My four years at McGill offered me a lot of first experiences: first time stepping in vomit on the metro (not mine, November 2011), first time I discovered a mysterious cat in my apartment (also not mine, January 2014), first time that I destroyed a clothes dryer (the fault was, unfortunately, mine. September 2012.) But, what did I really learn? Mostly, to watch where you step, to keep your doors locked when you’re making a tuna… sandwich, and not to put comforters in the dryer. Beyond that, here are a few other kernels of wisdom:
“Required” readings are optional.
“Optional” readings are for suckers.
There is nothing wrong with crossing the street or ducking behind a building or hiding in a garbage can to avoid making eye contact with an acquaintance from high school.
For the cost of a drink in “da club,” you can pay for an entire month of Netflix. For the cost of one drink plus cover, you can pay for Netflix and a bottle of dep wine and a family-sized bag of Doritos. Think carefully.
If you decide to live in the McGill Ghetto, you’ll have to dodge smashed beer bottles, ominously stained t-shirts, and discarded toilets in the streets on a daily basis.
If you decide to live further away from campus, you’ll have to deal with metro delays, bus delays, and the ubiquity of urban barf.
Sure, Chef on Call is okay if you’re in first year or only want a sandwich… But the best delivery service is A La Carte Express (alce.ca). Depending on your location, you can have up to 40 restaurants to choose from.
Contrary to popular belief, Faculty Advising is not an advising service but actually an elaborate performance art piece about the futility of bureaucracy. A memorable encounter was when I was told, without a trace of irony, that, “you can’t just drop-in for drop-in advising!”
Complaining about the weather face-to-face is a beloved ritual of Canadian life; complaining about the weather via Facebook status is absolutely unacceptable under any and all circumstances. Note for Americans: writing a weather-related Facebook status with temperatures in Fahrenheit is actually a misdemeanour under Canada’s Criminal Code.
There’s a loudmouth, pretentious person in every conference and tutorial. If you can’t immediately identify said person, then it’s probably you. (Sorry. It hit me hard when I realized this too.)
“You can retake a test, re-enroll in a class, or redo a semester, but you will never get to relive a night,” said a person who dropped out first semester of second year and is now…?
McGill is in downtown Montreal, a classy city full of grown-ups living their actual real lives. If you walk around campus rocking McGill-print sweatpants or pyjama pants, you are bad and you should feel bad. Where do you think you are, huh? Your parents’ rec room? A grade 8 slumber party? Queen’s?
You’re probably going to cry in Service Point at least once.
Essentially, over the course of my undergraduate career at McGill, I learned that university is a surrealist hellscape where only the strong survive. Oh, and a few things about political science too, I guess.