Let me start off my saying I made it through my first month of university! The past month was a struggle, but I’m glad I managed to survive. I discovered that university is full of surprises and learning experiences, and so many things that have happened are unexpected. I don’t know where or how to start this, so I’ll just jump right in.
For someone usually in the mid-80s range in high school, university is a completely different environment. It’s no longer 9am – 3:15pm anymore, I’ve ended up spending sometimes 9am – 10pm on campus. It took me the first two weeks to find where my classes are all held and figure out how to spend my time in between classes. I needed to learn to pay more attention to my professors are saying because I couldn’t just rely on the powerpoint – one of them doesn’t even use technology. I realized through the first few weeks that my high school note-taking and studying strategies are irrelevant to what is required in university. In high school, I used to write just whatever was on the board, now I type what my profs are also saying. I also realized that i can’t read the textbook in detail anymore – it’s just inefficient. I tried to read all the assigned chapters in the first two weeks, but I found that there is not enough time to take detailed notes on the assigned chapter (usually 22+ pages), for five classes by the next week. Now i’m sticking to just expanding on the material learned in class.
And with midterms…I completely freaked out when two weeks into university, three of my profs reminded us that midterms was in two weeks. “TWO WEEKS?! What have we even been learning for the past six classes?” my brain finally jolted awake and took in that midterms were beginning of October and not end of January. As prepared as i tried to be, it takes time to get the hang of the new university pace, and how it goes by a LOT faster.
What they said at the beginning of frosh week is true “it is guaranteed that you will experience failure here at university.” i’ve done three midterms and i’m sure that i screwed up on ⅔. The reason? Mostly likely inefficient time management, but more so inefficient studying skills. I had an economics and sociology exam on the same day, and studied so hard for economics, but completely understudied for sociology. I was upset that happened, but mom told me afterwards that I have to just accept it as a learning experience, move on and improve the next time.
Since I don’t live on campus, I make my own meals and do groceries by myself. Yes I technically could put in “flex dollars” onto my student card, but campus food is kinda overpriced and even I can cook chicken better than the $5 burnt chicken that people have to eat in dorms. Asides from the fact that i’m not around the rest of the first-years, life actually isn’t that bad off-campus. Especially when I’m saving tons of money on rent and no hella expensive meal plans. It’s funny because everyone else is telling me that they were recommended to live on campus in their first year to get comfortable with everything and avoid the hassle with living off-campus, but honestly from my experience so far, living off-campus first year isn’t that bad. I’ve always thought that i would be busy to the point that I wouldn’t have enough time to make meals, but that isn’t true, even when it’s midterm season. But again, i have to credit my parents for teaching me how to cook and clean, which are indeed two very important life skills. I do have to wake up at 7:30 each morning to make breakfast and lunch, but I’ve started to learn to enjoy cooking, so it isn’t that bad. Generally life off-campus isn’t too hard to manage as long as I put in effort to manage my time well.
Now I do not have to take the subway for an hour to Scarborough every Friday again after school, but I miss my piano so much for the past month. There are a couple of pianos, but they’re in residence, and I don’t live on campus, plus timing was usually tight. I finally realized that playing the piano was actually a privilege when I no longer had unlimited access to it. I was slightly annoyed that I had to practice everyday in high school, but now in university, I really miss playing it everyday.
I was originally enthusiastic about getting involved and joining clubs, but I learned that it’s probably better for me to start that when i’m more comfortable with the pace of university first. I went to the club fair and tried to go to the meetings, but because the first meetings were the week right before midterms, I went to three of them, but realized that I needed all the time I could get to study for my midterms first, after all, that’s more important.
Here are a few random things:
- Macaroni and peanut butter are a bad combination.
- Some places are expensive to live for a reason, buying the cheapest place is not a good idea.
- I had no clue that the colour of frosh shirts could actually lead to new relationships.
That wraps it up for this month!