University life is like a buffet and when I say buffet, I’m talking about the all-you-can eat, many different options style of buffet. Just about every encounter you have in university can be connected to how you would approach a buffet at a well-known restaurant. You approach the counters, filled with the aroma of freshly cooked foods and scan the many different types of food you’re about to stuff yourself with. Like university, everything you could possibly want is laid out right in front of you to choose, but its up to you to decide what your meal will look like. You will have so many options ahead but you are in charge of your own actions. That is why it is important to plan ahead about what you want you experience to look like You also have the opportunity to tailor your experience to whatever you want it to be.
Every student will approach the buffet (or university) differently, especially if you don’t have any connections with family members who have already experienced what you are about to go through. For many first generation students, the university experience may be intimidating but I am going to provide you will some information which can help you make the most of your experience by filling your plate full of opportunities. There are many other first generation students on campus who experience the exact same situation as you. It is important to realize that the fear you may have about not fitting in, transitioning into university or trying a new food are things that non first generation students experience as well. Here are a few situations you may find yourself in:
- You approach a buffet and you aren’t sure what the food is. Do you ask an employee, risk the chance or move on to the next option? As a first generation student (or every student for that matter) I would advise you to always seek help or assistance when necessary. Although you may think you are able to complete the task on your own, Nipissing University is there to assist your transition to make sure you don’t eat rice pudding that you hated as a child but didn’t realize you placed on your plate. Asking for confirmation or assistance can to lead you in the right direction to be successful and fill your plate full of tasteful choices.
- You notice that all of your friends (or classmates) choose foods that they are used to at the buffet and you don’t want to get the same food as them. Do you put an extra spoon full of that rice pudding on your plate just to fit in or do you avoid the painful swallow and chose your favorite Mediterranean dish? At university, you are able to choose your own adventure, meaning that you choose how you want to spend your time, whether that means academically or socially. There are endless opportunities around campus to get involved and meet new people. Have a love for Pokémon? We have a club for that! Looking for some writing assistance? Visit B210 to meet with a counselor to gain new skills in that department. You have the ability to choose which foods (or resources) you want to put on your plate, so go out there and enjoy your meal and don’t feel the pressure to eat (or participate) in something you don’t find interesting.
- You approach the cashier and didn’t realize how much the buffet was. Do you try and convince the employee that you should be charged the child fee or charge it on your visa, amongst the other ten purchases you made earlier that month. For many first generation students, tuition and living expenses associated with university can be alarming. There are many options that can assist your payment throughout completing your degree at Nipissing University. You are able to apply for OSAP, grants and scholarships as well as talk to the friendly staff at the Finance office to help you stay on track to be able to afford your degree.
University is an abundance of choice, and many first generation students, like yourself may feel overwhelmed by the new found freedom of all the options. Whether that means studying abroad, contacting professors or attending different social activities, you are able to have the experience you want. The transformations that take place can come from a wide array of experiences, or ‘foods’ as we can call them, for the purpose and this of this blog. As you process through university, it’s important that you constantly ask yourself if the food on your tray is what you really want. Remember, your time at Nipissing University is only a snippet of time in the grand scheme of things, so its important to make the most of it, not just in a few instance, but for as much and for as long as we possibly can. Think of it as if you were about to eat your last meal at a buffet. What foods would you choose to eat first and last and what’s the reasoning behind it? Remember to ask for help when you need it and that you are not alone. The post secondary experience is made up of many different parts, and as a student, it is up to you to figure out which of those parts you want to include in your experience and to what extent. Nipissing University is filled with caring and kind people who can direct you to appropriate resources!