Cheesy advice

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What would you want to know coming into a new school? What wisdom would you have wanted to impart on your younger, more vulnerable self?

Last week, Queen’s TV released a list of ten things they wished they had known in first year. While their tongue-in-cheek style is no doubt an attempt to be relatable, I can’t help but feel like they missed the mark.

When I was in first year, I would have wanted upper years to provide insightful wisdom and to ease my mind about the tumultuous transition into university life.

While the intentions behind QTV’s list are undoubtedly benevolent, some points come across as insensitive and misinformed.

By suggesting that “cheese makes you fat,” and to be wary of the “infamous Freshman 15, or even the Freshman 50,” they imply a negative and stigmatizing view of bigger body types, which does not lend itself well to the inclusivity we should be trying to promote in our university.

Body image disorders and eating disorders are a serious and prevalent issue on campus and are not to be trivialized by a comment like, “seriously, grab a salad sometime.”

Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle and that’s what we should be encouraging in our incoming students. That includes cheese.

When I was a frosh, I wish someone had been there to tell me that change isn’t easy, nor is stress, and both can take their toll. I wish someone had said, “if you do end up gaining some of the weight that’s been put on your shoulders, you’re no less beautiful because of it”.

Frosh are open to all the advice we have to offer. So instead of talking to them like we’re chatting in a high school cafeteria, let’s welcome them into the university community with maturity.

We should be giving our frosh meaningful advice. We should tell them that people make mistakes and that’s okay.

What matters is that we learn from our failures and use them as fuel to grow. That’s what university is about. That’s what I wish I had known.

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