A McGill First Year’s Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide

23 Sep, 2013

I’ll start with the place you will likely be spending most of your time, Residence. “Rez” is the perfect intermediary between the smothering care of living at home and the terrifying reality of self-sufficiency; and while you may smell the lack of inhibition in the air, this is the place you will make some of your closest and longest lasting relationships. With hundreds of like-minded, ambitious young people all sleeping under the same roof, you only have to walk out of your room and say “hello” to a neighbor. Don’t forget, these are the friends who will help you with last minute project deadlines and nurse you back to health after some particularly rowdy nights out. Rez also provides a totally inclusive environment and there will always be someone to listen to you, from your floor fellows to the front desk.

Unfortunately, you will eventually have to face the reality of class: Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No. Once the intoxicated honeymoon of Frosh comes to an end, you may feel slightly overwhelmed by all the crowded lecture halls and stacks of readings, but fear not! McGill has endless resources to help you manage your time and course-load. Your academic advisor can help you with any scheduling queries, while the Tutorial service can set you on the path to academic success. And although you may think university textbooks are printed on gold-leaf paper, there are plenty of places to buy discounted books: McGill Classifieds, McGill textbook exchange, and The Word bookstore all sell textbooks at reasonable prices.

Another point I would stress to all first years—especially those new to Montreal—would be to see as much of this beautiful city as you can. In my first year, I found myself frequenting the same bars and clubs each week. A good way of breaking this habit is to rent some Bixis with a few friends and explore parts of the city you aren’t used to. Another great way to mix up the monotony of Tokyo Thursdays is to enroll in a SSMU Mini-Course. These diverse, inexpensive, non-credit courses are a great way to try new things, something my three roommates and I are attempting this semester. And, if four guys with less combined coordination than a baby giraffe can learn to Salsa, the possibilities are endless.

McGill Essentials

Academic Advising: http://www.mcgill.ca/students/advising/

Tutorial Services: http://www.mcgill.ca/tutoring/

McGill Classifieds: http://www.mcgill.ca/classified/

The Word Bookstore: 469 Milton Street

SSMU Mini Courses: http://minicourses.bigcartel.com/

Bixi: Rentals are available from May through November, and can be returned to any BIXI station — not just the one you got it from. Rates start at $7 a day, and monthly and annual plans are available. Stations on Milton / University, Prince Arthur / St-Laurent, and Hutchison / Sherbrooke.

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