A year of firsts | Lesson #6: UBC: virtual edition

A year of firsts, or how I learned to stop worrying and love university

This is the sixth and final instalment in a series of blog posts by second-year Arts student, Breckin Baillie. He shares his experience as a first-year at UBCO, and gives tips about making the most of your university experience. If you haven’t done so yet, check out part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five of Breckin’s journey.

Hey everyone, my name’s Breckin and I just finished my first year here at UBCO. If you had told me a year ago that this year at university would have been one of my best years ever, I definitely would not have believed you at all. University felt like my Everest: this big insurmountable obstacle that I was fairly certain would chew me up and spit me out.

Chances are that some of the incoming first-years reading this may feel the same way — nervous, uncomfortable, anxious. That’s all normal, I promise, but there are ways to make the transition easier so you can make the most of your first year.

Here are some of the most important lessons I learned this year.

Lesson #6: UBC: virtual edition

Of course, the world changed a bit this year, and classes moved to an online format. As someone who learns best by being present in a classroom, this change affected me and my studying habits.

The best piece of advice I could give for online courses is don’t be afraid to communicate your difficulties to your professor. Many of your professors may be new to online courses as well and are going to be understanding if you find it more difficult to learn the material.

Lastly, make sure to take advantage of the many resources UBC offers to help students with online courses.

The Keep Learning website was developed specifically to help UBC students learn how to succeed with online classes.

The UBCO Library has access to search databases, subject librarians, quiet study rooms, and so much more.

The Student Learning Hub provides students with free tutoring, study guides, course-specific study sessions, and much more.

Student Services is a wealth of information about where to go to seek academic help. In addition, they were an overall beacon of support for anyone who needed pointing in the right direction.

Wellness Centre: Online offers the benefits of the physical Wellness Centre in UNC on a convenient virtual platform, including resources to manage stress and maintain your wellbeing.

First year for me was a year of ups and downs, and a year of so many firsts.

It’s important to remember that it isn’t going to be perfect. We all have down days. Stress is normal, so it’s okay to not have every day be fantastic. What’s most important is to not let those days be the defining moments of your university experience.

There’s so much to do and so much to experience—it’s all a matter of getting out there and making your first year the best it possibly can. It will be a year you will never forget, where you will make lifelong friends and challenge yourself in ways you never expected.

Even though we can’t meet in person, UBCO still provides opportunities to meet online. Check out our upcoming events that you can participate in from home, or learn more about clubs and course unions.

Your first year at UBCO awaits—go experience it!

If you haven’t read the previous sections, check them out here: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five.


Are you a student at UBC’s Vancouver campus? Learn more about UBC Vancouver’s Library, the Chapman Learning Commons, Student Services, Wellness Centre: Online, events calendar, and clubs.


Breckin BaillieAbout the author

Breckin Baillie is an English major, an avid singer, and a lover of dogs. He is currently in his second year of UBCO’s English program. He plans to continue his education past his undergraduate studies and eventually earn his PhD in English Literature, with an aspiration to one day become a university professor.

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