Dear first-year me
By Jaymon Hung
Staff Accountant II | Audit and Advisory
Here are some things I wish I knew in first year.
1. Use your resources
University is very expensive. So, it goes without saying that you need to take advantage of all the resources that are made available to you. Whether it is academic or career advising services, peer tutoring, TA/Professor office hours or pizza at an event, there is more to gain from using what is provided to you than not. The way I see it, your university tuition went towards paying for various services so why wouldn’t you use what you already paid for?
2. Get involved
Trust me when I say that there are very few things more rewarding than joining clubs, committees, or events and programs while in university. This is what university is all about – meeting new people and exploring your interests with like-minded or unlike-minded individuals. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a part of something awesome and make lasting memories with your soon-to-be friends. As a person who has been involved with student clubs since first year (check out my LinkedIn profile), some of my best friends were introduced to me through clubs. You never know who you might meet or what you might miss out on if you don’t give it a try!
3. Don’t stress out. Just enjoy the ride!
This is unavoidable; every student will stress out about something during their university years. Whether it is about an exam, job seeking, or what to wear in the morning, stress goes hand-in-hand with student life. What I wish I’d realized earlier on was that worrying about something wasn’t going to make a difference. It is much more practical to have a positive attitude and make the most out of any situation. For example, use an all-night cram session as an opportunity to bond with your friends and learn about new pizza topping combinations (chicken and spinach will always remind me about first-year accounting – yum).
4. Mr. Noodles is not a balanced meal
Students tend to let the famous freshman 15 be a part of their university experience, but that is something you can miss out on. I’m not saying don’t enjoy the occasional pizza for breakfast, but your health is something that is easy to lose and hard to gain back. Healthy living does not mean missing out on your university experience; it just means you don’t have to fall into the common pitfalls.
Join a sports team, explore healthy alternatives, take a cooking class; these are different options that allow you to still be a student while making healthier choices. Nothing is worse than huffing and puffing after two flights of stairs after a few months.
5. Invest in yourself
This is truly a culmination of the topics above but university is about enriching your life and broadening your horizons. Many people have misconceptions that university is all about getting that 4.0 or taking extremely narrow paths. Understand that the key to being successful in university is not memorizing your textbooks. Instead, it’s about taking the chance to learn about new things. And you never know, you may realize some things you didn’t even know about yourself.
Last, but not least, always put a smile on your face. Find the simple joys in life and celebrate them with the people around you
Jaymon is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto Scarborough majoring in a Bachelor of Business of Administration Specializing in Accounting. He is currently a Staff Accountant in our Audit and Assurance Practice in Toronto.