The misconceptions of first year

Debunking myths about residence, dining halls, and social life

Sometimes what you hear isn’t always what you get.

Without a doubt, leaving the family nest and venturing out on your own can be intimidating and exhilarating. New friends, new bed, new coursework, new stress—there’s a lot to think about.

Although you’ve probably done your fair share of TikTok research, there are a lot of common misconceptions floating around about first year at Queen’s. A few contain truth, but most are filled with unnecessary pressure and generate a whole lot of anxiety.

So, without further ado, here are some common myths debunked that will help you relax upon your arrival to Kingston.

“I got a late residence selection time; I’m going to have a bad social life”

Getting screwed with a late selection time to pick your residence feels awful, but it’s not the end of the world. Trust me, I’ve been there.

There seems to be a campus-wide idea that only single-plus residences and Victoria Hall offer the best social hubs. The opposite is true. Regardless of what residence you’re in, a community exists, and you shouldn’t feel defined by your new place of living. Fun is found everywhere on campus; it just takes an open mind and some vulnerability.

Be open to floor activities, get to know your neighbours, and form relationships with people on other floors. Trust me, you’ll be surprised by the amount of cool people that you’ll meet along the way.

And if you think you’ll be worst off on West Campus, you’re wrong. I’ve heard only the best things from tight-knit friend groups that were formed there.

“Cafeteria food sucks, so expect to eat a lot of pizza and ramen”

Maybe this misconception does have a bit of truth in it. Leonard, Ban Righ, and Jean Royce Hall truly develop some interesting palates. Nonetheless, there are a ton of awesome ways to eat well in residence.

To be honest, the food isn’t horrible. Some days, it can even be super good. You can’t go wrong with making your own sandwich and or a nice plate of pasta. Never hesitate to ask for a bigger serving—the staff are super understanding.

The nice thing about Queen’s is outsourcing a midnight snack or getting tired of your meal plan are avoidable. The retail locations on campus, including Location 21 and the Lazy Scholar, are reliable spots to change things up. You’ll get to know the TAM and Flex dollar systems really well.

“Orientation Week friend groups are forever”

Don’t get me wrong, Orientation Week is an awesome time to make a bunch of new friends. Everyone is feeling the same nervousness to fit in, all resting at the bottom of the social food chain.

But don’t worry if you don’t make a solid set of friends during the first week. Forming friendships at university takes time for everyone. It’s rare to find your people instantly. Honestly, you probably won’t even remember half the people you met during Orientation Week.

Once you head to class and the adrenaline dies down, you’ll start noticing closer friend groups forming. Don’t worry if you aren’t a part of one immediately. Take the time to listen to people’s stories, join one of the hundreds of extra-curricular opportunities available, and be yourself.

You truly will find your people—it just might take a bit longer than the first week of your entire four-year experience. I promise you’ll find the people with whom you truly enjoy spending time with.

“Everyone has their life figured out”

The idea that your peers have somehow got the golden ticket to life is totally false. Listening to friends give you a detailed description of how they will meticulously accomplish all their goals through a 10-year plan can make you feel poorly about your own ambitions.

Remember the future is completely unpredictable and comparing yourself to your peers are a waste of time. Don’t limit yourself to a set plan—be open to new opportunities. A program doesn’t define you either, so don’t feel locked into a specific major. It’s totally normal to try things out.

It’s natural to look for information anywhere you can when challenged with something as unfamiliar and uncharted as university. Nevertheless, you won’t really know what it’s like until you start. Make the most of your time at Queen's. Keep an open mind. Have fun. It goes by fast.

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