A smart start to university life

Smart Start guides Josh Bowslaugh, Melissa Austin and Taylor Magee will be helping new Brock students get acquainted with campus life.Don’t be alarmed Monday by all the people walking backwards on campus.Though they may appear to be facing the wrong way, they’re actually leading hundreds of new Brock students in the right direction. They’re the guides for Smart Start, the program meant to help incoming students get acquainted with university life before the start of school, which kicks off next week.So far, 2,500 future Badgers – about 80 per cent of first year students – have signed up to learn how to find their way around campus, get their Student ID cards, arrange class schedules and feel a little more at ease about the transition to campus life.“University is so overwhelming and different from high school, you can’t have anything go amiss,” said Taylor Magee, a fourth year political science student and Smart Start team leader. “Smart Start is a great way to ensure nothing goes amiss. Once you do Smart Start, all you have to do is come to class in September.”The program doesn’t just set students’ minds at ease about what’s ahead. About 3,000 guests, mostly parents and family, have also signed up for the orientation. Many lament never having had such a service themselves when they were in school. Others, particularly those from Niagara, who may already be familiar with the campus, appreciate seeing another side of Brock.“I’ve had a lot of local parents say, “We’ve come here for swimming lessons but we’ve never seen the academic side of it,” said fellow team leader Melissa Austin, who’s going into her fourth year of speech and language science.Smart Start and all its merits are an easy sell for many of the guides, Austin noted. Most participated themselves when they were starting university.For those guides who didn’t, they’re now seeing what they missed – and, in hindsight, it’s a lot, said team leader Josh Bowslaugh, whose first day at Brock was when he moved in to residence.“The acronyms of the buildings — it was the little things that you learn with Smart Start that I didn’t know in my first year that I would have wanted to know,” the fourth year kinesiology student said.Smart Start runs until Aug. 10. The cost to participate is $45 per student and $15 per guest, a fee that includes lunch and parking. Money raised from registration fees is used to sustain the program.For more information or to register, visit Smart Start online or call 905-688-5550, ext. 3810.

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