After taking part in UBC’s orientations during the summer, Srishti felt like she was already a member of the UBC community when she started classes.
Srishti chose two of UBC’s orientation options: Academic Essentials and Jump Start. Hoping to know more about the standard of learning at UBC, she took advantage of all three Academic Essentials courses to make sure she was prepared for her studies, and credits her performance in her first year to techniques learned in the program. Once her Academic Essentials courses had ended, Srishti also took part in Jump Start online, where she met her first friends, discovered more about her professors and faculty, and learned about university life – all while becoming an expert at virtual escape rooms.
Why did you choose to accept your offer to UBC?
Academics and undergraduate research opportunities were my main priorities for choosing a university. With UBC being one of the best research institutes not only in Canada but also in the world, it was one of my dream universities. To add to that, one of my seniors who attends UBC Sauder School fo Business had such great things to say about everything – from the welcoming campus environment to the quality of teaching – that I was thrilled to accept my offer to UBC.
You took part in the Academic Essentials program. Why did you want to take advantage of it?
I was a bit nervous about starting my studies at university, especially since I am an international student. I didn’t know what to expect regarding the standard of learning, and whether my abilities were up to the mark. The Academic Essentials program provided an avenue to get an idea about and ease into university studies, so I was eager to sign up for it.
How did you choose which Academic Essentials courses you wanted to do?
I took part in all three of the Academic Essentials courses because I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned when preparing for university. Math is one of my weaknesses so I knew I definitely wanted to sign up for the Readiness for University Mathematics course and practice high-school basics again. The Reading and Writing at University course also seemed interesting as I looked forward to learning more about reading and writing at a university level, familiarizing myself with the UBC library facilities, academic sources, and more.
Which course did you enjoy the most, and why?
I ended up enjoying the Live Well to Learn Well course the most as it provided me with valuable guidance about staying healthy and efficient while at university. The course went past the surface clichés about taking care of yourself and actually provided realistic information and resources for doing so. It involved a lot of introspection and fun activities that I really appreciated.
How did UBC support you during your Academic Essentials courses?
For a program that was completely online, the discussions in each of the Academic Essentials courses proved quite helpful as I got to interact with other students and even the facilitators for the course. These course facilitators were always available to help answer any questions and made the experience more engaging. There were helpful links and resources put together for new students like me – for example, a checklist for new-to-UBC students, guides for international students, information about staying connected to campus virtually, and more. I doubt I would have made use of all these resources if it weren’t for the Academic Essentials course.
In what ways have your Academic Essentials courses prepared you for your first year at UBC?
Over the course of my first year at UBC, I realized just how useful the Academic Essentials courses were. In my first term, I took MATH 184 which proved to be a challenging course for me and I kept going back to the Readiness for University Mathematics course to refresh my memory and clarify concepts. I think my overall performance this year goes back to taking thorough notes in class – a skill I developed in the Reading and Writing at University course, so I’m very grateful for that!
What would you say to other incoming students who are considering the Academic Essentials program?
I say do it! Apart from all the things I’ve mentioned so far, the Academic Essentials program will really help you get into your studies after the summer. Since it’s designed quite like a course you would take in your first year with weekly content, activities, and deadlines, it’ll help you establish a study schedule from the very beginning. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with other students, which – if you’re an introvert like me – is a great first step!
You also took part in Jump Start online. How did you find the experience?
At first I was disappointed when I realized that I couldn’t attend Jump Start in person, but the online experience ended up being surprisingly great! I met more people online than I would ever have approached if Jump Start had been in person. It gave me a level of connectedness which I never expected to gain just sitting in my room. I made a few friends within my learning community and even bonded with my Orientation and Transition Leaders, who are upper-year students. From discussing poetry in the learning seminars to fun socials where we played games and exploring virtual events on my own, Jump Start is still one of my favourite university experiences.
How did Jump Start help you make friends before school began?
Whether by design or chance, many people in my learning community were from the same country as me. We connected almost immediately and I found it easy to relate to them. As we all played games together and got to know each other better, I started becoming friends with more people from different places and with different cultures. I found myself getting out of my comfort zone as I invited some of these new friends to attend other sessions together and we stayed in touch even after Jump Start!
Can you talk a bit about what you liked about your Jump Start learning community?
The Faculty Leader and Orientation and Transition Leaders for my learning community were wonderful as they spared no effort organizing great activities for us, and encouraging us to open up. I really liked the fact that our group was quite diverse; I learnt a lot about Canada’s Indigenous communities from an Indigenous student along with learning about other international students’ backgrounds. It was an important experience to me as I felt like I was coming out of my shell and becoming more aware, which is very important considering that UBC is an international and very diverse university.
What was your favourite event or session?
My favourite event was definitely the virtual escape room. I attended this event as many times as I could because it was just so fun and I ended up making a few friends at this event. I also really enjoyed the session on BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of colour] issues and resources. As a POC [person of colour], it really helped me to meet other BIPOC individuals and get inspired by them.
What was most useful to you about meeting your professors and learning more about your faculty during Jump Start?
While every course is different and every professor has their own teaching method, learning seminars with our faculty leader provided a general insight into what Arts courses are structured like. Sometimes I would show up early to meetings and ask the professor and the Orientation and Transition Leaders questions related to the courses I was taking, course load, majors and opportunities for Arts students. I attended some faculty advising sessions as well and those proved to be invaluable too.
What would you say to students who are considering taking part in Jump Start?
I could not recommend registering for Jump Start more. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about UBC and your faculty, get involved into university life, make friends, and have fun! Whether it’s online or in person, try to attend all the learning community meetings and any other events that interest you. By the end of my Jump Start experience, I began feeling like I was actually a part of UBC – and I bet you’ll feel the same way.