Starting university is a huge adjustment to make on its own without having to adjust to urban living as well. Coming to the U of S from a small town can be both exciting and overwhelming.
You are going to be confronted by anonymity, but with that anonymity will come a new-found freedom. You won’t know everyone you see, like you do at home, but that will afford you the opportunity to grow and change in a way that you can’t in a small town.
The one sure-fire way to avoid anonymity, to not feel lonely, is to make a concerted effort to meet people.
Remember that first year is hard and lonely for almost everyone. You are not alone when you feel that your courses are overwhelming or that there is no way you’ll pass your midterm. Talk to the person next to you in class. Chances are, they’ll feel exactly the same way and you might get a study buddy out of the deal.
Tips from Other Small Town Students
- It's ok to be overwhelmed! Class sizes are large, especially in first year courses. Know that there are a lot of people feeling the same way. As you specialize more, your classes will get smaller.
- Go to orientation. You will meet people in the same program area as you and will most likely find someone who is in some of your classes. Meet up with that person on your first day of classes and you could have a friend right quick!
- Get involved somewhere. There are endless student groups and volunteering opportunities available to you. Do a little searching on PAWS or the usask website. Something that sparks your interest should come up.
- Take advantage of help services. Stop by the front desk at the SLS staff office. Visit Math and Stats Help or Writing Help. Check out the USSU services. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Someone will have the answer you need.
- Don't hesitate to call home and visit. But don't make going home your choice every weekend. If you never stay in the city, you won't have the opportunity to socialize and develop friendships outside of class.
- Consider living in a dorm, or at least with roommates. This is a great way to develop a friend base.
- Make friends with Google Maps! Endeavour to familiarize yourself with Saskatoon. Knowing where things are and how to get to them makes your life easier.
- Many students face the same challenges, and have a horrible transition into their classes. It's ok to be honest with each other, and discuss the difficulties no matter how insignificant you think they are. Suffering alone is the worst thing you can do because you convince yourself you're the only one struggling. It's surprising how many people open up and help each other out once they admit they feel helpless.
- Remember why you're in University. Learn to balance your University and social life early on. Don't wait until end of term to find out you're socializing too much.