5 major pitfalls to avoid during your first year of university

Freshman year is a lot to handle. If you were my little sister or brother and just entering university, here are the things that I’d warn you about. 

1. Junk food

The university offers a lot of meal options… the hard part is choosing the healthier ones. Make sure to have a balanced diet (man cannot live on meal replacements, cereal, and bacon alone…). You need to eat vegetables. Real ones.

2. Depression
Many people face this in their freshman year. Sometimes depression is triggered by the drastic life changes, sometimes it’s the stress of being in a new environment. You may find that your support network – parents, friends, boy/girlfriend – is distant or difficult to access.
Make sure to keep the lines of communication open with people whom you trust. And be open and honest.If people don’t know you’re struggling, they can’t help you. Keep in mind that Glendon has counselling services in the manor that you can come to anytime. If you feel embarrassed about looking for counselling, don’t be. We all face hard times.

3. Lack of extra-curricular involvement
Many students miss out on getting involved in clubs and activities during the first few months of school. Then they mistakenly think that they’ve missed their chance entirely! It’s never too late to join clubs. Getting social isn’t just fun, it’s foundational for the rest of your university experience. The connections you make with friends, teachers, and staff can carry you through hard times, and even lesser struggles (e.g. looking for a place to crash overnight, getting a job reference, asking for lecture notes you missed).

4. Feeling trapped in a major
You always have a choice. Remember that. Many, many people change their major during their first, second, or even third year. Remain flexible with your program, plan ahead, and don’t feel pressured to stick with a degree that you’ve realized isn’t for you (I’m saying this from experience).

5. Being ignorant of campus services
York University has a ridiculous amount of programs, staff, and amenities that can help you in almost every aspect of your life. Don’t miss out because you don’t know. 

A final note: Don’t look at the potholes.

Although it’s good to know about these pitfalls, I think it’s better to focus on the positive in the long run. My driving instructor once told me “don’t look at the potholes… you’ll drive towards what you’re focusing on.” His point: focus your energies on where you want to be, rather than where you don’t want to be. That’s sound advice.
Ask yourself: What person do you want to become at the end of your degree? What career or lifestyle are you aiming for? What things do you value? 
The earlier you start thinking about the end, the more prepared you’ll be when it comes. 

Vision is a powerful thing.
Good luck!

A review of Mountain Bean Coffee

On Friday, my friend Annalise and I went to check out Mountain Bean Coffee. Here’s what we thought.

The deets:

  • a 20 minute walk south on Bayview from Glendon Campus (just north of Eglinton)
  • fair-trade organic coffee, smoothies, juices, sandwiches
  • price range: under $10
  • outlets and free Wifi

Service: 5/5

I forgot to ask for lactose free milk until the barista was already making my drink, but she nicely said “no problem” and frothed a new cup of almond milk. She even said goodbye to us as we were leaving. Needless to say, I was impressed!

Atmosphere: 3.8/5 Mountain Bean Coffee offers a pretty unique vibe. Sort of an “in-a-cabin-by-the-fire” feel. There’s a lot of wood slatting, dim lighting, and even a fireplace (truly). Music is played in the shop, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about studying there.

Menu: 3/5 MBC offers drinks and some sandwiches/sweets (pastries, croissants). On the downside, the menu is pretty limited. It includes: “Build Your Own” smoothies ($4.99), flavoured lattes ($3.50), and Blend’r smoothies ($7.99). One smoothie was listed as containing banana, spinach, dates, cacao powder, avocado, almond milk, and protein powder. Intense, right?

The Verdict: casually recommended For the friendliness of the service, the warmth of the atmosphere, and the solid offerings, I’d go to Mountain Bean Coffee again.

*Ideal for: after work-out smoothie or pre-lecture charge up

Where do you go to grab coffee off-campus? Recommendations?


I love: opening the Manor doors and stepping into coffee-scented air; walking down creaky wooden stairs and going to the counter of stiff-peaked cupcakes and Cliff bars (usually with Sarah Yu sitting behind); soft places, dark places, nice people. Nostalgia.

If you’re a Glendonite: Don’t forget about late-night Tuesdays at Lunik. Colouring, board games, beverages, other good stuff.
The photos in this post were taken by awesomer-than-awesome Denise! She posts her photos on twitter; you can follow her at @deni_dunea.

A sneak peek into Glendon’s glass wing [a scrapbook entry]


Gilles Fortin is the Executive Officer of Glendon College. While I’m not fully sure what that means, I do know that he’s awesome, and he represents what I love about the administration at Glendon. He puts students first and is always warm and approachable.

Thanks to Gilles, I got to get a sneak peek of Glendon’s new construction project. (In case you don’t know, Glendon has been designated the Centre of Excellence for French-Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education by the government of Ontario. As a result, Glendon is offering new programs and courses and building new facilities.)

This new wing is on the cusp of being finished and will be partially opened this month. That means that soon Glendon students will have new spaces to study, relax, and learn.

Mr. Fortin has been working on the project for the past two years, but the idea for the expansion has been incubating in his mind for much longer. “I’ve been at Glendon since 1982 and I can tell you I’ve dreamt of this for a long time.”

The main floor has an open entrance area, a 250 seat amphitheatre (Glendon’s largest yet), and new classrooms. Soon, it will also have a Tim Hortons.

Psst! You can zoom into this picture by clicking on it!

The second floor has an overhanging balcony with access to the amphitheatre. According to Gilles, the front section of the bridge/balcony will be a perfect place for students to wait for their rides. As a commuter student, I have to say I’ll appreciate a shorter walk to the road and bus stop!

Although we weren’t able to go to the third floor, I was told that there will be three more classrooms there, as well as an outdoor terrace. In Gilles’ words, “it’s right above the trees, like a tree-house.”

The basement will have an open study space, an art studio, a locker area, and a math lecture room with an extra long blackboard. The rooms are cozy and carpeted. Gilles said, “if you give the students a good space, they’ll take care of it.”

The new wing is an innovative and welcome expansion that will transform the Glendon Campus into a diverse patchwork of old and new buildings. Yet there will also be some continuity between Glendon’s current buildings and the expansion as the architect was inspired by several features of York Hall, even taking notice of the patterns of the brickwork. Gilles said, “There’s a rhythm to the new building that reflects the old building.”

Are you excited? Wondering how you’ll be able to get a look for yourself? Glendon’s annual symposium will be held in this new space. You can register on the official Symposium website or check out their Facebook page for more info.

Hope to see you there!