Juan’s Declassified School Survival Guide

Once upon a time there was grade 12 student name Juan. He went to high school in Kitchener, Ontario, and at the beginning of grade 12, he had his heart set on Wilfrid Laurier and their Languages studies program. However in October of that year, his Grade 12 French teacher had ordered a Liaison visit from Glendon College, and he fell in love. He wanted to major in French studies and was considering pursuing a career in education. The French program, the bilingual atmosphere of Glendon and the Concurrent Education program all seemed to good to be true, but he applied anyway. He was accepted and in September of the following year, he began his studies at Glendon, and he there decided he wanted to double major in Drama and French. He lived happily ever after.

Well at least I hope that last sentence is how my story ends, but obviously three months into University, I can’t be sure of how/where I’ll end up. I do know that three months in, and almost at the end of my very first semester of University, I am looking forward to the next 3-4 years I have ahead of me. If you want to hear a more detailed version of my “How I Decided Upon Glendon Story” check out this video I posted (P.S. How cute is the freeze frame of me?) !

So why did I decide to tell you this story? It’s because I know that right now high school students are getting their OUAC pins and that they’re now all stressing to the max about what university and what programs to choose. My first piece of advice?
STAY CALM. Okay, so a little counter-productive to put that in all capitals and have all sort of formatting on it, but honestly stay calm. It may be easier said then done, and I know that last year I was nervous wreck, even though I had good grades. I had a strange fear that something would go wrong (Murphy’s law and what not) and I would never be able to go to university, and I’d spend the rest of my days living as the troll under the bridge who eats people that try to cross. Then my sister told me one thing that I’ll always keep with me:

“You are neither the first nor the last person to apply to university. Everything will work out.”

And I realized that she was right. Any problems I run into, have probably already been run into and there will be a way to fix them.

However, being the realist that I am, I know that despite my ever insightful and wise words, some of you will spend the next year of your life nervously checking your emails, logging into OUAC everyday, and driving yourself mad as you await acceptance letters. If you’re like me, you’ll realize that you spent so much time dealing with the actual getting-to-university part of it, you won’t have spent anytime preparing yourself for what happens when you actually do get to University.

Three months in and what have I learned? One… for first year students, the question “How is your program?” is kind of hard to answer. I mean I’ve been in the courses I’m taking for three months, and half of them aren’t even related to my major. The reason why? For many students, first year is the time to take courses that fulfill the General Education/Breadth requirements that most universities have for degrees. Hence the reason that this French/Drama student is taking/struggling through a course called Heredity in Society (which is basically the same as Grade 11 Biology… there’s a reason I didn’t take Grade 11 Bio) and next semester I’m taking a course about Aboriginal Peoples.

However what I can tell you about the French and Drama programs is that I am VERY excited to continue my studies in them. While I’m taking very generic courses this year (Performance I and II and then Français Intermédiaire II) looking at the courses that are offered in Upper Years makes super excited. For example in the Drama program, and I am very much looking forward to the Shakespeare and Moliere courses they offer, and in French I hope I get the chance to take the Bande Désinée course among many others here at Glendon.

So that’s another tidbit of advice that I’d like to impart to you: Be informed.
Get to know the programs you want to apply to before you do. Check them out, see if you can get the list of offered courses, talk to students in those programs. It’ll help your decision and ease that transition a little more.

Good luck in your applications students. Remember that I was there last year, and so I know the feelings that you’re experiencing, the anxiety and fear that plagues you. Feel free to leave a question here, tweet me, or ask me question on Formspring. Also, feel free to ask my fellow eAmbassadors questions as well, they’re all super smart as well! :D

P.S. Brownie points to those that caught the Ned’s Declassified Reference in the title :)

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