The Carleton University Freshmen Survival Guide

CU in September.
The Carleton University Freshmen Survival Guide

To start off, congrats! If you're reading this, chances are you're a freshman who's coming to Carleton this September. You might also just be a CU student or alumni who's just reading this to fact-check me. Either way, welcome.

READ MORE: 13 Reasons Why You Need To Date A Carleton University Student

You're taking one step into the world of adulthood and pat yourself on the back for not choosing uOttawa. You've done something right already. With prom season ending and high school grads coming up, you're probably curious as to where you'll be for the next chapter of your life. Well, let me tell you: Your future consists of tunnels and Tim Horton's bagels. It's fun, though. Just wait until second year when you're old enough for Thirsty Thursdays at Ollie's.

Written here is a guide for all you freshmen who are eager to make a solid first impression during your first year at uni. You're gonna make mistakes along the way. Believe me - I can show you my bank account.

To make the most of that big first year, here's a survival guide, Ravens:

An easy way to break the ice and make new friends is to hate on Ottawa U

"Hey man, 'f*ck you Ottawa U', right?"

If you're from Oshawa, Pickering, Mississauga, Vaughan, don't say you're from Toronto during your discussion group introduction

No one will trust you.

For God's sake, you probably don't need those textbooks in first year

Especially new ones for $150. Imagine how much pizza you can buy for that money. I spent zero dollars on my last year of uni for books. None. To be fair, they're all probably available for rental in the library.

There's two lines at the Subway in UC.

Oh, and yes, you can get a sandwich and pay at both of them.

Don't let the amount of students taking OC Transpo scare you during your first week

Trust me, only a quarter of those people will be on the bus by November.

There's more than one silent floor at MacOdrum Libary


Tunnel etiquette: Walk on the right side and move to the left if a tunnel taxi beeps

Please just don't walk on the left.

Ollie's is for undergrads and Mike's Place is for grads

Obviously, you can go in either, but that's just the demographic. Oh wait, you're probably seventeen or eighteen. Guess you gotta sneak to Hull anyway, right?

Don't write long emails to your profs

They will reply with two or three words, guaranteed.

The best study spots are 4th floor River Building and the Quad and 5th floor MacOdrum (when you get a window view)

The prettier the study atmosphere, the better you'll study. No, not true. But your Instagram story will look fire. Real talk: St. Patrick's Building always has vacant rooms on the 4th floor you can use.

Oh, and dontchu go calling Richcraft Hall "Richcraft Hall"

River. Building. You'll impress your older Carleton friends.

If you're bussing in from Billings Bridge, get off at the gym during traffic

It's much faster to walk to classes this way.

Just because a class looks super easy on, that doesn't mean it's fun

Hate to be Buzz Killington, but there's a lot more to your education than getting an easy A.

You don't need a Macbook for university

If you can run Word and Powerpoint on your laptop (or even on a potato), you'll be fine.

The MacOdrum Library elevator is the slowest machine on the planet Earth

If you're able to walk, take the stairs.

The cheapest coffee you'll find at Carleton is at Rooster's

You will need this black bean water to get through the day.

Just because you have OSAP loans doesn't mean it's your money

You're gonna have to pay it back later, so be responsible. Like, if you want.

God gave you two reading weeks. Enjoy them

Back in my first year, I only had one reading week. Somehow, I am alive to type this post.

You can't use gift cards at the Pizza Pizza, Subway, Tim Horton's, etc.

They're not "official" per se. Oh, and you can't even use an employee discount if you work at either of these places off-campus.

Please don't wear your pyjamas to class if you live on res

Pretty please.

The fastest way downtown is via the O-Train

You can get on using your U-Pass. Taking the 4 or 7 downtown is just a headache, especially during traffic. The train literally zooms past so many stops and once you're at the end of the tracks, you're just a few stops from downtown.

People will ask if you're in journalism or engineering

It's just instinct.

There's a ton of outdoorsy places around campus that Ottawa U can't get

The Dominion Arboretum, kayak rentals at Dow's Lake and jogs along the Rideau Canal. You can actually skate to campus when the Canal is entirely frozen.

Buy a membership at the Mayfair Theatre

Just ten minutes away from campus, this vintage theatre offers memberships (just 10 dollars) that give you 5 dollar movies for a whole year. Much cheaper than the VIP Cineplex next door.

You have a gym membership included in your tuition. Use it.

Please don't be Freshman 15.

Don't worry about finding clubs, fraternities, or sororities

They will find you.

Yes, everyone mistakes Herzberg Laboratories for Heisenberg Laboratories

Same thing.

All the staff at CU are there to help you

We're really well-known for having a very supportive admin team. The people at the Registrar's Office are prompt and quick and there's a ton of other support offered to students. Carleton's always got your back. Don't waste the services.

Charge your laptop before class

Or prepare to fight to the death for an outlet.

It's OK to skip class

I sound like the worst alumni today. Oops. But, seriously. If you're feeling sick or stressed, take a day for yourself. The world will forgive you.

But don't skip too much

That has really, really awful consequences.

Pack a lunch

Save money, you're here for four years or more.

You might not get good grades like you did in high school

A letter does not define your intelligence.

Don't swim in the Rideau River. Don't swim in the Canal

They are not clean. Nice to look at, though.

Realize that uni is not for everyone

It's OK to change your mind, just follow your interests and, more importantly, your gut.

Wait a good week before buying textbooks

The lines are nuts and make sure you actually like the class before committing to it.

MyCarleton is a headache and it took me 3 months to understand it

I think I had, like, 100 unread emails by the time I checked everything. Understand and learn CULearn and all that nonsense in your first month.

Be prepared: You might not like your roommate

You'll get through it, but just because you're living with them doesn't oblige you to hang out with them all the time.


You'll thank me after graduation.

Despite its rep, Ottawa's not a boring city

I used to be one of those who advocated that Ottawa is the city that fun forgot. It's really changed over the past couple years though and is noticably growing. When you're living here, you're definitely part of something special.

You might gain a little weight and that's OK

Mom and dad aren't cooking for you anymore. It's normal when your diet becomes Kraft Dinner. Just don't get scurvy, please.

Look into studying abroad

You won't be able to do it until third or fourth year but it's great to plan ahead. It's an unforgettable experience and there's plenty of academic support out there for people concerned about costs.

And most importantly: Have fun.

Ugh, I sound like your mom. But really, you only get this experience once. Some school stress aside, this is your time to find yourself.

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