Dos

  1. Wear the T-Shirt. In real life, you are probably too cool for polycotton blends. But this is Frosh week. Embrace it. “It was frosh week!” is pretty much an all-encompassing excuse you will be thankful for later, and wearing the t-shirt is its price. Besides, if you signed up for frosh week, you’re not too cool for frosh week and all the mindless chanting that comes with it.
  2. Go To Parties. This is a no-brainer, but if you’re shy, it’s tempting to just stay in your dorm room or head back home well before the last subway. U of T is a huge place, but it becomes very lonely if you don’t make connections from the start. Another common reason students avoid parties is that they don’t drink, and they fear peer pressure, or joyless evenings wasted (pun intended). To this I say, I didn’t drink at all in my first year, and frosh week parties were still super fun. Trust me, most people won’t notice you’re not drinking, and if they do, chances are they’ll have been too drunk to care the next day.
  3. Explore Campus and the City. Get familiar with where you live! St. George has one of the best campuses in the country, so don’t just stick to your college. I know a lot of people who can count on one hand the times they’ve left the area between Yonge and Bathurst. Don’t let this be you! But start small. Some cool places to check out near campus are Moonbean Café and Free Times Café (live music!) in Kensington Market; Future’s Bakery on Bloor, and Seven West on Charles St W (bonus: the latter two are also 24 hours).
  4. Sign Up for Clubs. Even if you don’t know how committed you can be, it’s always good to get on the mailing list. Plus, it really is a great way to meet people from different colleges. Also, there’s nothing more embarrassing than being in your fourth year putting together grad school applications and having nothing under extra-curriculars except a joke club you started in your first year.
  5. Be Friendly. The first step is just to smile. Try your best to be diplomatic to everyone, at least in the first few weeks. Don’t make catty comments about the people you meet; it could turn out they’re the Dean’s kid or an upper year. Besides, there will be plenty of time for petty rivalries later. If you’re a natural misanthrope, consider frosh week your opportunity to conduct field research on your future enemies.

Don’ts

  • Wear the T-Shirt. All. The. Time. Enough said.
  • Party Too Hard. Have as much fun as you can, but keep in mind your reputation and personal health. There’s a party every night during frosh—but there’s also pretty much a party every night most of September. It can be easy to get into bad habits. It sounds cheesy, but know your limits and take precautions, especially at non-U of T sponsored events where there aren’t people hired to protect you.
  • Wander Aimlessly and Alone. The St. George campus is one of the safest in Canada. But what’s not super safe is wandering purposelessly through a new city by oneself. If you’re going somewhere new, research the area, and tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back. It sounds overcautious, but sketchy situations can happen to the most street-smart of us, so take a few simple steps to minimize their potential.
  • Over-commit. Everyone says university is harder than high school, but it’s not just the courses, it’s the lack of structure. If you’re an arts student; your schedule probably has a lot of empty spaces. If you’re a science student; see you at graduation. Resist the temptation to fill every space with shiny new things to commit to. If you take on too much, you’ll be stressed out and sucking at everything (except beer) within two months.
  • Befriend everyone. Don’t share your deep, dark secrets and give away hugs like ice cream at an ice cream party. Sometimes, people on your floor are really just people on your floor. Sometimes they are also kelptos, sex addicts, gossipy bitches, and burgeoning arsonists - and there’s no way of discovering this until it’s too late. So save yourself some trouble and accept that usually all you have in common is sharing a poorly maintained bathroom, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
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