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At the beginning, I thought my university path would be a straight line. Start my program, take the classes, reach the finish. Instead, and to my surprise, my interests and aspirations took me along a very winding road. It wasn’t entirely smooth either; I encountered many bumps along the way. If you’re feeling a bit confused about how to find your way on campus, here are some tips that helped me out.

 

  1. Connect with a Faculty Advisor – and do it early.
    From the beginning, this allowed me to feel comfortable and confident in my program. I always knew my Faculty Advisor was on my side and would advocate for me. It was so reassuring. Even though I was nervous to meet with them at the start, they provided so much peace of mind about my program. When they heard that I wanted to pursue a combined degree, they were extremely supportive – and guided me though many complex and confusing university processes. They were the person who guided me most throughout my decisions about what to study.
     
  2. Keep an open mind when choosing classes.
    I chose to take ANTH 203 in my first year purely because it fit with my schedule. I never expected it would be one of my favourite classes in my whole degree, nor that I would end up pursuing a combined degree in anthropology. I am so glad that I registered for a class I knew nothing about. University is all about exploration – so take those opportunities when they arise!
     
  3. Focus on your strengths.
    I experienced so many challenges in my first year of university. It felt like there was always so much to do. At the same time, it was so exciting to find things that I loved learning about. I tried to learn from my mistakes, while focusing on my strengths – the things I was good at and passionate about. The classes and experiences you enjoy the most will usually be the most rewarding overall. Knowing what is right for you can help you make all kinds of decisions at university, big and small.

I made the decision to apply to the BHSc in Health and Society on somewhat of a whim – and it ended up being a great fit for me. I took a chance on an anthropology class and found a passion that led me to complete a combined degree. I always knew that I loved school, but I clearly remember being overwhelmed by the variety of programs university offered – and yet, as I found my way along my own winding path, I added a minor in music because I loved playing my cello in the university orchestra. It was amazing to me, that I could make so many of my interests a part of my degree.

Whether you are an incoming or continuing student, my advice is to explore all the possibilities available to you. You may be surprised at the places your journey takes you!

Helen Pethrick

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