Coming from a smaller school, Veronica was thankful that she was able to meet her first friends at UBC Vancouver’s orientations.
Although classes don’t begin until September, UBC’s orientation programs help new students prepare for their first day. In July, get started with Academic Essentials, a series of online, self-paced courses that will help you develop academic skills and give you access to useful resources that will help you succeed in your studies. Then in August, participate in the five-day in-person Jump Start program, where you’ll get a first look at university life, meet your professors and academic community, and make your first friends at UBC Vancouver. Like Veronica, you can participate in both programs to get the most of what UBC has to offer during your first year.
You took part in Jump Start. How did you find your experience?
I chose to move into residence a week before classes started to participate in the in-person Jump Start program. It was an opportunity that I was so grateful for as I came from a very small private school and did not know anyone my age at UBC! My experience of the campus and community in that one week was exhilarating. The in-person experience is exactly what I think myself and a lot of students needed and looked forward to after the unstable conditions we faced during the hit of the global pandemic in our last senior years of high school.
How did Jump Start help you make friends before school began?
Having a week with other first year students when we lived on campus was super helpful in making friends – some of which I am so glad to have by my side today! The exposure of being together without the thought of going to classes was the perfect environment to meet and hang out with new people.
Can you talk a bit about what you liked about your Jump Start learning community?
I like that the Jump Start communities were grouped by faculties and led by their upper year students. This way I got to spend time with other Arts students and discover what I could expect later in my classes. What I think is wonderful about university is getting to learn alongside people that share the same interests as you, which was the same with our learning communities. The advice and personal perspective that our Jump Start leaders shared with us are stories I will forever remember.
What was your favourite event or session?
I’d have to say that the creative social events were my favourite – a fun break from mock lectures and campus tours! Tote bag painting, bracelet making, terrarium creations, and mug decorating were a time to get together with people that I had met and learn more about them, sharing laughs and memories.
What was most useful to you about meeting your professors and learning more about your faculty during Jump Start?
What helped me feel supported in the Faculty of Arts was the information sessions that they held for discovering UBC resources that could help us navigate our first year in university. There is a huge amount of tutorial sessions that are available to attend all year long that focus on study habits, mental health breaks, course planning, and advising. Trust me, there are more resources than you are aware of!
How did Jump Start help you transition into university life?
Jump Start ultimately made my transition to university life much smoother than I could have ever navigated on my own. I attended several information sessions in the last couple of years leading up to my first year of university and the summer before, but nothing was more helpful than actually being on campus and interacting with UBC’s community, soaking up first-hand what my future here studying was going to look like.
What would you say to students who are considering taking part in Jump Start?
You should absolutely do it! Jump Start is such an interactive experience that I think all first-year students should participate in. It might seem daunting, but everyone there is just like you, transitioning into a new chapter of their life, which is so much more fun to do with people beside you.
You also took part in the Academic Essentials program. Why did you want to take advantage of it?
After graduating from my senior year, I knew that I wanted to enjoy the break but also be prepared for the academic rigour I was told I would face entering university. The Academic Essentials courses were a great way for me to go get a taste of university academics and get advice and tips along the way with the support of upper-year students. The program kept me on my toes over the summer and ready to work in class for the fall!
Which Academic Essentials courses did you take, and how did you choose which ones you wanted to do?
I took the Reading and Writing at University and Live Well to Learn Well courses. I saw them to be the most beneficial for me as I planned to major in the Faculty of Arts, which I knew would require time spent doing LOTS of academic reading and writing. Part of my preparation also included my wellbeing and learning how to structure my schedules and time, and thrive in my community and studies.
Which course did you enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoyed the Reading and Writing at University course the most, because the theme that year – “technologies of everyday life” – is a topic with such relevance for our generation. It was intriguing for me to hear from professors (some of whom I met later in the fall) in different study fields with similar interests. It revealed what a fascinating process it is for different disciplines to analyze and contribute to research together.
How did UBC support you during your Academic Essentials courses?
I would say that the professors and course facilitators (who are current students) gave me a lot of support when it came to navigating the new academic community that I was about to enter. The structure of the courses included assignments with suggested deadlines, and that also gave incentives to finish and do well!
The Academic Essentials courses were a great way for me to go get a taste of university academics and get advice and tips along the way with the support of upper-year students.
In what ways have your Academic Essentials courses prepared you for your first year at UBC?
The Academic Essentials courses gave me a real head start when the first week of classes came around. I was introduced to several reading, writing, and analyzing techniques and situations that I would encounter later in my courses. When you’re going through a big life change and entering whole new kind of academic world, as I was, it really helps to get that extra bit of advice and support. All of which I have been so grateful for!
What would you say to other incoming students who are considering the Academic Essentials program?
An opportunity to participate in a program like Academic Essentials can be a game changer. I would definitely recommend it to incoming students. Even if you already think that you know what to expect (which I thought I did after the countless information and welcome sessions I went to!), there is always something new that I guarantee you will learn, or a perspective that you will find you never thought about before.