to class.
17. Treat yourself to a Rooster’s pita.
Worth the money, a pita from Rooster’s café in UC will leave you only wanting more. They’re made right in front of you with fresh ingredients; it’s basically a high end subway. I recommend Greek, but feel free to experiment on your own.
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