GEN1 means that a student is the first in their family to complete a four-year degree. First generation students are more likely to learn as they go on throughout university, compared to a student whose parents went to university and can share their learned experiences. The first month of university can be a crucial part to a successful university career for students. This first month can be a test for how well a student is able to transition from living at home to living on their own for the first time.
This first month of first year student’s university life is where these students truly find out what university is like. As they begin, they are brought through various transition and orientation programs that attempt to educate them on student life.
The first event that first year students living in residence are introduced into is called Residence Orientation Weekend. This weekend allows students to create a bond with their roommates and floor mates. This bond becomes crucial throughout the year, as this is where students often find a lot of support. After a night of bonding with their fellow floor members and roommates, students will then work together with their fellow floor members to work together against other floors in a competition. This allows students to first create a friendship with their floor and then create a stronger bond through competition.
The second event that first year students are introduced to is Frosh week. Frosh week will allow students to meet members of the community that are likely facing similar challenges. This allows all students, including GEN1 students, to reach out and create new friendships with individuals in the same year as them and in some cases the same program. These activities throughout Frosh Week are put in place to allow students to become educated about university through programs such as a school scavenger hunt, a mock lecture, as well as in creating friendships through activities and competition.
First year students’ first month of university can determine how successful they will be in the future. It is possible for students to struggle and face significant challenges in the first part of their academic journey and still be successful. Adapting to the surrounding and striving towards improving skills in transition can help students achieve success. In the case of GEN1 students, this can be very important, as this is where these students will learn how to create new friendships, how to be successful in university and what university is all about – an environment that is entirely new to students who are first in their family to attend postsecondary. Transitions do not have to be smooth throughout the first month of university to be successful. Many students have improved these skills and abilities later in the year and were still able to adapt to university life and succeed. University experience gets easier as it goes, hold on, you are going to do incredible things.