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Dear First Year Me

Read advice upper year students—namely those in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics—would give to their first year selves.

The goal of this page is to provide encouragement (in a fun and creative way) for the leaders of the future, through the helpful insight of those who have already begun their journey through university. Click on the profile to read more.

Vernie Aguda

Dear First Year Me,

There are so many things I wish I could tell you. University can be a big and scary place, but never in your life will you have the opportunity to experience more things than you can right now. These next four years of your life will change you in ways you never wanted, nor expected- and by the end of it you could still be just as confused and scared as when you started. Butthe growth that you may not realize has happened will be worth all the sleepless nights, river of tears, belly laughs, and exams that accompany it. Read more...

Ayeda Sayeed

Dear First Year Me,

Would you look at that, you’re in university (and in engineering too, how impressive)! But boy are you small. Can you even see the chalkboard over that guy’s head? Or that one? Or that one too?

Don’t worry. If you don’t catch part of the class notes, one of your engineering pals will be happy to show you what they’ve managed to write down. That’s something you will find among engineering students: a camaraderie that’s stronger than the coffee you’ll need to get through midterms. Read more...

Brendan Coady

Dear First-Year Me,


You have successfully made it further than anyone else in your family has ever ventured into the world of post-secondary education. This is a celebration, and you deserve it.

Your journey has just begun however, and as you take this first step, a few words of caution from, quite literally, an older, wiser, (better looking) you. Read more...

Holly Dole

Dear First Year Me,

You are all by yourself at this “big” university, in this “big” city, asking yourself, “Did I do the right thing? How am I going to do this on my own? What if I fail a class?” … am I right? Before you start panicking, I am going to tell you that, honestly, you are going to be fine. You are not the only one feeling that way. Just get out there, go meet some of the other students, and you will see. First step, do as many activities during 101 week as you can. This is where you will meet many of your friends that will help you get through the coming years, not to mention the memories, like engineering “messy day”, will be something you talk about for years to come. Read more...

Laura Alkhoury

Dear First Year Me,

You may feel overwhelmed right now, you may feel like you are the least experienced student in your program, that everyone else knows exactly what they are doing and you’re just lost. This feeling is called impostor syndrome, and even the most experienced industry members suffer from it. The key is to keep pushing! Don’t give up because you think you’ll never get there, plan your route and make specific goals: skills to learn, industry sectors to research, and books to read. A lot of important education occurs outside of the classroom, and it’s up to you to learn. Hold yourself accountable for your progress, but don’t be too hard on yourself – nobody’s perfect. Read more...

Shawana Habib

Dear first year me,

Get ready to experience the most difficult, exhausting and amazing years of your life. You are probably scared, and nervous too. You are in an unknown country, among people you have never met. It’s alright, you will be ok. No you are not weird. Stop trying to be “not weird”.

Remember how you always aced your exams? Well it’s not going to be that easy anymore. You will find yourself failing, barely passing exams. But don’t give up! Remind yourself why you chose to study engineering and KEEP PUSHING. Read more...

Daphne Ong

Dear First Year Me,

You must be both very excited and very nervous right now. First year is like that a little, but don’t worry, you’ll be okay. There is so much I want to share with you but so much you’ll have to just learn and experience for yourself. You are in for a crazy fun adventure, one that you never came close to even imagining that you would have.

You are about to have some of the best years of your life! You’re going to meet amazing people and make great connections: friends, peers, role models, and mentors. Some of those friends you just made during EngFrosh and in linear algebra? Surprise! They are going to become some of your most dearest friends, and remain so after graduation, but that’s all I can say for now *spoilers* (You’ll get that reference in a few years). Read more...

Mehrdokht Allayarkia

Dear First Year Me,

First things first, please, please, please do not dye your hair blonde. Not only is it not the most flattering look for your beautiful skin tone, but bleaching one’s hair is better left to professionals! Read more...

Sonieya Nagarajah

Dear First Year Me,

The Next ChapterLet’s start with the truth. The thought of entering your freshman year of university is exciting! But we’d all be lying if we didn’t admit that along with the excitement came an intense combination of anxiety, fear and concern. A new school, new friends, new home – that’s enough to start the nerves in anyone! But what some fail to realize is that everyone feels like that! Some may hide it, some may deny it – but it’s still there! And sometimes all we need to do is find people that feel the same way as us – people in our program perhaps. Read more...

Jordan Auzam

Dear First Year Me,

One word… balance. You can’t do it all – I am not entirely sure that you have completely accepted this yet, but there are only so many hours in the day and only so much energy that can be exerted. You did great in high school (yay you!) but university and an engineering course load is a whole new ball game – start preparing yourself for many hours spent being stressed and frustrated because you do not understand something. Get used to asking for help, because you are going to need it – whether the assistance comes from a floor/classmate, professor/TA or paid tutor, your pride is not worth your sanity. You are going to need to work your butt off to even think about earning a mark of 80%+… but I assure you that when you do, it will be worth it. Read more...

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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