Mount Allison has a wealth of services and resources to help students succeed, but first year students are sometimes hesitant to ask for help or are not sure where to find it.

If your student is struggling academically, encourage them to:

  • attend all classes and listen carefully to the professor
  • use a calendar or agenda to track tests, assignments, projects, and exams
  • schedule in social activities
  • take good notes and review them regularly
  • set realistic academic expectations
  • speak to their professors if they have questions or concerns about a course
  • get to know the library and the many resources it offers
  • meet with their academic mentor if they are living in residence
  • speak with an academic advisor
  • get a tutor if necessary
  • consider reducing their course load

Common first-year feelings and behaviours

Though each student’s experience is different, here are some of the common feelings and behaviours students may experience in first year.

  • Excitement and potential fears about the transition to university
  • Social networks begin forming and adjustment to campus life
  • Homesickness may occur
  • Possible testing of new limits and boundaries


  • Residence relationships grow stronger (and sometimes more tense!)
  • Consequences of life decisions felt (“Are these choices working?”)
  • Mid-term exams begin
  • Planning living arrangements for next year


  • Mid-term grades returned and reactions to grades
  • Cold and flu season begins
  • Potential pressure/procrastination with course-work and exams ahead
  • Fall Study Break


  • Preparations and likely stress over final exams
  • Anticipating going home (or not) for the holidays— may want to assert a new personality with family (“I’m different now”)


  • New Year’s resolutions – may attempt a “fresh start”
  • Excitement or possible disappointment over first-term grades
  • Happy or sad to return to campus and routine; possible homesickness


  • Winter weather may affect moods and motivation level
  • First round of mid-terms start
  • Independent study week offers time to recharge, refocus, or catch up
  • Winter Study Break


  • Planning summer employment
  • Academic stress may increase with mid-terms and deadlines


  • Potential stress over final exams
  • Excitement or concerns about summer plans and/or returning home
  • Potential sadness over losing touch with friends over summer