The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Dear first-years: If you look around, university life is full of amazing experiences

By in Opinions
A sign leading students to the Student Wellness Centre has been placed next to entrance of the Art Department, photographed on September 15, 2020. Ammara Syeda / Photo Editor

The university’s support systems offer exceptional guidance to help you transition from high school to university and make sure you feel at home, away from home. But as I’ve learnt in my first year, support goes beyond academics. 

Looking back on my student experience, I now know that the only way forward is making the best use of the support systems the University of Saskatchewan offers, like the U of S Students’ Union, library help centres, drop-in academic advising, resume and career building — you name it. However, as a first-year at the university, I didn’t realize this, and instead was taking the university journey with a hint of presumptuousness. 

Back then, I thought I would go to class and come back home just like I had in high school, but that all changed when I stumbled upon a paper advertisement, hidden among thousands of others, on a university notice board. 

It said “Campus Rec”. What fascinated me was the word “Rec”. In my head, recreation meant that meant I could give myself some relaxation from my hardcore study schedule. Little did I know that this would become the turning point in my university journey.

The university’s Campus Rec puts on sporting events in a league format that students and staff can join. You name the sport and it will probably be there. 

I am passionate about soccer and so the very next day I signed up. In the first meeting, I was made the captain for a team. A week later I was competing against people, from all fields of study, getting my daily dose of exercise and at the same time networking with several students. 

We lost the soccer competitive league and did not make it to the playoffs, but I made friends that are currently my roommates and others who guided in my academic journey. If you are a sports enthusiast, not to worry, in no time we will be back on campus and you could give this a shot too.

My university involvement journey did not stop there. For the first month or so, I didn’t really explore my PAWS page and that was a grave mistake on my end. Later, I found two volunteer opportunities and a student job on it, and they changed my perceptions about the university. They made me realize that the university is a place much bigger than the academic bubble and probably the best place to develop yourself.

My networking increased and as a result my relations with staff members and student representatives commenced. My overall mental health got better because I was doing more than just studying. All this happened within a span of four days because I randomly applied for positions on PAWS and to my luck landed all of them. These opportunities have changed my perception of the small, but essential things this university has to offer and how important they can be. 

The beginning of university life is full of emotions and using these emotions to the best of your abilities is what gets you through these tedious years. For instance, the first few weeks of university were lonely for me as I was staying on my own and everything was fast-paced. I was struggling to keep up, but giving in is never an option.

I’m sure you are full of energy and excitement and must have already bought your school supplies and set up your study desks for some long study sessions at home, but don’t forget to check your PAWS regularly or open CareerLink for an internship hunt. 

Maybe you could try your hand at virtual DIY nights with the USSU Centres or take fitness classes — outside for now — with the PAC team. Who knows, you could soon be the face of the next U of S apparel commercial or be out in the field researching with a professor. How about getting free food from different campus clubs and society events or boosting your grades through the help of virtual student tutors? Maybe you already knew about all of this but just in case you didn’t, it’s never too late to get on your laptop and start surfing.

The U of S has been a huge gateway to countless opportunities for me, and I hope it is for all incoming first-years as well. I am not saying this to praise the institution, but rather to acknowledge the university’s support systems that do not leave any stone unturned when it comes to offering great opportunities to students for their growth. 

University life can be demanding and full of challenges and honestly, this is what adds spice to your life. Be resolute in your approach, and diligent with your work and above all have faith in what you do.

This article is part of a series where students give advice and share experiences with freshmen. Punya Miglani is a physiology and pharmacology student in the second term of their first year. 

Punya Miglani

Photo: Ammara Syeda | Photo Editor

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