- Starting out your first year at on of Montreal's fine eduational establishments like Concordia or McGill?
- Here's everything you need to know about Montreal life, student life and more.
- Tips from a local veteran 👇
It's coming up faster than you know. That's right, it's the beginning of the fall semester at all Montreal universities! By now, you should have your schedule ready, your booklist prepared, and maybe, your first-day outfit. If you don't have that by now, stop reading this article and get that done!
You're back? Good. Now take a seat because the first week of university in Montreal comes with a lot of unexpected circumstances. Aren't you lucky that your friendly neighbourhood blog writer is a former student and has gone through many first weeks?
As a local Montrealer, I knew what to expect from the city. I knew less about the expectations of university life, however. You might be from out of town and have no idea what the city has to offer and that's okay! This article is for everyone who's worried about their first week.
Before I pour into this list, keep in mind that these expectations are based on my own observations. If you don't care about my opinion and want the public's advice, check out this article.
Let's get to it, shall we?
What the Hell is a Ligne Verte?
Montreal's metro system can be confusing to some, especially those who have no grasp of the French language. Getting around doesn't have to be complicated though.
There are four major metro lines that run through the city and you only really need to know two of them (depending on where your school is). The orange line and the green line (and blue line for French students) is where most of your university life will take place as most schools, bars, restaurants, and stores are located in and around those metro lines. Commit these to memory!
Montreal is a French city despite the fact that everyone in your rez is English. You'll find that out the hard way, especially if you're from out of town. Often, the language barrier is what makes people quit Montreal. It's recommended that you learn at least a minor amount of French to get by.
French lessons don't have to be complicated or expensive, as this list proves! Learn some basic words and phrases and you'll be fine.
There's More to Life than Downtown and the Plateau/Mile End
Many students fall into the trap of spending their whole university careers in these two neighbourhoods. There are plenty of other awesome neighbourhoods to discover in Montreal, though. Explore the city!
There are way too many places to eat in Montreal and that's not always a good thing. There's no need to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Pick a spot, preferably cheap, and stick to it.
Pick a Side... or Don't
Especially if you're a student of Concordia! You're bound to experience some kind of political manifestation or information booth walking around the campus.
Getting involved in politics can be a fulfilling experience but it can also be a terrible one. Montreal students are extremely passionate about politics and aren't shy about protesting. Choose wisely because people will assume your personality based on that.
You're Gonna Drop a Class
The first week of school should be treated as a feeling-out process for classes. Unless your schedule is premade according to your program, you'd be wise to pick at least 5 classes you think you'd be interested in because I can guarantee that you'll drop at least one.
Fact is, you won't enjoy school if you don't enjoy going to class.
Try Not To Party Too Hard
It's tempting I know. You're 19 years old, from Vermont and never had such freedom. But destroying your liver one week into school is no fun whatsoever.
Drink in moderation and know your limits before you wreck yourself.
Don't Fall in Love too Hard
Montreal is by nature, a very transient city. Because of this, it's tough to find a partner. If you don't focus your energy on love affairs, you should be okay but even the most loveless of us eventually find someone who's worth it.
My advice: make sure they aren't leaving the city anytime soon because you will be a heartbroken mess and bam, semester failed.
In terms of on-campus facilities, here's what you need to commit to memory during your first week:
- The library
- Program faculty offices
- Student union
- Medical clinic
Notes Will Save Your Life
Even if your professor uses PowerPoints, take notes on what they're talking about. Usually, what your professor says is what's important. Try not to rely on your computer to type out your notes - handwritten ones are proven to be more effective.
If you don't think you can keep up with your prof's cadence, invest in a recording device.
Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously! Your first week of university is a time to explore and try things out. Your first semester, even more so. Unless you have a clear life path in mind, take some time to find what you like. Don't make your life harder than it needs to be!
Hope you all have an awesome first week, Montreal!