The First Year University Experience: A Month by Month Breakdown

By Nipissing University 


  • First year is filled with excitement.
  • Testing new-found freedom.
  • Information overload.
  • Homesickness and loneliness.
  • Anxiety about roommates, professors, classes, assignments.


  • Roommate problems may begin to develop.
  • Asking questions such as “Do I fit in?” and “Is university really for me?”
  • Mid-term exam stress.
  • Excitement and anxiety about coming home for reading week & Thanksgiving.


  • Assignments and mid-term marks are returned.
  • Financial concerns.
  • Cold and flu season begins.
  • Stressing over final exams.
  • Excitement and anxiety regarding going home for the holidays. There’s an “I’ve changed” mentality and wanting to maintain newfound freedoms while at home.


  • Sense of a fresh start. New year, new classes, new goals, and objectives.
  • Many students receive a “reality check” when it comes to academics so they may feel the need to buckle down and work harder.
  • Homesickness may set in again.
  • Additionally, some students may feel relief being away from home and back at school.


  • “Winter blahs” may start to set in, which has the potential to cause depression and increase alcohol consumption.
  • Also, time to re-assess academic and social commitments.


  • Anxiety about roommate selection for next year.
  • Concern over summer employment and living arrangements.  Sadness over leaving new friendships and relationships developed over the academic year.
  • Realization of how quickly university years will pass and the importance of every decision.

Excerpted from Nipissing University’s “The First Year Experience – A Guardian’s Quick Guide”.  Reproduced with the permission of Nipissing University Office of Student Development and Services and Nipissing University Residence and Conference Services.

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