First Year Survival Tips

by on Sep 4th, 2017

Welcome, welcome, welcome! You’ve chosen a fine establishment for furthering your education and expanding your mind. We’re sure you’re excited to get started on your new life at university, but first check out these tips that will help you survive the next 8 months.

Get Involved

It’s going to be tempting, but don’t just go to class and go home. Too many students get so wrapped up in classes they forget to check out what’s happening around them on campus. Get involved. Try volunteering, join a committee or and attend on-campus events (like Fall Fest!). You’ll meet new people and open yourself up to so many opportunities.

Meet New People

Actively seek to meet new people, especially if you don’t live in residence. It can be a little intimidating at first but you won’t ever regret saying hi to a classmate on the first day. They may or not become your new best friend (or who knows, maybe they will), but at the very least they can lend you notes when you accidentally miss a class.

Start Early

Do. Not. Procrastinate. But since we know you’re going to do it anyways, try not procrastinating too much. Get started early on your readings, essays, assignments and studying. When the rest of your class is stressing, you’ll be laughing.

Education is More Than Just a Degree

You’re here to get your diploma or degree, which is obviously pretty important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you care about. Take in the university experience and learn how to balance school and fun. These are going to be some of the best years of your life – don’t forget to let loose and have some fun!

Join a Club

SAMU has over 90+ clubs on campus. Clubs make it easy for you to explore your passions, meet like-minded people and get more involved with campus! Check out the clubs page to see if anything interests you, or check out Club Days in the fall! Don’t see anything you like? No worries – starting a club is super simple!

Learn What Resources Are Available to You

Both SAMU and the university are here to offer you support and help while you navigate your new life at MacEwan! SAMU offers different programs such as Peer Support, the Food Bank and Safe Walk, along with events throughout the year aimed at improving your wellness. Keep an eye on our social media channels and events calendar to see what’s coming up!

We’re All In This Together

When you’ve got a ton of assignments due, group projects to manage and exams to study for, it’s easy to get stressed. Just remember, you’re not alone. You have a whole campus filled with students who are experiencing the same thing. Don’t to be scared to ask for help — you’ll be amazed at how willing you campus community is to give a hand! And don’t forget, you have resources like Peer Support and MacEwan Counselling Services if the stress gets to be too much.

Go to Class

Welcome to university, where you aren’t under constant supervision. However, just because your lack of attendance won’t result in a phone call to your parents, you don’t get to skip class. You paid a lot of money to be here; don’t throw it away by not going to class. Oftentimes your professors will cover topics not discussed in the textbook, give clarification on trickier subjects and offer words of wisdom that you can only gleam from attending class.


Sleep is a necessity. It helps consolidate memories, ensures your stress levels aren’t too high and helps keep your mind and body healthy. You might think you can function on only a few hours of sleep and endless cups of coffee, but this isn’t sustainable and your grades will reflect it. Also, coffee naps are a thing and you should totally try that out.

Learn to Navigate the Library

The library. It can be a confusing place, but it can also be a beautiful gateway to limitless knowledge. You just need to learn how to navigate it. The library is going to come in handy when you have that research paper due in 12 hours because you ignored our advice and procrastinated. Don’t waste time trying to figure out how to locate an article or a book — figure out the system at the beginning of the year to save your butt later. The lovely front-desk staff are also super knowledgeable and love to help you learn!

Buy Used Textbooks (or Rent Them)

Textbooks are expensive. Like, you can feed yourself for a full year with that money kind of expensive. But you can save yourself HUNDREDS of dollars if you’re savvy and either buy used text books or simply rent them out from the library. If you want to buy used, check out SAMU’s Marketplace, the Grant MacEwan Book Exchange Facebook page or Amazon.