First Year Diaries

Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2021
First Year Diaries

Introducing WUSA’s newest initiative, First Year Diaries! First Year Diaries looks to showcase stories of the newest members in our student community through WUSA’s social platforms. By means of First Year Diaries, we want students to understand that they are not alone in their journey, and many others may be going through similar experiences. Simultaneously, this initiative also looks to bring awareness of the various resources and opportunities offered by WUSA that first year students can utilize. Join us over the coming weeks as first year students share their stories on WUSA’s social platforms.

To kick us off, we’re sharing stories from two new students who started their first at Waterloo last September.

Navya Manoj, a student from the Faculty of Health, has just completed her 1B term in Health Studies. Navya’s interests include hiking, doodling and volunteering at local schools and hospitals when she is not at her desk. At Waterloo, Navya loves her program, though she wasn’t sure what to expect during her first year. However, after getting to know to her peers and professors over a couple of terms, she feels as if the program was made for her interests and loves the sense of community in her faculty.

Now apart from learning, Navya is also involved outside of the classroom, as she works part time for WUSA as a graphic designer. Navya mentioned that she had come across numerous websites that gave students opportunities to get involved in the student community. Some of the websites Navya looked through include the WUSA and LEADS, all of which post various paid and volunteer opportunities. She adds on to say that “these opportunities can definitely help one get essential skills for professional development, while they simultaneously make new connections.”

Navya Manoj

NavyaAs a graphic designer, Navya has worked a number of social media projects including WUSA’s Annual Plan 2020-2025 and Winter 2021 Clubs Takeovers. She’s loved the experience so far at WUSA, as she explains that the work she does “definitely feels refreshing and creative.” Navya also shared her first year experience as “exciting and definitely memorable, due to the pandemic and the anomalous circumstances that came with learning virtually.” She continues to explain that she was initially worried about the inability to meet new people due to everything being online. However, after 8-months of virtual learning, she believes that “there are many opportunities to meet new people, and the only thing you need is your willingness to socialize.” As of recently, Navya has joined the Health O-Week Team as a Media Coordinator, where she continues to use her creative skills in welcoming first year students in the fall.

Advice she has for first year students includes making use of the online resources for students, such as WUSA’s website and University of Waterloo’s website which provide plenty of information on the transition into university life, and also show cases various events to allow students to socialize and make new friends. She concludes to say that first year is an experience that is “worth the hype and the emotions feel you in first year are almost identical to the emotions of other first years, so don’t feel that you are alone in this journey”

Isaac Brown

IsaacMeet Isaac Brown! Isaac just finished his first year in the faculty of arts, and is excited to have had recently made the decision to double major in economics and political science. Isaac explained to us that, as a student, his main hobbies have been “socializing with peers, enjoying outdoor activities such as spikeball and volleyball, working on my artistic abilities through sketching and painting, and learning about interesting topics around political science” in his spare time.

With such a dramatic shift in pace taking place in his life, especially considering the collective isolation of last summer, we challenged Isaac with summarizing his past year into a single sentence. He responded that “first-year was an amazing opportunity to discover who I am, as I was able to learn in an environment that promotes not only academic success, but social connectedness and personal development.” Isaac feels fortunate to have chosen to live in the Conrad Grebel residence. It is a housing option with a smaller population and thriving, tightknit community to show for it.

Many students coming out of high school feel a sense of uncertainty about how to best organize their time as a Waterloo student. Each hour is precious, something that becomes tricky when you’re suddenly given a degree of freedom few have ever experienced prior. To get some clarity on this, we asked Isaac what advice he’d give to his past self if given the chance. He explained that he’s suggest reaching outside your comfort zone and trying new activities. “Whether it is an intramural sport, a new club, or an interesting class, when you intentionally put yourself into new environments, you find new passions and connect with people who you would otherwise not interacted with.”


Interested in sharing your story?
Fill out the First Year Diaries form for a chance to win our monthly $50 gift card draw. All submissions will be entered based on the date the complete the form.


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