As an out-of-province student pursuing a double major in Studio Arts and Psychology my experience in arts at Concordia has been pretty unique. One of Concordia’s strengths lies in opportunities found outside the classroom.
One of the downsides to a large arts department that Concordia has is that there are many students and many sections of studio classes so you often end up with new students you’ve never seen before in every class. While this is great for meeting lots of people it’s also harder to feel that sense of unity and togetherness that I was expecting. So I suggest you join clubs and associations, add people on Facebook, exchange contact information, and go to events to build a network of people you can count on.
What I’ve Learned/Advice:
You can’t really rely on anyone else to check in on you to make sure you’re on track. So stay on top of your degree as much as you can. It will feel overwhelming at times and you’ll likely have to make decisions with limited information, such as creating a course schedule a year in advance knowing full well it will probably change. Also try not to miss your course selection date, it’s good to have your cart ready to go so you’re more likely to get into the sections you want. I wasn’t a fan of the course schedule builder because it didn’t include full year Fall/Winter courses in the Fall and Winter semesters, so I liked to draw out mine but it is there as a resource!
If you’re interested in something - a new opportunity, a project, event, or experience - don’t wait for someone to invite you into it. Do the research, show up, make it happen.
First Year Experience:
Being from Ontario, I chose to stay in Grey Nuns residence for my first year. I had an amazing time there and met so many great people I’m still lucky to call my friends. The only regret I had about first year was not trying harder to connect with students in my studio classes. I was very intimidated by the talent and passion of my classmates so I had a hard time approaching people. I felt like everyone already had their friends in their cliques and the atmosphere in critiques felt very formal. Coming from Ontario, I hadn’t experienced the same kind of art education that students who had gone through the cegep system had, it was all very new to me and I felt a bit left behind. What I’ve learned now is that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and admitting what you don’t know is a great first step towards growth and finding out what you do know.