Advice for new students

Advice from our past student advisors

Be open to new experiences! University can seem overwhelming for new students, but there are resources on campus that are helpful. Ask questions, get help, and plan ahead. Also, think about getting involved on campus. There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer and participate at SFU, I would recommend volunteering because there many skills that you can gain. I volunteered with the Peer Education Program and this experience has helped improve my communication, team work, problem solving, and interpersonal skills. Volunteering has helped build up my resume and confidence in my skills. Also, it was a great experience meeting new people!

Make an effort to develop relationships with your professors. In my first year I at first felt nervous talking to my professors during office hours however, they made me feel comfortable and provided great feedback on how to improve in my courses.

Keep showing up and working hard in everything you do when dealing with adverse situations. Things in life will not always go the way you had hoped, but if you can keep perspective and learn from those situations you will eventually achieve success.

Carmen Ho

Major: Kinesiology, minor in Gerontology

Relax and have fun (but not too much); make the most out of your university career! Four years pass by in a flash, and by the time you're in your 3rd and 4th year you don't want to regret not being involved at SFU. Find out about the opportunities available and ask a lot of questions.

Have an open and positive mindset. You're going to meet a lot of people from different disciplines who come from a variety of backgrounds with their own wealth of experiences. There will be people similar to you, but also many others that are different from you, and that's great—you learn the most like that. The next time you get on that crowded 145 bus, remember that the people around you are your SFU comrades.

Don’t take your post-secondary experience for granted! The average student spends about 6 years in university and graduates with almost 136 units, so don’t feel rushed to leave just yet. University hands you thousands of opportunities to explore your passions, so take chances in this virtually risk-free environment.

To enrich your experience, I recommend volunteering, co-op, traveling and taking advantage of all these great student resources we have on campus.

University is a chance for you to try new things and explore the world – take it! It can be difficult to feel connected to the SFU community, especially in your first year, but I found that volunteering is a great way to make friends and start building a community network.

Explore your options! The WQB requirements at SFU give you room to explore different study areas without feeling that you have “wasted time.” I believe students succeed best when they are interested in the content that they are learning.

Make a point of getting connected with clubs or groups on campus - it will greatly enhance your University experience. For example, I am a Peer Cousin at the Indigenous Student Centre and a member of the First Nations Student Association.

The number one advice I have for new students is to take advantage of campus resources. SFU has great resources like Academic Advising, Health and Counselling, Financial Aid and Recreation Services that are available to students. Get to know your classmates, professors and TAs. Really, it pays to put in the extra effort to build a good student network! Take your time to explore the SFU website and do pay attention to SFU emails as these usually contain good information, volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities that would make your life so much more fulfilling. Lastly, do not forget to have fun because at the end of the day, you want to look back and realize that you had a wholesome university experience.

I know grade is important, bank balance is a headache, and future career is invisible for some of you. For the academic concerns, you need to get help when you need it. Library, mentors, advisors, and your friends in the same class or SFU facebook group, help is out there. For financial, never miss a chance to get scholarships and bursaries by checking Financial Awards website frequently. For your career, you can do the work-study or co-op to gain work experience before you go out to the battlefield. That’s what I did in university. You will still face all the other difficulties, and I believe you will eventually overcome them. When you did, it is good to pat on your back and have a cup of sweet hot coco at Global Student Centre.

Coming to University whether directly from secondary school or even from another post-secondary institute can be overwhelming. Despite that I will encourage you to come with an open-mind. This way you will be receptive to trying new experiences, taking classes that you previously never knew existed or even interacting with new people.

There may not be a perfect guide to doing well in University (at least not one I know of), but I strongly believe that each experience is what you make it. Be open to trying different things such as joining a club, or even speaking to your teaching assistant, initially it will make you uncomfortable but overtime you will be glad that you did it. University should not just be about getting a degree, it should also be about you learning new skills and developing as a person. A university setting is perfect for that, seize the opportunities that come your way and also do not forget to have fun!

Check out the various concentrations in your field and take prerequisite courses that will allow you enroll in the Upper Division courses in that field.

Don’t forget to study, but take breaks and make connections too.

University is a chance for you to try new things and explore the world – take it! It can be difficult to feel connected to the SFU community, especially in your first year, but I found that volunteering is a great way to make friends and start building a community network.

Get involved! I’m part of the World Literature Student Union, World Literature Student Conference, Lyre Magazine, SFU Peer Education and Faculty of Arts First-Year Learning Communities.

Ask lots of questions, and don't be afraid to be ridiculous and curious.

Enroll in Co-op Education as early as possible. Co-op is a good way to network and make connections that make it easier for you to land a job in the future. My biggest mistake was not enrolling soon enough and having to force all my co-op terms into my last year.

When all is said and done, don't forget to have fun. Enjoy each day of your university life!

Don't be discouraged if you don't get the grades that you think you deserve, especially in your very first semester. The transition to university will take time - instead, view your first semester as a time to explore and discover your strengths and passions.

Opportunity begets opportunity. The more I got involved on campus (like with Learning & Writing Peer Education, and Passport to Leadership), the more it snowballed into other rewarding and enriching experiences!

Academic difficulty is a common phenomenon experienced by a large number of students, especially those in their early twenties. If you’re feeling lost and unsure of what to do, I’d like to tell you that it’s okay. Perhaps now is the chance to get more life experiences and find what you’re really excited about.

Find your passion and learn to truly enjoy learning.

Focusing on the academics is important but there is more to the university experience than just that. Get involved on and off campus and use the resources available for you! I remember doing my best in semesters where I volunteered or took up some sort of extra-curricular activity. It gives you the chance to develop yourself as an individual and create friendships along the way!

Make sure to reach out to those who reach out to you. Reply your professors, T.As and supervisors' emails especially when there is an opportunity to grow. I have received many wonderful opportunities simply because I read my emails and responded. No man is an island. We need a support system to motivate and challenge us to be better people. Set a new goal and pace yourself until you achieve it. Lastly, enjoy yourself and live life to the fullest!

Don't be afraid to try new things in university. Join a club! Take a class that sounds cool for the sake of the experience, not just the grade. Don't underestimate small opportunities, because it can lead to bigger opportunities later on! Oh, and also, catch the bus at the upper bus loop (if possible) after your lecture.

Finding the right balance is key to making your university experience enjoyable. It is great to juggle school with work, volunteering, clubs etc., but it is really important that you do not spread yourself too thin. Always remember to find some time for yourself and give yourself a well-deserved break once in a while.