First Year Tips

Being the oldest of 4 children means I’m always going through everything first: I went to school first, learnt to drive first, and then I had to go to university first. That said, when my younger sister (AKA the middle-child) graduated from high-school, I had just finished my first year at LU. So, I decided to give her a book full of tips and tricks for surviving university. Unfortunately, no such book existed – thus was born First Year Tips, Volume I. I typed up a bunch of hints about getting through your first year of university, and created a booklet which included everything from good study habits to the best places to eat (in my opinion). She LOVED it.

Flash-forward two years, and my other sister has now graduated from high-school. My first thought: I guess it’s time for First Year Tips, Volume II! With the help of a few friends and my middle-sister, I put together a whole new set of tips, tricks, hints, mini-maps, etc. Some of them are kind of funny (if I do say so myself), while others are really important things to know. Today, I’m gonna share my top 5 tips with you:

The “Bowling Alley” isn’t a real bowling alley.

It seems really silly, but for the first semester of my first year, I really thought there was a bowling alley somewhere on campus. THERE ISN’T. The “Bowling Alley” is the nickname students (and profs/faculty) give the hallway between Tim Horton’s and the Great Hall. The Liaison Office and the “Before I die…” chalkboard can also be found in the Bowling Alley, and it’s a nice alternative to walking in the courtyard outside during the winter months.

Check your school email at least twice a day.

Your LUmail is how you will get in touch with profs and TAs, so it’s a good idea to check it once or twice a day. You might contact your professors by email when you have questions about a test or exam, when you want to meet with them, or when you need academic advice. They might also send you files like the class syllabus or the exam review via email, or write you to tell you if your class is cancelled. Most importantly, Registrar will email you the Examination Schedule by email, and you definitely don’t want to miss it. If possible, sync your school email to your phone so you can check it quickly and easily. You might also want to check D2L a couple of times a day, because that email isn’t always attached to your LUmail.

Talk to everyone on the first week of school.

The only way to make friends with people is to talk to them! During the first week of school, try to talk to as many people as you can. Make it your goal to find one ally in every class. It’s so much easier to motivate yourself to go to class when you know you’ll be seeing a friend. Having a friend in your class is also really nice because they can help you with assignments, study with you, and remind you of due-dates. The first week is the perfect time to meet people, because you’re all in the same boat!


I cannot stress this enough. CITE EVERYTHING, ALWAYS. Plagiarism is a serious offence at Laurentian and at most universities world-wide. If you’re caught plagiarising and/or cheating, the punishments range from a zero on that assignment to expulsion from the university. It’s important to remember that plagiarism isn’t always done on purpose – sometimes, we forget to cite things or we forget the source of the piece of information we’re trying to present. But presenting the info as your own ideas is not cool. Imagine working on something for months just to have someone else say they wrote it – that would feel really awful. To avoid this problem, make sure to properly cite everything. Follow the guidelines given to you by your prof or TA, and use APA or MLA resources online if you’re not sure.


Whether you find your new favourite study spot or a cool-looking classroom you’ve never seen before, Laurentian has a bunch of hidden gems all over campus. Make sure you take the time to look around – you never know what you might find in all the little nooks and crannies!

  In the end, your Laurentian University experience depends on you! You’ll meet a whole bunch of new people, you’ll get really great opportunities, and you’ll try a whole bunch of new things. Make the most of your time here, and welcome to LU!

2 Responses to First Year Tips

  1. Marika says:

    Love this! Another tip for first years: you can get your D2L emails sent to your LUmail by going into the D2L settings. Checking your email often is definitely a great tip!

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