1. Explore Kingston

Kingston Lakefront View

A cornerstone of the Queen’s experience is exploring the Limestone City. Whether that means taking a run by the lake, skating in Springer Market square, attending local events or simply eating your way around the city, you’ll definitely appreciate the occasional break from campus. There is so much beyond the 15-minute tricolour radius, and to limit yourself to its borders would be writing off an entire part of your Queen’s experience.

2. You’ll be in pursuit of pesos

Help me I'm poor

From shelling out cash for textbooks and exam prep sessions to bankrolling your nights on the town, many students check their bank account statements with a sense of dread and fear. When you first arrive on campus, you’ll likely want to buy all the Queen’s apparel and faculty-specific clothing in sight, not to mention green garb for St. Patrick’s day and new digs for Homecoming weekend. Choose wisely, try to avoid impulse purchases that you’ll regret later on, and most importantly, Tilt with caution!

3. Keep an open mind

Comfort zone visual

If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be this: keep an open mind about everything. In the next year, you’ll meet people with polarizing personalities, backgrounds, and stories. You will definitely encounter new experiences and opportunities. You won’t enjoy every experience or love every person you meet, and that’s a given. However, try not to pass judgement too quickly, and continue to challenge yourself. Now, of all the phases of your life, is the time to make mistakes abundantly.

4. Ask for help

Making friends with upper-year students is hugely helpful. Not only have they been in your very shoes, they’re also (usually!) extremely willing to help you out. My upper-year friends have undoubtedly shaped my Queen’s experience for the better. They have unselfishly offered me career advice, shared old notes and general tips for university, and even invited me over for a home-cooked meal! It really is true that the Queen’s community is tight-knit, and the sooner you allow yourself to ask for help, the better.

5. Ration your flex$ and meal equivalencies

starbucks cups in a row

Blame it on the midnight study snacks, CGC salads, and your sudden need for a second lunch, but by the end of your first year—and for some, by the end of the first semester—you’ll likely have used most, if not all, of your meal equivalencies and flex dollars. Have a plan of attack in terms of rationing these sweet, sweet dollars and be especially careful at Starbucks. A good rule of thumb is to aim for approximately 7 meal equivalencies per week. Otherwise, befriend a sympathetic budgeting whiz who will toss a four-piece your way in times of dire need.

6. Join extracurricular activities

Queen’s is renowned for its unparalleled student experience and a pervasive sense of community. By being a student at Queen’s, you will be among some of the most spirited and creative minds. While getting involved outside of classes is completely optional, it has been a pivotal part of my own Queen’s experience. Whether it’s through one of over 275 AMS ratified clubs, a varsity or intramural sport, or an organization within your faculty, there are seemingly endless opportunities to get involved. In a school with over 17,000 undergraduate students, it’s definitely nice to identify with a smaller community within the school.

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Alma Mater Society of Queen's University

Queen’s University sits on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee & Anishinaabe peoples.
L’Université Queen’s est située sur les terres traditionnelles des peuples Haudenosaunee et Anishinaabe.
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