My $0.02 Worth to an Incoming Student

Hello new McGill student that has stumbled upon this blog! First and foremost, I want to say congratulations on your acceptance to McGill – I hope you find everything and more that you’re looking for from a university experience at McGill. I know that you’re probably being bombarded with e-mails about orientation sessions and all the glorious events that are coming up. Or you could be a not-typical-first-year-student; maybe you’re on exchange, or just testing the waters for a year, or a third-year student that just switched into McGill. Whatever the case, I’m sure the process of coming to McGill is quite heavy. From planning courses to planning housing to planning food, there’s a lot to think about. But there might also be some general things that you’ll want to know. Here are some things I wish I was more familiar with when I first joined the McGill environment:  

  1. This one isn’t so much something to become familiar with as it is something to know about. Orientation events! Like I said, you’re probably already aware of the various events you can attend. Frosh, Discover McGill, Rez events – there’s a lot going on. It technically is optional, but I highly advise you to participate! It’s a good start to meeting people as well as learning more about the general McGill environment.
  2. Course selection. I remember the immense amount of stress and confusion when selecting courses. Chances are, you’ve already done this (if you haven’t…do it do it do it now). But when I was first selecting courses, there were a couple things I was confused about. The first was checking courses with an advisor. In first year, you would most likely need to send in your courses to an advisor to make sure you’re on the right track (though this can be program-specific). Also take note of who your advisor is and save their email address – just in case you ever need it. Second, waitlists! If you’re on a waitlist for one of your courses, you don’t need to worry too much. There’s a LOT of activity leading to the end of add-drop (which is the first two weeks of school where you can still switch in and out of courses) so you likely will end up getting a spot in the course you want…though, for some especially high-demand courses, it’s best to ensure you have a back-up plan.
  3. Facebook pages. McGill has a wide variety of different Facebook pages that would make your McGill life easier. There are pages about course advice, pages about housing, pages about textbooks – pretty much everything you could possibly need. Most of them require you to sign in to your McGill account before joining, but definitely do so because they’re extremely helpful!
  4. Ah yes, I remember the first time someone told me to go to the “Y-Intersection” and I had an internal panic attack because I figured that’s not something you can Google-Maps. Get familiar with at least *some* McGill terminology: the Y-intersection (which is basically the long path from Roddick Gates to the Arts Building), Lower Field (infront of Redpath Museum), the McGill Ghetto and the Plateau, general street names such as Sherbrooke and Parc, etc. Oh, and by the way: “the library” generally refers to McLennan. Which is the same building as Redpath so really it refers to the hybrid of both. Even though we have about a million wonderful libraries at McGill (do explore them!), a general “the library” term means McLennan.
  5. Get to know campus! The last thing you want is to be half an hour late to your first day of class because you didn’t know where “Rutherford” was. Most buildings are Google-Maps-able, so get to know their general location but also your room number. That way you can have a smoother first day.
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