5 Ways to Thrive as a First-Year Student

By Ryerson University Modified on August 20, 2019

Tips on how to get the most out of your transition to university.

Three Ryerson students share a laugh in a friendly exchange.

Starting university is an extremely exciting time, but the transition can sometimes feel overwhelming. What can you do to set yourself up for success? Here are some ideas to help you not only survive the adjustment, but thrive.

1. Get organized

At university, managing your time and staying on top of deadlines will all be on you. Familiarize yourself with resources on campus, including study spaces and academic support programs like Ryerson's Student Learning Support. Plan your calendar in advance to prioritize coursework (do the readings!) and studying (don't just cram for the exam!) and avoid any last-minute panic.

2. Get involved

Whether you are attending university abroad or commuting 30 minutes from home, getting involved in student life is a surefire way to enhance your first-year experience. Student clubs, volunteer opportunities, intramurals and sports teams let you pursue your interests while meeting new people — helping you build a network within the campus community.

3. Get experience

Gaining work experience as an undergraduate is a great way to build your resumé and help you land a position in your chosen career after graduation. Part-time jobs on campus, volunteer opportunities and internships in your field prove to future employers that you can successfully navigate workplace responsibilities. Ryerson's Career & Co-op Centre supports students looking to gain skills and work experience, from pre-arrival through to professional life.

4. Get healthy

Maintaining good health as a student is crucial to thriving in all areas of your life. Planning healthy snacks, learning to manage stress and sticking to a sensible sleep schedule all play a role in supporting your academic and personal success. Seek out resources such as Ryerson's Health & Wellness that support effective health promotion practice on campus.

5. Get support

No one expects you to arrive at university and know exactly how to be successful. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Introduce yourself to your professors and teaching assistants and make use of their office hours. Remember that you're not alone — your academic advisors and resident advisors (if you're living in residence) are here to help you find answers. Learn what support systems are available to you and take advantage of them.

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