How To Kick-Start Your First Year at UBC

There’s nothing more simultaneously exciting and terrifying as heading into your first year of university. There is so much ahead of you to experience – perhaps you’re leaving your family for the first time, or perhaps you’re enrolled in classes that are unlike anything you’ve taken before. Maybe you’ve moved to a new country, or maybe you’ve lived in Vancouver all of your life. Regardless of where you come from and how you got here, you’re here now! And you’re about to embark on a few of the most amazing and enriching years of self-discovery and personal growth. First year is your chance to set a positive, adventurous, and engaging tone for the rest of your career at UBC – and here’s a few suggestions on how to do that.

Find Your Community

Join an Intramural League. Period.

Whether you played sports in high school or avoided gym class like the plague,
there’s nothing quite like meeting up with a team once a week for an hour of playtime. Be it a competitive basketball team (let the chirps fly!) or a ‘just for fun’ ultimate Frisbee team (a personal first year fave of many), the fun often continues outside of the league with celebratory team meals/gatherings to discuss why you haven’t won a single game of Frisbee. Join a league with a group of friends, or as a free agent and make some new ones!

Form a Study/Cram Group.

If you’re struggling to understand a concept in your Calculus class, you can bet you’re not alone. In fact, some of the best friendships can be formed through mutual hatred of derivatives, and can lead to some great study groups. Plan a homework session in your favourite library, complete with study break snacks and plenty of allotted time for group complaining. And hey, maybe you’ll even find a few new recruits to that intramural volleyball team you were thinking of starting…

Take on Iconic Events with New Friends.

There’s no time like your first year to participate in as many events as you can, and you have a seemingly endless amount of opportunities ahead of you. With new friends in residence, in class, or from groups on campus, why not sign up for some of the fun that first term has to offer? From the epic Day of the LongBoat races at Jericho Beach to a charitable dance party on ice skates for Lace Up for Kids, take your friendships to the next level.

Discover Your Passions

Join a Club. (Or Two… or Two Hundred).

One of the most memorable days you’ll take from first year will be the first week pep rally, followed by an adventure up and down Main Mall during the Imagine Day event. Here, you’ll find clubs for every interest you have, don’t have, or perhaps didn’t know you have – and there’s no harm in signing up for every single one of them! Keep an eye out for the any of the hundreds of fun people in blue shirts, who would love to tell you a bit about UBC Recreation… and are definitely game for a high-five!

Check off your UBC Bucket List.

With so many events happening on campus, there’s no better feeling than being able to say that you took part in as many of them as you could! UBC Recreation offers some campus-wide classics with the celebrated Storm the Wall event, as well as the Pumpkin Run, Faculty Cup, Gutterball bowling and the Parasport Games. And who could forget the Calendar’s Polar Plunge event? You won’t want to miss any of these!

Get Involved! 

As busy as university life can be, there’s always time to give back to your campus and the community. Whether you’re into sustainability (Sprouts or the UBC Sustainability Collective are calling your name), campus-wide events (Our Intramural Event teams are always looking for extra hands… pizza included!) or volunteering in general (check your personalized Student Service Centre for opportunities catered to you), there are so many ways to get involved. UBC Recreation is always looking for event-day volunteers and also hire term student volunteer positions in August & September!

Explore Your Campus

Capture those Insta-worthy Spots.

From first year to your final year, the views of UBC will never get old… nor will they ever be far from your Instagram story. The breathtaking sunsets of Wreck Beach, the simple serenity of the Nitobe Memorial Garden, and even the hustle-bustle of Main Mall during the class rush – there is so much to see, and you’ll see it all (and more!) throughout your journey. Pro tip: for those Insta-worthy captures, hop over to a photo booth at any Intramural Event for a classic team snap.

Find your Fuel.

UBC boasts an incredibly vast array of food spots on campus, and you’ll find you can cure just about any craving. From residence dining halls to fresh rolls of sushi, from award-winning ice cream cones to hot slices of ‘za, there’s something for everyone. Finish writing your paper? Treat yourself. Intramural water polo team lose the play-off game? Treat yourself. Hey, welcome to first year. Treat yourself!

Exercise, Sleep, Repeat.

In order to continue treatin’ yourself, it’s important to ensure you find a healthy balance that works for you. Between studying, eating, and making the most of your time on campus, it can be easy to let exercise and 8 hours of sleep take the backburner. Get the best of both worlds and utilize classic UBC sweat ‘n snooze spots. Participate in the Water Wars Rec event for some swimming and splashing in the state-of-the-art aquatic facility, followed by a nap in the brand-new Student Life building. Join in on the drop-in wheelchair basketball league in the Student Recreation Centre gyms, then catch some Z’s on the top floor of the Student Nest.