Photo Credit: Ali Akberali
A guide to finding your deserved school–life balance in these stressful times
Karen Maktabi, Associate Lifestyle Editor
Are you new to college life? Finding it hard to make friends? I get it. Transitioning to university can be a difficult and tedious process. New faces, new environment, potentially new country, new cultures, so much diversity! We’re already more than halfway into the fall term, so you’re probably swamped with assignments. Totally relatable. It can all be a little overwhelming. But it’s not all so bad to manage if you have a consistent and healthy balance between your social and academic life. It’s all about finding a middle ground, and while I can see how it may be challenging, I am here to offer help. Here are some helpful tips for making some new friends on campus and balancing that with your busy U of T workload:
- Join a club! U of T students run many great clubs. If you’re like me and need a break from daily academics while still making time to socialize and meet new people, this one’s for you. There is a huge range of clubs. There are clubs in Arts, Athletics & Recreation, and Career Development. Some more intellectual options: Politics, Social Justice & Advocacy, Global Interests. And more. The choices are endless, and you’re bound to find your crowd. And in the rare case that you don’t, why not consider launching your own club?
- Attend campus events. This one seems self-explanatory and straightforward, yet it always does the trick. On Instagram, keep up with St. Mike’s campus life (@ustmikesstudents), U of T Student Life (@uoftstudentlife), St. Michael’s College Student Union (@usmcsu), and Hart House (@harthouseuoft), as these student-centered organizations run and promote regular events, as well as fun activities and opportunities on campus. Often, other students attending these events are in the same boat as you, seeking to meet friends and form connections. While putting yourself out there can be challenging, you should take advantage of these unique experiences to make some memories and meet great people.
- Varsity games. Have you considered watching a U of T varsity game? It’s a simple but effective way to feel socially involved in university life. You can also meet new friends there or bring friends to cheer on your university’s sports team playing against some of our rival teams. Tickets are free for students, and snacks are sold outside the stadium.
- Recognized study groups. Group study sessions are one way to maintain your friendships and get some schoolwork done all in one go. This is a U of T life hack. Consider joining an RSG if your courses offer it. This is an entirely student-led, course-based study group where you can catch up on assignments, share and review notes, and attend office hours with class peers. Also, if it’s any incentive, joining or volunteering to lead an RSG earns you a CCR credit, which looks great as it showcases your academic involvement in university life outside the classroom. And bonus points if you develop strong bonds with your group members and become good friends!
- Cafés. Coffee shops are seriously underrated. If your usual library setup for study is beginning to look a little monotonous, try upgrading by visiting some new coffee shops downtown. I’ll get you started: Taste Bender (@tastebender on Instagram), Found Coffee (@found.coffee.to), and NEO Coffee Bar (@neocoffeebarto) are just a couple of my recent favourites. They are all within walking distance from campus and provide complimentary Wi-Fi. Don’t forget that motivation is key to productivity, so invite your friends, order warm drinks, pastries, and snacks to your heart’s content, and finish some of that schoolwork.
It may not be a whole lot, but I hope these tips help balance your school social life and heavy workload to make the best of your U of T experience.