Two women and one man in party hats posing for a picture

Your first year of university is a major milestone as you head to campus. Learn what to expect during the first weeks and how you can take full advantage of this opportunity with these university tips.

With four years of fun, wild and roller coaster-like moments to come, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to surviving your first year of university and college.

What you’ll learn:

  1. Preparing for a fun frosh week! Just don’t forget to register…
  2. Preparing for your first week of university.
  3. Get social and meet people in person (skip the hashtags).
  4. Planning ahead for a great first year (fingers crossed).
  5. Making the most of reading week (don’t just sleep).
  6. Managing your workload: taking care of you (you matter).
1

Preparing for a fun frosh week! Just don’t forget to register…

It’s time to officially declare yourself as a college or university student with Frosh Week! Frosh Week is when you get the opportunity to meet other first-year students—as well as third- and fourth-year students—and start to get a feel for the layout of the campus, as well as enjoy lots of fun activities and parties. Important university tip: Don’t. Forget. To. Register! It’s the most overlooked essential that most new students forget about.

Be sure to pack your JanSport Superbreak Backpack (the classic one you can’t go wrong with) with all of the essentials, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and an extra pair of socks so you’re ready for a full day of fun, in addition to your forms and application materials.

Onto some Frosh Week events! Gear up for tug of war and obstacle courses with men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers from Nike and Puma, along with soft T-shirts that let you showcase your personality. Arm yourself for water balloon fights and colour runs with a supportive sports bra and leggings or joggers, and beat the heat with Urban Planet’s high-rise and chino-style shorts.

College students in white shirts at a color festival

2

Preparing for your first week of university

It takes a while to get into the swing of things on campus. Feels bad, man. It’s still a special moment, though, and you’re probably going to be looking fondly back on this time when you’re at least 100. Capture the memories with a digital camera, or switch things up with an instant camera so you can pass out prints to new friends right away (our top picks are the Canon EOS Rebel T100 DSLR Camera and the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera). It’s not all parties and fun, of course. Be sure to take lots of notes during your million-plus orientation meetings. You can use a laptop or tablet, or go analog with a notebook and colour-coded pens, and stow papers and leaflets from profs and group leaders in this Five Star 2″ Zipper Binder.

It takes a while to get into the swing of things on campus. Feels bad, man. It’s still a special moment, though, and you’re probably going to be looking fondly back on this time when you’re at least 100.

Capture the memories with a digital camera, or switch things up with an instant camera so you can pass out prints to new friends right away (our top picks are the Canon EOS Rebel T100 DSLR Camera and the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera).

It’s not all parties and fun, of course. Be sure to take lots of notes during your million-plus orientation meetings. You can use a laptop or tablet, or go analog with a notebook and colour-coded pens, and stow papers and leaflets from profs and group leaders in this Five Star 2″ Zipper Binder.

Equip yourself with the best gear:

 

3

Get social and meet people in person (skip the hashtags)

Spongebob Human Interaction Meme

We have scary news for you: you’re going to meet a ton of new people during Frosh Week … so make the most of it! A lot of these people will be fellow whatever-you’re-majoring-ins, so it’s likely you’ll have class or tutorials with them. Opening up and being yourself is a big part of this process, and you can make it go pretty easy with a smartphone that can store contact info and allow you to get one another’s LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook info. You can also make a note about who all these people are and where you met them in a dayplanner to help you keep names straight. Get social and throw small (or big) get together with fellow students. Try inviting more random people you want to get to know over for an evening of video games or party games (Relative Insanity for the win!). You can even organize a pool among new people to cover tickets to the university’s sporting events.

We have scary news for you: you’re going to meet a ton of new people during Frosh Week … so make the most of it! A lot of these people will be fellow whatever-you’re-majoring-ins, so it’s likely you’ll have class or tutorials with them.

Opening up and being yourself is a big part of this process, and you can make it go pretty easy with a smartphone that can store contact info and allow you to get one another’s LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook info. You can also make a note about who all these people are and where you met them in a dayplanner to help you keep names straight.

Get social and throw small (or big) get together with fellow students. Try inviting more random people you want to get to know over for an evening of video games or party games (Relative Insanity for the win!). You can even organize a pool among new people to cover tickets to the university’s sporting events.

4

Planning ahead for a great first year (fingers crossed)

Okay, so you’ve made some new friends—cool, great, awesome! Here’s a word of advice though: don’t forget your academic activities during your first year of university. Seriously. The way you start out this week lays the groundwork for a lot of your future academic success, so it’s important to make a good go of it. Attend all your classes (seriously, it’s your first week) and try getting a campus map to know where your classes are! Develop an organizational plan and then stick to it until it becomes second nature. One way to keep organized is to take digital notes, so see which of a tablet or laptop is best for you and get started. This makes it easier to reorganize and categorize information for module tests and final exams, but don’t forget to keep a handful of pens and pencils and a notebook or two handy when you’re in class.

Okay, so you’ve made some new friends—cool, great, awesome! Here’s a word of advice though: don’t forget your academic activities during your first year of university. Seriously. The way you start out this week lays the groundwork for a lot of your future academic success, so it’s important to make a good go of it.

Attend all your classes (seriously, it’s your first week) and try getting a campus map to know where your classes are! Develop an organizational plan and then stick to it until it becomes second nature.

One way to keep organized is to take digital notes, so see which of a tablet or laptop is best for you and get started. This makes it easier to reorganize and categorize information for module tests and final exams, but don’t forget to keep a handful of pens and pencils and a notebook or two handy when you’re in class.

Will Smith Crying Meme

Look to be productive by setting aside space for a deskfiling cabinet and storage unit that can handle everything from textbooks and flashcards to extra school supplies. Good lighting fights eye strain when you’re trying to get through an all-nighter, so invest in a solid desk lamp.

5

Making the most of reading week (don’t just sleep)

Reading Week dates differ for all colleges and universities but are a well-needed break for everyone. Almost every overworked undergrad uses at least some of this time to catch up on sleep and have a Netflix binge. Officially, however, this is a time set aside for you all to read up on your semester notes (Reading Week, get it? It’s in the name.) Use the break to study and read ahead to get a jump on the next round of classes, as final exams approach very quickly after Reading Week. It’s not all work, though. Be sure to work in self-care breaks and make a schedule that doesn’t wear you out. Go for walks, visit family and friends and catch up on your sleep. You’re going to need it.

Reading Week dates differ for all colleges and universities but are a well-needed break for everyone. Almost every overworked undergrad uses at least some of this time to catch up on sleep and have a Netflix binge.

Officially, however, this is a time set aside for you all to read up on your semester notes (Reading Week, get it? It’s in the name.) Use the break to study and read ahead to get a jump on the next round of classes, as final exams approach very quickly after Reading Week.

It’s not all work, though. Be sure to work in self-care breaks and make a schedule that doesn’t wear you out. Go for walks, visit family and friends and catch up on your sleep. You’re going to need it.

Student sleeping on couch with red textbook covering his face

6

Managing your workload: taking care of you (you matter)

The workload you have to manage in college is nothing like what you’re used to from high school. As hard as you worked all through your final year, you’re guaranteed to wonder at least once during your first year of university why you never appreciated the comparatively lighter workload from 9 months ago. Always be mindful of your limits, and try to remember that you have to gradually work your way up to the course load college imposes on you. Mind your mental health and rest when you need it and try to get some exercise on the schedule. This can be done by keeping your track of things on a smartwatch like the Galaxy Watch Active from Samsung, or just by making a point to take an hour or so of time outside of class to reconnect with nature or talk with friends.

The workload you have to manage in college is nothing like what you’re used to from high school. As hard as you worked all through your final year, you’re guaranteed to wonder at least once during your first year of university why you never appreciated the comparatively lighter workload from 9 months ago.

Always be mindful of your limits, and try to remember that you have to gradually work your way up to the course load college imposes on you. Mind your mental health and rest when you need it and try to get some exercise on the schedule. This can be done by keeping your track of things on a smartwatch like the Galaxy Watch Active from Samsung, or just by making a point to take an hour or so of time outside of class to reconnect with nature or talk with friends.

Beginning your university and college career has a lot of emotions that come with it. It can get fun, messy, crazy, overwhelming, awesome—you name it, and it’ll all be there. With these helpful university tips, you can make the best of your first year of university and ensure long-term success as you embark on the super serious journey of being a student.