Anyone who knows me knows that I do not do well in new environments, and Vanier was no different. My first day at Vanier was terrifying. Actually, the whole week leading up to it was terrifying. I remember going to Bureau en Gros and spending an hour buying folders and labels and pens, and making sure everything was color coordinated. I remember spending even longer agonizing about what I was going to wear (will everyone be in leggings and sweatpants or skirts and dresses?) I even spent a day staring at a map of the school and memorizing my schedule so I wouldn’t get lost (which didn’t work, by the way). And then, after all that, I still wasn’t ready. All I wanted to know was how things work here, how do I make new friends? Where can I eat lunch? Is this going to be high school part two or college part one? So if you relate to my plight in any way, keep reading and maybe I can offer you a little reassurance.
I got to school on my first day and my first thought was “oh my god, there’s so many people, how do they all know where they’re going?” And my second one was “there’s already a line at the book store? I don’t have my books yet!” And it sort of went downhill from there. I spent all day running back and forth from the N building, because lucky me my locker was there, and A because even better, all my classes were there. I think I got more cardio done in one hour than I ever had in my life.
So here we go, tip number one: you don’t desperately need your books until the second week; don’t put yourself through the agony of waiting in line to get them. But, if you do, don’t forget to print out your book list. However, you do need to get your I.D, so do that first. Tip two: if you’re locker is in N and the majority of your classes aren’t, it is NOT worth it. Trust me in the winter you’d rather carry everything around with you like a turtle in its shell than brace the bitter walk outside.
Now, for the first class of each subject most teachers won’t keep you the whole time. On average you stay around twenty minutes in each class. That hidden truth left me with huge gaps of time to fill and since I had yet to make a friend, I was left to wait the hours between my classes alone and awkward. So tip three: If you’re going to be alone on your first day bring a book or a kindle or some form of prolonged entertainment to pass the time between classes.
My first semester here I was in Social Sciences, which is a pretty big program. Meaning the chances of you having multiple classes with the same people are not high. Which begs the question, how do I make friends? Everyone was in their own little world and I was not brave enough to approach even the nicest looking people.
But, every time I ran through the cafeteria and out the door to switch buildings I passed by a little room on the right. And like every other person I couldn’t help but constantly glance inside. The people in that room looked cool and fun. I had spent the day worrying how I would fit in and make friends and there they all were in that room. Someone was lying on the couch, another person swiveled around in a chair and they all talked and laughed like they were having the best time. I couldn’t help but think “I want to do that, too.” So the next day I walked in and quietly stammered out “I’d like to join the newspaper” and here I am, one year later, still loving the people and community I joined. So, tip four: join a club. The amount of people here can be scary but the fact that there’s so many of us means that there’s definitely a group of people with the same interests as you; go find them. That’s all for now. I wish you an awesome first day and I’m looking forward to welcoming in the next new quiet kid, like everyone here did for me, and making them feel at home.
Written By: Ashley Langburt
Originally published: August 2015