Letter from the AMS president

Welcome to UBC!

I could start by saying all the cheesy things, like “Congratulations,” “Your time at university is going to be unforgettable, “The transition from high school to university is xyz, etc.” I’ll try to be as honest with you as possible, speaking as someone you don’t even know yet.

First for some context, I’m the president of the Alma Mater Society (AMS), your student society here at UBC. We have some pretty cool services, part-time jobs for students and hundreds of volunteer opportunities for you to get involved!

University is definitely one hell of a time, and for a lot of us it can range from a shit ton of fun to a shit ton of anxiety about a whole bunch of things — grades, classes, making friends, “Do these people like me or not,” “Will I get into grad school or not,” “Will I even get a job after graduation,” “Everyone seems to be doing co-op but I’m not doing it,” “Everyone seems to know exactly what they want out of this place and life in general,” “WTF is going on” and so much more.

The one thing I want you to remember is that you are not alone in thinking all these things and feeling all those feelings. A lot about how you feel at UBC will depend on which of these two routes you pick: university can be what you make of it or what it makes of you.

I highly advise that you choose the former.

I know it’s really hard and can even feel kind of cringe to put yourself out there, to try new things, to go to that event, to talk to that person in your class or in the lineup, to force yourself to do something other than just classes, to run in that election, to join that club and to truly believe that you and your time at university is SO MUCH MORE than just your grades.

You will have those bad days where you feel like shit, but feelings come and go, so let those pass and believe me, they will pass. But, make sure you don’t pass up opportunities to have fun, do the things that truly excite you and make you want to be here and be the best version of yourself you can be. The best advice I’ve ever received is “be whatever you want to be, just don’t be a beta.”

I am always here to chat or if you need anything, so feel free to find me on the third floor of your student building, the AMS Nest or email me at eshanabhangu@ams.ubc.ca.

Eshana Bhangu

AMS President