McGill Once, McGill Twice : Tips For The Incoming Student

By Preyansh Kaushik

Hey there! Congratulations on your admission to McGill! I’m sure the last couple of days have been a mix of excitement infused with anxiety, but trust me when I say that you’re going to enjoy the thrill. I’m sure throughout this issue of the Ledger and your orientation in general, you’ve come across great advice detailing what defines one’s complete McGill experience: join clubs, get involved with your department, explore Montreal, et cetera. While all good advice, I’m not here to reiterate the same. Rather, I’m going to take a different approach and tell you to ignore all that for a second.

Wait….what? Does that mean that all the other advice is irrelevant? Absolutely not. While they are all perfect ways to pursue your passions, I’m here to tell you that there’s no engraved-in-stone rite of passage to McGill. We get so tangled with the linearly perfect way to do things that we’re afraid of peeking out the bubble, exposing our vulnerable side to the world.

I didn’t particularly enjoy my residence experience. I met some great people through it, which I’m ever grateful for, but the need to fit in was predominantly present. I was homesick, fatigued, and moreover didn’t have any family for miles that I could fall back on. I decided, instead, to explore out of my residence and department and see what McGill has to offer.

I found a club outside of my faculty and residence that aligned with my passions and committed to it, which undoubtedly uplifted my self-esteem and led me to meet some exemplary people. I was so focused on having the perfect residence experience, because all I’d seen in the movies was the exuberant dorm halls being the cornerstone of a fun university experience, that I’d forgotten there was an entire campus and city with adventures waiting to unfold.

So I’m here to tell you to follow your heart because the McGill experience is what you define it to be. There’s no one way to do McGill. You don’t have to fit in to your rez stereotype, or your departmental culture. The only thing that completes your McGill experience is you. That’s what makes this university beautiful – individual personalities of different thoughts, ambitions, passions. So don’t seek out the bandwagon to fit in. Instead, step out. Explore your own alignments. Challenge yourself to seek your own experience. After all, you’re the only one that can define your McGill experience. No one else!