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Welcome to the Thunder Dome, First Years!

Welcome to the Thunder Dome, First Years!

By Radhika Lakhani (@RadhikaLakhani)

Making the transition into post-secondary education can be daunting. You’re entering a new environment, but don’t worry because we’ve got some advice; everything from academic to social, that will help you make it through your first year!

Orientation Week

(Source: Facebook - Humber Students’ Federation)

This is the first stepping stone in your post-secondary education. Orientation will introduce you to the campus, all while having some fun before the school year begins. At Humber College, your Orientation Group will be with people who are in your program (i.e. Broadcast Television, Baking and Pastry Arts Management, etc.). It’s scary, I know, but remember that this is also new for your peers.

There are several activities scheduled throughout the week such as First Year Experience Workshops and “Ask Me Stations.” Your group leaders will be students in upper years, so take advantage and ask them any questions you may have, whether it be about housing after first year or which classes and professors they recommend. Their knowledge is an invaluable resource. You can register for Orientation Week here.

Class Schedules

Welcome to post-secondary education, where your days of 8am to 3pm no longer exist. Your class schedule may be all over the place, and if you can, avoid scheduling your classes back to back. That time can be used to eat, get some last minute studying in or even just to decompress before your next class.

The biggest mistake that a lot of first years make is signing up for that 9 am class, convinced they’ll be able to do it. That changes quickly when you realize that no one is keeping track of your attendance. Going to lecture is important because what your professor talks about will be different than the assigned readings. Please do not be that student who doesn’t come to class, and then asks for notes before the exam.


Most first year classes are accompanied by tutorials, which is group significantly smaller than your lecture and is led by Teaching Assistant (TA). It’s an opportunity to have a discussion about the week’s lectures, readings and to discuss any questions you may have. A majority of tutorials are mandatory, meaning your attendance is being taken, and your level of participation is being noted. Do not dismiss tutorials because these are easy marks to get, and could be the different between a B+ and an A-.

The Freshman 15

(Source: Facebook - Humber College Fitness- North Campus)

The options you have for food are vast, and with it all being located in a close proximity, the temptation is hard to resist. Did you know that your tuition fees also allow you access to the campus gym? Humber’s Fitness Centre is a state of the art facility, where they have free fitness classes and offer discounted training with Certified Professional Trainers, Fitness Assessments and Nutrition Consultations. Dedicate a few hours a week to head to the gym, and stick to a workout schedule - you’ll be thankful you did at the end of the year.    


After paying thousands of dollars in tuition, you realize that you’re going to have to spend more money on textbooks. If you’re looking for a way to minimize the cost, chances are the school library may already have a copy that you could use, and sometimes the Internet will have a PDF version available. However, if you really cannot avoid buying the textbook, there are cheaper alternatives. You could split the cost with a friend or head to Facebook and check out groups like “Humber College- Class of 20 _ _” as students use it as a forum to sell their textbooks. Generally, these books are in great condition, and more importantly, you’ll save some money. And when it comes time to sell your textbooks, you can use these same methods.

Office Hours

Your professor has set aside a specific time and day during each week that is meant for office hours. You can use it to talk to your professor about the week’s lecture or even something as simple as introducing yourself. More often than not, first years do not even bother with office hours. Build a relationship with your professor early on as they could become a mentor, aide you in coursework or even write you reference letter. It’s a way to become more than just a number, and your professor will be able to put a name to the face

Parking and Lockers                      

Commuting can be a bit of a headache, and lugging your books from home to school can become tiring. It may be in your best interest to rent a locker for the school year, and use it as a place to store textbooks or your jackets and coats when it’s winter. You could even split this cost with some friends, and all you’ll need to bring is a lock.

Parking can get a little crazy during the school year. There are a limited number of parking passes available for students, so get them as soon as possible. However, Queen’s Plate parking passes are usually available year round and at a lower rate ($290). It’s a bit of a trek on foot, but Humber does provide a shuttle to and from the lot. If you spend a lot of your time on campus, it may be in your best interested to invest in a parking pass and save some money!

Get Involved

(Source: Facebook - Humber International Centre)

Whether you’re at Humber for a two-year program or a four-year program, getting involved will enhance your school experience. There are several clubs that you can become a member of and they range from Athletic to General Interest. It’s a great way to connect with students outside of your program. And if you cannot find the club you’re looking for, you can always start one. A full list of clubs can be found here.

Getting involved doesn’t have to be limited to just the school grounds. Humber College offers study abroad programs and it’ll give you the opportunity to earn a credit while exploring a new country. You could study in Finland for the summer or spend your fourth semester in Taiwan. These are only a few of the options that you can check out, and funding is available for students who need it. More information about the program can be found here.

Don’t Panic!

The last piece of advice is to remember that it will all be okay. Use the first few weeks to find out what does and doesn’t work for you. When you’ve figured that out, your post-secondary experience will be that much easier. As a first-year, take it all in and enjoy it because it goes by fast. Before you know it, you’ll be in a graduation gown and cap, accepting your hard earned degree.