Week One of SSC Academics

Independence 101

Photo of a lecture room.

Dear Marauder,

I am so excited for you! Coming to university is an experience like no other. You might fly to a new country, live away from your friends and family, build your schedule, and/or make dinner for yourself for the first time. The SSC can support you before, during, and after this transition; this online orientation is just one of the ways! Tomorrow’s and Friday’s posts will introduce other specific resources that SSC Academics and Student Affairs offer. But first, what is university independence? Let’s talk about that!

To begin, I want to be honest with you. I learned in my first year that the decisions don’t stop once you have chosen which university you will attend. I decided to transfer to McMaster from uOttawa because I underestimated the financial burden of living away from home. This weighed heavily on me for a long time because it felt like I failed at being independent. Now when I reflect on this, I know that making this choice was also an act of independence. I learned so much about myself by making this choice, and it is now something that I am incredibly grateful for. If there’s one thing I want you to take from this, it’s that even though you are experiencing independence in a new way, you are not alone. Your peers are all trying to figure out what it means to be independent too.

Let’s hear from our global voices about independence at Mac:

Photo of a student.

Jayda Hunte (St. Lucia), Engineering

“I was very excited to come to Canada and be more independent. I was slightly nervous the first couple of days but after meeting a lot of people and realizing that they all felt the same way I did, it helped me to feel a lot more home. One thing that I learnt during my first year at McMaster is that university is a clean slate; it is a time to meet new people, make meaningful connections and just jump at any positive opportunities that come your way.”

Photo of a student.

Gustavo Chen (Brazil), Engineering

“I was more excited than intimidated. Before coming here I knew that McMaster had a really friendly environment. I was shy at first, but then I became more outgoing throughout the year and made really good friendships!”

Photo of a student.

Katherine Grace (Indonesia), Engineering

“It was a bit intimidating at first, however the fact that there’s a lot other international students like me made me think that I am not alone and I will show to myself that I can be strong and independent as well.”

Independence is about making decisions for yourself, forging connections, and using the resources around you. I hope that this excites you, even though it can also be challenging. Tomorrow we’ll provide more information about how to engage with some of the resources available to you! You’ve got this, Marauder!



Join the conversation: what do you find exciting about independence at university? What intimidates you?

Is everything I heard about university true? Will it be unimaginably different from high school? Will I really just be a number in the system or will people want to help me? Read Expectations 101 to find answers to these and other questions you might have.

What even is a syllabus? Do I really have to care about it? What is the difference between a lecture and a tutorial? Find answers to these and other questions in Syllabus 101!

What does it mean to be independent at university? Will I be able to relate to my peers and make connections with them? Should I think about different kinds of independence and how prepared I am for them? Think about these (and other) questions in Independence 101!

2 thoughts on “Independence 101”

  1. I can’t wait to live alone and eat what I want, when I want, and live with my rules. The only thing that really intimidates me is the money part, that I might not be able to handle the money properly. The rest of it I’m looking forward to.

    1. This is totally fair! I’m glad you’re thinking about these things already! Independence looks different for everyone, but you might find it helpful to look into Mac’s Money Centre, which is also run by the SSC!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *