While starting university is an exciting and effervescent experience, it is undeniably overwhelming. You have more than enough voices telling you that it’s going to be the best time of your life, coupled with an onslaught of daily notifications from a confusing amount of university-affiliated websites. There’s this rush of freedom, but also a complete shift in the lifestyle and routine you’ve crafted over the years. In the chaos of all this thrilling newness in your life, there will be an inevitable pull to engage with the new people and enticing ideas being presented to you.

A new environment presents new situations from which to learn and grow—with university particularly challenging you to become an opinionated, political, and thoughtful person. You are going to be surrounded by like-minded people at Vic and UofT, in your classes and amongst your friends. You will share your opinions with others and learn more about yourself in doing so. Everyone is here to find their stride at their own pace; there are no rules for your growth. Each day will present the chance to think critically about the world, people, school, and yourself. You will be able to speak about your passions to strangers and bounce ideas off people you trust. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll be given the chance to listen. There is much to gain from listening; you can absorb what is being presented by others, form your thoughts, and use this knowledge going forward—it’s what you are here to do.

At this point I am at severe risk of sounding like the kind of banner phrase that’s been pitched to you by many outlets in your life (parents, social media, and the university itself). However, if you take away anything from this article, take this; never lose your excitement for being here. In my own case, I have the people this place cultivates, the people I’m surrounded by at university, to thank for the way I look at the world today. The experiences that lie ahead of you will always be fresh and exciting, despite the difficulties that will arise with this new step. It may not be the best time of your life, but it will certainly be one of the most enriching times for your personal growth.

Our writers and editors have compiled articles that are sure to come in handy in the weeks following. The topics in this issue vary from how to get involved, to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in this new environment, to the psychology of studying in university. Take each day in stride, analyze all of it, and spend time listening. UofT’s mini-universe is waiting to hear what you and your peers have to contribute. The masthead is looking forward to the opinions, perspectives, and ideas of students gracing The Strand’s pages this coming year.