Skip to main content

Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Local Co-op

empty
A group of people sitting in front of a stage with a Welcome banner on the side.
Credit
Courtesy of the SFU Image Library

As a young adult, starting university can be one of the most intimidating journeys you will ever have to experience. Not only are there major decisions involved, but your future is dependent on what you do within these next few years. It can also be some of the best years of your life where you will make memories that will last forever. My goal is to provide you an insightful and realistic view of what my first semester at SFU was like and what you can possibly expect. I hope to ease your fears and help you better prepare yourself for the near future.

When I first started here at SFU, I was lucky enough to already have two years of prior university experience under my belt. Nonetheless, I was still extremely intimidated to be commuting an hour to a campus I had never been to, surrounded by people I didn’t know. One of the most important things to remember is that there are always people around you that are going through similar situations. Don’t feel bad for feeling intimidated. For your first week, it’s always a good idea to be over-prepared. Make sure you have all your proper supplies, that you know your route to campus and have your schedule. Before the official start day of the semester, come up a day early with a friend and locate where all your classes and tutorials are going to be. I highly recommend doing this because it not only allows you to find out where everything is, but you avoid the commotion of the first day. Nothing feels worse than running around campus in a panic trying to make it on time for your first week.

If you are still finding that you are struggling to locate things, there are people all around that are there to assist you. Most universities also have extensive campus maps that are available online and very easy to follow along.If you are outgoing like me, asking another student can be helpful and you can even make a friend! SFU has so many great resources that can help with your transition to university. SFU 101 is a course that assists in preparing you to be successful on your new journey, and is a great opportunity to help you feel the most prepared.

Map of the SFU Burnaby Campus
Map of the SFU Burnaby Campus

One thing I wish I did in my first semester was branch out to more students around me that were taking similar courses. Fortunately, SFU has so much to offer in terms of community, team environment and collaboration. Being in group chats or participating in group study sessions is extremely helpful and it really assisted in making me feel more prepared for exams and presentations. It made me realize that everyone around me was going through similar situations and eased my anxiety. Tutorials are also a great way to branch out because it’s a much smaller group of people in comparison to your regular class size. It provides you with the opportunity for some one-on-one help with your TA and the chance to make friends as well. As part of the SFU 101 introduction course, there is also a program called The HIVE, which places you in a small group of people that are part of the same faculty as you. Make sure to capitalize on all the diverse clubs, organizations, and teams that SFU has to offer. There are also spacious areas to study, relax, unwind, lots of options for food and drinks, a large variety of people and an overall very welcoming environment. Your university experience isn’t just about doing your courses and graduating as fast as possible. It’s about gaining valuable knowledge and learning new things about yourself along the way.

One of my biggest tips for starting a new semester or going to university for the first time is to stay organized. This might seem obvious, but it can be surprisingly easy to fall into bad habits. There is nothing worse than forgetting a due date or deadline and falling behind in your courses. SFU does a fantastic job at providing helpful and organized apps such as SFU Snap and SFU Vault that help keep track of where your classes are located, semester calendars, important events, email reminders etc. Plus there are great online resources such as a university prep course, and a space for new undergraduates to find everything they need to know. Make sure to utilize these tools because they are only there to assist you. I combined my personal email with my SFU email on my iPhone so everything school-related went into my main inbox and I didn’t have to log into separate accounts constantly. Although it is easy to make notes on your laptop or smartphone device, these can easily get mixed in with other documents. I keep separate paper notebooks for my courses, and I bring them with me everywhere just in case I need to write something down. I also colour code different courses with different highlighters to make it easier for myself to flip back and forth to find certain topics. These tools are completely subjective, but these are my best tips for what helped me stay organized during my first year.

Even as I return to campus for my fourth semester, I still feel nervous as if it was my first day. If I were to give any piece of advice, it would be to stay organized and embrace everything your school has to offer. You are not only furthering yourself in terms of your education and future career but also as a person. Take a breath, relax, and trust yourself to do great things! Nothing good comes from overthinking and you must trust that the people around you want your success just as much as you do. Good luck!

  • Terae Walters Sep 23, 2021
    Like to recommend this item
    visibility  15

Author

Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Local Co-op

Posts by Author

Four silhouettes on a beach with a sunset behind them.
Blog
How to Capitalize on Your Mistakes

Mistakes and regrets are a part of life, but there will always be a way to move on from them. Look at OLC staff member Terae’s blog on how she learned to accept her failures and find a new perspective on her path to the future. 

A picture of Terae with the Zoom interface at the bottom.
Blog
Working in a Virtual World: How to Participate in Online Meetings

Even as the pandemic subsides, remote and online learning has become our new reality and that can take some adjusting to. OLC staff member Terae’s piece on Online Meeting Etiquette has you covered on where to sit, what to say, and how to look professional doing it. 

You Might Like These... Equity, Diversity + Inclusion, Communication, Community

Woman and man in a workplace
Where is Harassment and Discrimination? Right Under Your Nose, Perhaps.

School, work, home. That’s considered the typical routine of a young adult – they go to school for higher education, work to stay in school, and relax at home.  If only life were as simple as that. Drama in the form of harassment and discrimination is a reality for many people including students.  Can you recognize harassment and discrimination?

the author standing
From School to Designing for the City of Surrey

Read about Allison's co-op experience with the City of Surrey and learn what it is like working in government organisations.

A single runner on between a tree-lined road.
How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse: 4 Tips to Get You Started with Running

Running is great for your cardiovascular health, but it's not easy to get motivated if you're new to the sport. Read Rachel's post on SFU Rec to find some tips on how to build motivation before putting on the running shoes. 

A group of people sitting in front of a stage with a Welcome banner on the side.
library_books
Blog
Advice for Your First Semester at SFU
Community, Life Experience, Student Success, Personal Development

It’s that time of year again! OLC staff member Terae Walters reminisces on past school years and tells us about her tips for sailing through the first year.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Canucks team photo
Giving Back

The Vancouver Canucks are well known for their community involvement, and every semester they hire two interns to work with the community relations team. Michelle Muravi was one of these lucky picks last season and she shared with us what it’s like to work behind the scenes in the latest instalment of the We Are All Canucks series.

Picture of a mascot with people in the background
Spotlight on a Loaned Representative

Averyl Bancroft spent her co-op workterm as a Loaned Representative, as well as one of the United Way's Care-y mascots! As part of the United Way Spotlight series she shares her experience about the Loaned Rep program taking her out of her comfort zone.

smiling woman from Kolkata, hand on her forehead
Learning Indian Lessons

In the second installment of her series, Kali encounters some of the challenges of an international Co-op term. Find out how her determination led her to an amazing experience with Socio Legal Aid and Research Training Centre in India.