Top 10 things I learned from first year

Oh, it feels so good to be done first year

As my first year at Queen’s comes to a close, I can honestly say that my experiences living alone have made me feel ever-so-slightly more adult. While I still don’t drive on the highway, nor do I know how to do my taxes, I can fill up a laundry card like nobody’s business. 

Here are some other things I’ve learned:  

Laundry isn’t your friend. 

The process of laundry is a vicious activity invented by your worst enemies. Machines will purposefully hide socks from you, leave your clothes damp and maybe even explode because you washed all your sheets and comforter in one load. 

To combat this monster, make sure your laundry card is always filled, your machines are never more than three quarters full and every sock is accounted for at all times.

Permanently keep your phone on silent.

I get it. You need to know what’s happening online at every moment of every day. But there is nothing worse than getting a loud notification, a phone call or accidentally activating Siri in the middle of class. 

Or when you’ve asked Siri to call you “Esteban Julio Ricardo Montoya de la Rosa Ramírez, son of Diego Julio Ricardo Montoya de la Rosa Ramirez and Gladys.” 

Especially when Siri recites that full name in the middle of your ENGL100 lecture and your phone is in the bottom of your bag.  

Leave yourself more time than you think you need to do assignments.

A major misstep I made was assuming more free time meant more time to do work which meant more time to not be stressed. Wrong. 

The only thing that more time creates is more time to waste. An easy solution to this I learned is to lie to yourself. Plan your schedule to give yourself the maximum amount of time that you can to do an assignment. This way, when you waste a trillion hours doing Buzzfeed quizzes about what your favourite type of bread says about your sex life, you’ll still have ample time to finish your work.

Sleep is a myth.

You may have thought that university students are able to consistently sleep a normal amount of hours at night. 

This is a lie. 

Think of the least possible amount of sleep that you could get that would still allow you to be a functioning human being. Now subtract two hours from that. That will be your average amount of nightly sleep.  

Always meet with your TAs and professors.

A new school means new expectations for your work. The only way to solidly establish what each class wants from you is to meet with your TAs and professors. I can solidly say that since I started doing this in November, my marks have increased — not necessarily because my work was better, but because I knew what each class was looking for more so than before. 

Tim Hortons is basically free.

Tim Hortons isn’t free. But have you ever tried to buy $8.75 worth of Tim Hortons to fulfill a meal equivalency? Here’s a spoiler: you will need to buy a bagel, two large drinks, three donuts, some potato wedges, and a strange fruity muffin to take complete advantage of that $8.75. Good luck.

Getting involved is the best way to meet like-minded people.

Clubs are literally groups of people with the same interests. How could you not take advantage of that? 

If you have interests, or play sports, or have a talent, look for ways that you can share it with other people. Chances are that there’s a group of people just waiting to discuss that one thing you have in common. 

Venture out into Kingston once in a while.

Queen’s has such a beautiful campus it’s easy to forget it’s in the middle of a beautiful city. Kingston is secretly a bumbling little metropolis filled with great coffee shops, stores and restaurants. Life on campus can get claustrophobic pretty fast so I learned to treat myself every now and then, and take the journey into the magical half-elderly, half-student town I’ve come to call home.

The Amey’s Taxi and QTap apps are lifesavers.

It’s so satisfying to know that a ride can be waiting for you at any time and any place from a few taps on a glass screen. It’s equally satisfying to tap a couple more times and see your schedule laid out, a list of emergency phone numbers and what food services are open. These two apps do a lot to make your life a little less complicated. Let them help you.

Netflix won’t judge you.

This is more of just a general philosophy. If you ever feel hardcore judged by a friend or are upset about a mark or are embarrassed by something weird that you did, watch some Netflix to get over it. I promise that Netflix will love you as you are, even if you accidentally email your professor from your grade 5 email account — which, for reference, is


first year, Lifestyle, Postscript

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