Friday, August 17, 2012

Letter to the FVAs: one week and counting

Dear FVAs:

We are now exactly one week away from Orientation Day 2012. Except that this time the Student Representative Council (SRC) has made it into an Orientation Week, like UNB-Fredericton, SMU and NSCAD (the school I'll be attending this year) do, along with other universities and colleges across the country. As someone who barely knew which way was up during her time as an FVA ('09 - '10), I'm kind of jealous of you guys. When I did FVA, all we had was Orientation Day, where we met our academic adviser (go Blue Group and Adam MacDonald!) and that person showed us around, where things were in the school, where the best coffee is (most NBCCD-types go to Read's), where Endeavours--another art supply store--is, took us to the basement photo studio where Photo Studio tech Jeff Crawford took our photos for our school ID (mine was one of my least favourite photos of me, due to the fact that by that point I was completely worn out and could barely muster the energy to smile), and then took us to the registrar's office to get tuition paid. After that, we had to be up and at 'em bright and early for class the next day. So while I appreciated O-Day, and the school did it's best to welcome us (thanks, Adam), it was far from the ideal welcome that UNB exhibited (I went to some of their O-Week events that year).

I have no idea what the SRC has planned for you guys, but I know it's going to be awesome--because NBCCD is awesome.

Once O-Week is over, the reality of college will probably slap you in the face. A word of caution: watch out for Week #3 in both semesters (the weeks of September 12, '12 and January 23, '13): once you're through the third week, you'll have a good idea of what the rest of the semester's going to be like. And remember: if you're having problems of any sort, talk to your teachers, your academic adviser or the counsellor on the fourth floor of Building A. Especially your teachers and academic adviser: they're there to help, not just shove knowledge down your throat (which is how it felt for me during the first semester). They won't bite. Promise. You'll also have a mandatory meeting with your academic adviser during the Fall semester. They'll want to see how you're doing, whether or not you're having any problems and help you resolve those issues, be they stress, workload, adjusting to the school, etc. Take advantage of their knowledge: a lot of the teachers have been at the school for ten or more years, so they know the ropes. Some, like Drew Gilbert and Karen Ruet, both of whom teach in the Photography studio and both of whom are FVA academic advisers, are NBCCD alumni, so they know what it's like to be a student at this school.

I wish you the very best, hope you won't get too stressed (but if you do, as my mom would say, breathe), and hope you'll survive to the end of April '13 and be able to say that you did. When the year is over, you'll have lots of stories to tell your friends and family--and kids, if you have them some day. You'll be bruised and scarred, but if you're anything like me, you'll be proud of every one of those invisible wounds. You'll be able to say that you can survive anything.

FVA Class of '10, Photography Diploma Class of '12, NSCAD Photography BFA Class of '13

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