SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online header. This one says "Welcome to University."

Summer Bucket List

Hey Marauders!

With summer just getting started, we thought that we would give you some advice about how to prepare for university. The stress can be difficult, but here’s a summer prep list that we think may help make your transition smoother.

Welcome Reps moving students into Mary Keyes.

Plan for your new room!

If you’re leaving home for the first time you may experience homesickness. If you do, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. It’s totally normal to feel homesick. It’s just part of the experience. A way many people cope is by creating a space that feels like a home away from home. Print out pictures of your pets, friends, family… whatever floats your boat. Buy some new decor or bring some special items from home and make that space your own!

Remember that you might not have a lot of space in your new room. If you’re moving into residence, you won’t know until you get here. Even in the same building, sizing can vary a lot from room to room. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that residence students are not permitted to bring their own furniture into residence and moving staff won’t move them.

Mac's Money Centre Piggy Bank

Start thinking about money

University is expensive and the thought of managing your money can be scary. However, there are a few things that you can do throughout the summer to help relieve some financial stress throughout the year.

  • If needed, apply for OSAP and scholarships. These are both great ways to help cover the upfront costs of things like tuition and residence.
  • Try to work a reasonable number of hours throughout the summer and be conscious of saving. You would be shocked at how much money you can save by doing simple things like drinking water over coffee.
  • Book an appointment with an advisor at your bank. We recommend that you talk to them about budgeting strategies and how to effectively manage large sums of money like OSAP payments responsibly. These services are free, and since it will likely be the first time that you are handling this amount of money, it is important to get all of your questions answered.  
  • Once you get to McMaster you can also access services that are available to Mac students! Mac’s Money Centre (at the SSC) is a money management resource that offers completely free and confidential money coaching and workshops.

Person hiding behind a pile of books.

Don’t over-prepare

We remember feeling like everything needed to be purchased and ready for university ASAP. This isn’t true. McMaster is really close to quite a few shopping areas and you’ll have plenty of time to figure stuff out once you are here. Try to save some of that planning for August so that the stress of coming to Mac doesn’t take over your summer. Dedicate July to having fun and making memories.

Photo of Patricia and three other people hiking. There are mountains in the background.

Don’t worry about making friends

Going into first-year, something we were really worried about was being lonely. There are ways to overcome this. It is frightening but trust us, it will be done. Remember that there are lots of people who feel this way too, even if it seems like everybody is super confident. If you’re worried about feeling lonely we recommend that you get involved whether it’s joining a club, volunteering, or getting a job. Just look at us, we got a job here at the Student Success Centre and now we’re friends! You would be surprised by how many wonderful people you can meet by doing something as simple as flipping burgers (or writing blogs) together. Mostly though, we hope you exercise some patience when it comes to making friends. Good things take time.

Photo of Welcome Week.

Get excited

You’re about to be a part of a wonderful community, so be excited! Check out different clubs you can join, get hyped about Hamilton, and allow yourself to look forward to all that is ahead of you. As much as you might be nervous, be excited too.

We hope you enjoy your summer before university. We know you’re going to stress and worry no matter what, but our hope for you is that you also feel excited and you trust that you are prepared. You’ve got this. Happy summer, Marauders!


Your pals,

Tabatha, Tory, and Emily

Welcome to the first post in a series from Student Success Centre (SSC) Academic Skills! The next seven weeks will include daily posts to welcome you to university and help you learn many important academic skills that you will need throughout your time at Mac. As we welcome you to university in this first week, we’ll discuss all of the things you need to do before September and what to look forward to this year.

Coming to university was a really special experience for both of us. We started cooking and shopping for ourselves, following our own budget and scheduling our own time. One of the spookiest parts of all this was that we were suddenly in charge of our own learning. No one was taking attendance anymore, it was up to us to go to class every day, complete readings and schedule study sessions. This difference was a shock to us. That’s why today we’re here to talk to you about a few different ways you can master independence!

When people talk about university, they throw around a lot of acronyms. Here at Mac there are so many new terms that it can be overwhelming. When we were in first year we found it very difficult to navigate campus and it was sometimes frustrating, especially when we would ask for directions and they were given completely in acronyms that we didn’t know yet. As a result, we hope to help you avoid this confusion, so in this post we will try to give you the gist of the acronyms and terms that you will need while you get comfortable here at Mac.

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