Tips to Enjoying Your First Year of College

Tips to Enjoying Your First Year of College

College is an exciting and nerve-racking time, with endless possibilities. Many are moving out on their own for the first time, and while this can be stressful, once you develop a schedule and routine, you will be more comfortable. Here are a few tips that can hopefully help you thrive and enjoy in your first year of college.

  1. If you accidentally close Microsoft without saving your work, type .asd into file explorer in “my/this pc” your work will be there.
  2. Instead of deleting a sentence you accidentally typed in all caps, highlight it and press shift and F3 at the same time.
  3. To protect your computer from viruses, avoid downloading PDF files that end in “.exe.”
  4. If you are looking for practice tests so you can quiz yourself, type in google “site: edu (the subject) exam.”
  5. I highly suggest studying your notes the same day you take them; this will give you a better chance of remembering them.
  6. Trying to find your way around the Grande Prairie Regional College campus is nearly impossible, and it will take you a while to get used to it. A little information that will hopefully help is that rooms that are in the 100s are on the first level, 200s are on the second level, and 300s are on the third level.
  7. Get organized in whatever way works best for you, because you are responsible for scheduling your classes, study time, extracurricular activities, and homework.
  8. Even though some of your teachers will not require attendance, going to class is very helpful.
  9. Become friends with people in your classes because it can be helpful if you need class notes, or if you study better in groups.
  10. People often study differently, so find the best place for you. The second level of the library at GPRC is a great location; however, if you search, you can find a few hidden gems.
  11. Use a planner!! If it tracks important dates, deadlines, and schedules, one on your phone works just fine.
  12. The academic advisers at GPRC are very helpful as they will guide you when it comes to classes. They will also advise you if you are planning to transfer to another post-secondary institution or desire to go to grad school.
  13. Last year, I devoted my time to studying and was not involved in my community or college. I learned from this mistake. While this may prove difficult at first, learn to balance social activities and schoolwork. I highly recommend you seek out the clubs and events on campus; there is something for everyone!
  14. You have access to many resources on campus. There are two places on campus where you can find free tutoring. First, there is the academic success center in the library which has writing and grammar tutor, and math and science tutor. Second, there is the on-campus friendship which offers free tutoring, plus potlucks every third Wednesday of the month and unlimited coffee for a small price!
  15. If you struggle with maintaining excellent mental health, GPRC students have access to free, confidential, and professional mental health counseling. If you would like, you can make an appointment with Dr. Katie Stabb, the on-site college psychologist. Or, with the “My SSP” app, you can get confidentiality text or talk to a licensed psychologist, whenever you need, 24/7. They advise you to set aside 30 uninterrupted, minutes to talk to the psychologist; however, I advise an hour.
  16. For my last tip, exercise is essential. I love that as a student of GPRC; you have free access to the gym on campus!

While the first couple weeks of college may be stressful and overwhelming, do not worry, almost everyone feels this way. I know I sure did. Try your best to call your family and friends from home, no matter where they are; however, be open to making new friends. In the end, be sure to use all your resources and help each other out.

Submitted by GPRC Ambassador, Heidi Benson.

“Take a Hike”… (With a Friend)

“Take a Hike”… (With a Friend)

Live life to the fullest. That’s my life motto. Try EVERYTHING. When I was young, I wanted to play every sport because I wanted every experience, I quickly found out that that was impossible, but it doesn’t stop me from being friends with everyone.

Well, that’s also impossible. But I do try to talk to, encourage, and listen to every individual I come across, and I know that’s possible.

Here’s the thing: college is difficult – heck life is difficult – but people and friends make it easier.

If you can find the people that build you up and encourage you, life’s journey isn’t so difficult. Find these people, but also be this person. That’s where intentional relationships come in. I don’t mean romantic relationships, I mean support groups – people who deeply know you and who you deeply know.

Yes, I know, making friends and maintaining friendships is hard and challenging.

But the benefit of two (plus) people building into each other is massive. When you think back on concerts you’ve been to, how hard it was to get your degree, you first job, you’ve done them all with people. My fondest memories are with people. The thing that gives concerts and degrees and sports so much meaning is the people involved in them.

Yes, you should be proud of the things you accomplish in life! Use positive self-talk to build yourself up! But walking a path bent only on looking at books, grades, or winning a sport game – is meaningless without intentional relationships. What do you achieve by getting a degree? A job sure, but when you have five plus years of experience no one cares about your degree anymore, they care about your job experience. So then what have you achieved?

My point is – We are never meant to walk in solitude.

We always need people. We should always be searching for those around us. We should always be building people up and encouraging them to do their best. Isn’t that what you want?

When I am struggling and someone brings me a snack or a coffee, it tells me that they see what I’m going through and say, “I see your struggle, and I want to encourage you to keep going”. This is being intentional. Look for the needs of others and fill them in some way. If someone is lonely it could as simple as having a conversation and asking about classes, family, work, or hobbies.

Life and College are already difficult. We need to surround ourselves with individuals that aren’t scared to love and kind. Be that person.

Today I challenge you to do something intentional for someone else. Find out a struggle one of your classmates, co-workers, or siblings is having and do something about it. Make them feel seen and heard. In doing so, maybe the consequences of loneliness, depression, anxiety, fear and suicide wouldn’t be so severe.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Christina Shantz.

Winter the Season

Winter the Season


Are you worried about leaving 10 minutes earlier? The winter season is almost here again, officially speaking. Time to layer-up and stay warm. I find myself leaving 10 minutes earlier because I either have to clear the snow off my car/driveway or just to beat the slow traffic. Whatever it takes to be on time. Some say there is no such thing as bad weather just bad dressing, I say tell that to the stars! The great thing about this season at GPRC is that the college building is well taken care of. The rooms are set at the right temperature, but hey, don’t forget to bring a warm cup of coffee… because you don’t want to miss out on all the juicy stuff in the classrooms. Just a reminder to always leave your parking permit displayed. It might be a blizzard out there, but the security personnel are always on duty.

With winter set to roll, we too must be prepared. With our winter tires rotated and our winter gear on, we are ready to take on whatever tasks may lie ahead. The fall semester is almost over. Are we ready for winter? With more snow and more schoolwork, I bet we are. On the bright side, Christmas holidays are just around the corner. Don’t forget to cuddle under a blanket with a book at hand, whilst we await this season. Stay safe everyone.

Blog post submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Nneka Nwaigwe

College Life Blog

College Life Blog

College life is your typical college stereotypes. College can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and exciting, all at once. I procrastinated to attend an institution for years after high school for fear of failure and choosing a career that best suited me. “Am I making the right choice?” “Is now the right time?” “When is the right time?” For some, it comes easy, as if they had known their entire lives what they were going to be when they grew up. For some, it takes years and some it comes at just the right time. From one student to another, let me say, “you are not alone.”

Once the decision was made to follow through with my education, and for my career, I was happy. I went to class every day; assignments were handed in on time, tests, and the course knowledge came easy. Then as the first month past, I noticed my motivation began to slip. I was making excuses for myself and lying about those excuses. I found the balance of school, work, and my own sanity just wasn’t there. Feeling tired from the defenses and shame within myself, I reached out to a counselor on the MY SSP app because I knew I wasn’t getting out of this on my own. What came to light after our 30-minute session was weightlifting. I learned not to think about my day in a negative way; instead, try and find something positive to look forward to. I learned to talk to myself with patience, to stop beating myself up for everything I was doing wrong and start to tell myself a positive as a replacement. Something that may seem so small but helped a lot was to pick out an outfit the night before or pack my lunch to relieve some of those added morning stressors. Not every experience is the exact same, but I thought I could share a little of mine with you in hopes that when you question your “why, when, where, etc.”, you know there are others just like you. So please, from one student to another, let us put an end to THE MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA!

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Shawnee Stanley.

The Number One Cause of Financial Stress for College Students and How to Avoid It

The Number One Cause of Financial Stress for College Students and How to Avoid It

Impulsive buying often makes students buy things that they did not plan to buy or even need in the first place. When I have bought impulsively without thinking, it was an emotional reaction that sometimes lead to excessive spending. I came to learn however, that most items like extra clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets, etc. are things that can wait. If GPRC college students learn how to prioritize material needs, it will help determine essential from non-essential items. An important question to ask oneself when tempted to purchase a ‘luxury item’ is: “This item is nice but is it necessary?” If you answer this question truthfully, you will find that you can live without it.

One way to prioritize is to first be attentive to your actual budget, i.e. how much money do you currently have in your bank account? It would be wise to not get into the habit of depending on your credit card given their high-interest rates. It would be better to simply not live beyond your means. For example, if a GPRC student’s income consists of either student loans, financial gifts from relatives, or income from part-time jobs it is vital not to exhaust these sources leaving nothing left for paying essential bills and necessities such as food, housing, and textbooks.

A way to save money in Grande Prairie is to shop frugally in places such as Value Village for clothing (hey, they have some good stuff for cheap!) and No Frills for groceries. If necessary, there is also a GPRC Student Services Food Bank.

Another option to consider is to become less materialistic in life. Try to find satisfaction in non-material things such as helping a stranger, talking to friends, enjoying nature, etc. This may sound odd at first but in time, you may come to know genuine satisfaction that can last longer than a material object.

If you find that your bills/expenses exceed your budget, perhaps it is time to seek some form of employment. Check out the jobs for GPRC students on the College website.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Makuashukwu Chukweta