To all incoming Carleton students, Let me start off by congratulating you all for taking the next step to higher...

To all incoming Carleton students,

Let me start off by congratulating you all for taking the next step to higher education and choosing Carleton as your stepping stone to success. Carleton is a special community where there is so much diversity, but there is a place for everyone. As you move into residence and attend your first classes, take it all because first year will be over as soon as you know it.

Enjoy every minute of Frosh week and be sure to attend as many events as you can. Do not pass up on Expo or a concert for a party. Go to these events with your new friends because your friendship will blossom into something you will treasure for a long time. I made my closest friends during frosh and I am so thankful for them and the experiences we faced our first week in a new environment.

Get out of your dorm as much a possible, especially if you haven’t been to Ottawa before. There is so much to see downtown, like Parliament Hill, the war memorial, Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the National Gallery, and the Rideau Centre. Invest some time into seeing the beautiful city you will be living in for the next four years. You don’t want to go home for breaks and be unable to tell your family and friends about Ottawa. It also never hurts to get yourself acquainted with the buses, especially if it is your first time using public transportation. Download the OC Transpo app and use the heck out of it. You will thank yourself in your upper years when you live off campus.

Don’t get too distracted. It’s great to hang out with your new friends and take part in many new social experiences, but remember you are here for school. Your academics should be at the top of your priority list, so you may have to stay in on a Friday night to work on a group project because that’s the only time that works. You will appreciate it later on when you are rewarded with good grades for your determination. However, do not let school take over time you should be investing in socializing. You learn lots outside of the classroom through meeting new people and experiencing new things.

This is also a great time to learn valuable time management skills that you will hold onto throughout the remainder of your education. Plan out when you are going to start researching for your term paper or start preparing for midterms. Know what you want to accomplish each day and set goals for yourself each week. Invest in a planner and use a calendar to make a visual reminder of everything you need to do.

Take advantage of everything Carleton has to offer. Take a free workshop on note taking or attend a PASS session for a class you are struggling in. There are therapy dogs and counselling in residence just for residence students, so make sure you get some puppy snuggles in with Blue and to take care of yourself. Your mental health is on the same level of importance as your physical health. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Carleton offers so much support for students to help them thrive and succeed.

Make sure you do your readings throughout the semester and take notes on what you are reading. Many exams use reading material and to prevent stressful cramming at finals, make sure you do your readings every week and make note of the main ideas and important information. Keeping caught up and on track prevents extra stress on yourself during midterms and finals, making you feel more prepared and guides you to success.

Use your voice. If you need to tell your roommate to quiet down or talk to your residence fellow about noise levels in the halls at night, do it. Don’t be scared, you will not get in trouble for voicing your concerns. It will help you in the long run rather than stressing you out all year. Do not be afraid to speak out in class. There was many times my professors and TA’s would say something I completely did not agree with and I wish I could go back and address them. Voice your opinions and do not worry who won’t like them. If someone cannot accept you and your beliefs and morals, they are not worth your time.

Overall remember that this is probably the most exciting time of your life. University is an amazing experience and your first year at Carleton will bring memories, life lessons, and opportunities that you will hold onto. Take every moment in and carry it with you. Make this the best year it can possibly be. It does not need to be perfect. You will face struggles and hard times, but you will also experience amazing things and you will succeed. Take on this year with a positive attitude and a smile. Be yourself and be kind to others. I wish you all the best Ravens.

You got this.