New to Fredericton? This might help.

So, you’re going to start your first year of university at UNB, and you couldn’t find your way around Fredericton with a GPS and a flashlight…what to do?

Not to worry. Fortunately for you incoming first-years I’ve compiled some tips and important information that might make your transition from living with mom and dad to “Freddy Beach” a bit easier.

Let’s start with Freddy Beach…no there’s not an actual beach! You might hear someone familiar with the city refer to Fredericton in this way, and it has to do with the Saint John river that splits the South side and North side.

Fredericton in the fall isn’t all that terrible—a nice crisp nip in the air, gorgeous trees everywhere showing off their vibrant colours—and then comes winter.

When you first experience a winter in Fredericton, there’s a couple things to remember: no, it won’t last forever; yes, it’s typical for it to be so windy you feel like your face might freeze solid (we’re on a hill!), but it’s worth it because campus looks awesome during a blizzard.

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking as a student as well, unless you’re one of those lucky human beings with a car before 25. First off, get proper footwear for your sore feet, and yes you will slip on that ice just in time for that massive crowd of people to notice and then have panic dreams that night.

While Blundstone boots seem to be the uniform around UNB and are extremely popular in the Maritimes, don’t be afraid to break outside the mold and buy any other boot that will keep your face off the steps of the library.

An important thing to remember is fully checking for everything that you actually pay for when you come to UNB for your first year. Covered under your fees is free access to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery downtown, and it’s worth a look just to see Salvador Dali’s Santiago El Grande.

The art gallery is also right across from the Fredericton Playhouse, and if theatre’s your thing the Playhouse typically has great student ticket prices for high-quality theatre just a walk away from campus.

Other things covered by your student fees include the gym—and I know it’s definitely not for everyone and you’re not lazy if you don’t go! However, you pay for it anyway, so why not explore it once or twice, run on a treadmill, pick up a dumbbell or do anything because the Currie Center is a great facility completely open to you.

Even if you don’t go to the gym, we all know that physical activity is healthy for you and that staying on campus too long can give you red brick fever. So maybe get out for a walk, toss a frisbee or do literally anything that gets your heart pumping and you off of campus (Odell Park is always a great choice!).

It’s good to know that ultimately, university is not as scary as your high school teachers make it out to be, but it will still be a huge transition! You’re definitely going to meet lifelong friends and miss your friends from home, but you’ll also find you have new freedom to do a lot of things you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to study what you love and love what you study, but don’t be afraid to change that if that’s not the case for you either. You’ll probably all grow a lot as individuals and together as a community, so don’t be afraid of change—it’s the only constant—but roll with it and do your best while not judging yourself too harshly.

Appreciate the great people around you, don’t sweat the petty things (or pet the sweaty things), and remember to be grateful that you are one of the 6.7% of the earth’s population that gets to go to university.

Be smart while you’re here, but hey, have fun and be grateful for the awesome opportunity that is your first year of university! Fredericton won’t know what hit them.