If I could go back in time to give myself some advice about university, there are many things I would tell my 18-year-old self.

1. Don’t Overwork Yourself

In my final years of high school, I tried to do it all, balancing school, sports, a part time job, and a social life all at the same time. If I could go back, I would spend less time trying every extracurricular and more time making memories with my friends.

2. Don’t Sign Up for Too Many Courses

Just because a degree CAN be completed in 4 years doesn’t mean everyone follows this timeframe. Personally, taking five courses a semester and working was challenging, and I wish that I had taken a lighter workload in the fall and winter and taken advantage of summer or open learning courses.

3. How to Meal Plan & Prep

I wish I had learned more about how to plan, prepare, and budget for my meals before university. This would have saved me a lot of money from eating out, and a lot of time making only one grocery trip a week.


Plan how much to spend on food. Average cost is about $250-$300/month. You can also check to see what food is on sale that week with digital flyers on a grocery app (ex. PC Optimum) to bring down costs.

Meal Planning

In this step you decide what meals you want to eat that week. Think of the meals you like to eat (ex. burgers) and put the ingredients on your grocery list (ex. buns, tomatoes, burger patties, etc.)

Meal Prep

Set aside some time to prepare your food and ingredients for the week. this may involve cutting veggies to quickly add to meals later or cooking a batch of food to keep in the fridge. Depending on your available freezer space, you can also freeze your meals for later.

4. Choose Your Professors Wisely

I wish someone told me that sometimes you can choose your professor for a course. Often, certain teaching styles work better for some students, so it is helpful to find out information such as if they do a lot of class discussions or if they have regular quizzes. Nothing’s worse than getting a professor that doesn’t work for your learning style and it’s too late to switch!

5. There Are Multiple Ways to Get Textbooks

The Book Store

New and used books are sold and rented at the TRU bookstore. They also have a buyback program to you can sometimes sell your textbooks back to them.

The Library

Many class reading materials can be borrowed from the library in the House of Learning. Class materials may also be on reserve, where loan periods for physical books are 2 hours, 1 day or 3 days. There are also many resources available digitally in the library data base.

Buy and Sell Groups

Many fellow students will sell their used textbooks on platforms such as Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. If buy your books this way, always make sure to check the edition of the book for sale matches the book for you class, and make sure you class doesn’t require an online activation code from the textbook.

This advice may not work for everyone, and no matter the path you choose, there will be growing pains as you transition to university. But hopefully through this blog, you learned something new about how to prepare for university life.

If you have more questions or want some advice about what it’s like to be a TRU student, check us out on Instagram @trufuturestudents, or make an appointment with a Future Student Advisor here.

By Student Recruitment Assistant Intern Jenny, Bachelor of Business Administration Graduate, “What I Wish I Knew Before University”, July 21, 2023

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