What I Wish Student Orientation Had Taught Me

University provides a lot of unique challenges; here are a few ways to handle them

Students checking out the #kpucampuslife board on orientation day. (Kristen Frier)

First-year orientation is a great way to learn about resources designed to help new students transition from high school to university. During the typically day-long event, students are given a tour of the campus to identify important offices and facilities. They’re also told how to engage with the Kwantlen Student Association, which will advocate for them throughout their post-secondary experience.

This is all helpful, but there’s plenty of important information that orientation doesn’t share with new students. Often, this information can meaningfully improve one’s experience at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

While orientation leaders make sure that students know about the KPU bookstore, I would only recommend using it as a last resort, as there are cheaper ways to purchase your books. I’ve taken classes where the textbook wasn’t necessary because my instructor’s lectures and notes gave sufficient information for understanding the material and doing well on the tests. If you can, wait to see your syllabus to check how textbook-dependent the curriculum will be before you buy at the bookstore.

If a textbook is absolutely required for your course, local, online trading forums such as Craigslist and the Facebook page “Kwantlen Book Exchange” offer cheaper methods of getting what you need.

In addition to demanding that you buy expensive textbooks, university classes also come with a much heavier workload. Unlike in high school, your post-secondary instructors won’t chase you down to submit your work. The responsibility of gaining the most from your education falls on you alone, so make sure to engage with the material that you’re being taught.

Ask questions if you don’t understand something, and if you think you have the answer to an instructor’s question, speak out. It’s a good way to help retain material you’ve previously acquired. Some people feel that needing to ask questions makes you look unintelligent, but in reality, seeking help when it’s needed is a smarter action then failing to understand coursework to preserve your pride.

Another way to get engaged is to join a club. KPU clubs cover a wide range of interests from gaming to writing to fitness. Joining a club broadens your experience, offers resume-building opportunities, and can provide you with a stress-reducing environment to hang out in. If none of the clubs pique your interest, contact the KSA to get some information on starting your own.

The first few weeks of university can be an anxious period for students, but by engaging in class, taking advantage of the resources that KPU has to offer, and finding time to relax, the years spent on campus can provide memories that you’ll carry with you after graduation.


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