• Emily Yeung

8 Tips For First Year Students at The University of British Columbia (UBC)

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Sun setting behind fountain on main mall at UBC image

First year can be a really hard transition. Everything is suddenly different and you may not have people you can turn to for help. I understand how hard that can be so I'm hoping that my advice can reach first years who are nervous about their first year at UBC. Here are some tips for trying to make the best out of first year:

1. Register and participate in Jumpstart. The program is a great way to get oriented to the campus before school starts. I personally didn’t like everyone in my jumpstart group but by the end of the week, I became really close with two other first years and they're still my best friends to this day. If you're interested in this orientation week, register here: https://you.ubc.ca/jump-start-vancouver/ . /

Jumpstart leaders and first years / freshman at UBC

2. If you live in residence, take part in a res activity. Most people participate in res activities in the first few months, but it may die down as the school year continues. Most people in residence attend the first few events to make friends. If you are a commuter student, join a collegia. They're a great place to relax, make friends and they have advisors to help with questions.  .

3.Check your degree requirements and attempt to register for some of them in the first year to get them out of the way. Check degree specific requirements here: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=12,0,0,0 .

4. Join a club, rec team or greek organization. Getting involved is an easy way to make friends. UBC has hundreds of unique clubs and you can see them all on clubs day. If you’re into sports you can create a rec team with your friends or join the UBC recreation free agents facebook page which helps you to find a random team. Joining a random team can seem scary, but will usually result in a whole team of new friends. Rushing a frat or sorority is also a fun way to make friends on campus but as you may know, it does cost a lot of money. If you're on a tight budget in your first year, maybe avoid it and save up to join the following year and just attend frat and sorority parties to make friends in the greek system.  .

boy throwing a dodgeball during a UBC rec game

5. Make friends in your first year classes. People in first year classes are usually other first years who are also looking to make friends. Don't be afraid to make the first move because chances are they're just as nervous as you. As you get into upper year classes, i’ve found that people aren't interested in making friends in class because they already have friends at UBC. Use first year jitters to your advantage and befriend that smart kid in your class.  .

6. Visit office hours. Your profs and TA’s are there to help so take advantage of office hours to ask questions and get to know your profs. It can be somewhat nerve racking to go visit a professor who you may only see from afar in a 300 person lecture, but I’ve found that just by being nice to professors in office hours they are more likely to help and tell you exactly what they want from your paper and assignments. You can get tips and tricks straight from the profs and TA’s who will be marking your work themselves. Go straight to the source for help to get the best grade, it will seriously boost your GPA.  .

7. Book study rooms. You can book study rooms through the library website which come in handy during exam season. You can also use these rooms for group projects and also as a quiet space to study with friends. Booking during exam season does fill up quick so book at least a week in advance if you know you want to be studying on campus that day.  .

sun setting behind IKB

8. Speak to your faculty advisors. Each faculty has advisors that you can book appointments with for help. They're there to help with degree questions and personal problems that may hinder your education. 

Hopefully these tips can help you make friends and help you succeed in your first year of higher education. Comment below with any other tips and tricks you have for incoming first year students.

Good luck and welcome to UBC!