Letter From the Outgoing Editor: Great Expectations

Bryan Mailloux - Outgoing Editor-in-Chief
Posted on: August 28, 2016

Welcome, first-years, to the University of Waterloo!

First of all, congratulations on getting accepted into Waterloo Engineering! Take a second to look back on your past achievements and feel proud of yourself, because you certainly deserve it. Getting into Waterloo Engineering is not an easy feat, and it’s definitely cause to celebrate. It means that you have the smarts, the tenacity, and the commitment to survive the years ahead. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what you can expect from your first term here at UWaterloo.

Your journey here will begin with Orientation Week, which is hands-down the best week of the term. For some, this is a chance to make friends with others in their graduating year. For others, it’s a way to meet upper year students who have been in your position before and who can offer sound advice on tough questions. (Pro tip: don’t be scared to ask upper years for advice! They’ll be happy to tell you their stories.) For still others, it can be where your most memorable moments of the term come from. Orientation Week can be tiring, but you only get one of them, so be sure to come out to all the events lined up for you! More information on each of the teams and the schedule is available from pages 8 to 11.

The next step on your path through 1A is what you came here for – getting educated! Some things you encounter during your first term should be familiar to you. Weekly assignments? Yeah, those still happen, at least in 1A. (Make sure you do them! For most courses they’re an easy-to-get 10% on your final grade.) A course you’re not interested in at all but that you still need to pass to get your degree? Yeah, everyone has one of those (Ask around – it’s likely to be CHE 102 or PHYS 115). Great teachers, and not-so-great teachers? Uh-huh. (They’re called professors now though.)

But university life has some novelties to offer as well. (No, I’m not talking about the store next to POETS.) First off, I hope you’re ready for midterm and final exams to be worth way more than you’re used to. The pressure’s on – but you’re here, so I know you can deal with it! First-year is also a great opportunity to try a bunch of things you might not have had access to in high school. For instance, if you have an interest in a certain sport or hobby that you’ve never tried, there’s probably a club for that here. You can find out more about all the clubs here at Waterloo by going to clubs day, which usually happens sometime during the first month of the term. I also highly recommend joining one of the student teams, where you can gain valuable skills (i.e. stuff you can put on your resume) while working on a cool project. More information about student teams is available on pages 16 and 17.

I guess I’ll leave off with a couple of pieces of advice I wish someone had told me during first-year. First off, finding a job is one of the hardest things you’re going to have to do in your first term. Even if you’ve had a job before, use the resources available to you to make your job hunt easier – resume critiques and interview workshops are offered by the Engineering Society during the term and can give you that extra edge you need to get employed. Second (and this is more for when you’re finishing first-year; it’s not that far off!), most of the time in your first-year courses, you won’t be told why you’re learning the things you’re learning, and so you might be tempted to forget them after first-year. DON’T. Pretty much every single thing you learn in first-year will be used later on in a different course. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a professor who reviews the material with you at the beginning of the course. If you’re not… well, good luck to you.

Anyway, I hope you are ready to start a new chapter in the beginning of your lives! Whether you’re feeling excited, anxious, or already feeling homesick, remember that by joining the Waterloo Engineering family, you are sure to be destined for great things.

Well then, let’s get started, shall we?