I had my last meeting yesterday. I had my last exam yesterday. I’m doing my last shift at the GCSU office. I’m all packed up. First year is done.
I was trying to think of a defining word or theme for this “end-of-first-year” post. All I could think was how challenging it was. Your first year of university is challenge. However, something being a challenge doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
Being in first year challenges…
… you to start again.
For the majority of students, you won’t know many, if any people at all going to your university; especially if you’re moving cities. Having to start anew can be a scary thing. It can be intimidating especially if you’re so comfortable in your own realm of reality. But it is exciting; getting a new group of friends, learning about so many different cultures and different type of places. You get have so many new adventures and make so many new memories with people that you may not have ever met before.
… you to be independent.
You have to make the effort to go to class, do your readings, and do your work; more than in high school. For first year that can prove to be very overwhelming for students; a lot of students feel stressed out… but the important thing to remember is that this is normal; all students feel very stressed but it’s a learning curve. You quickly learn how to balance your life academically, socially and extracurricularly.
… you to value your time.
During the school year, you’ll find that you have a lot of “free time” as opposed to high school; by that I mean there’s going to be more time where you don’t HAVE to be anywhere; you don’t have class, you don’t have work; my drama professor called it “no-name time.” However, you quickly learn that while you may not HAVE to be anywhere at any specific time, you do have a lot to do! There will always be readings, essays to right, research to conduct, tweets to read, facebook messages to respond to, conversations to have; so you quickly learn how valuable your time is. You don’t want to waste any of it! And even if you’re procrastinating, you’ll be doing it because you know that you have a lot to do. There’s always SOMETHING to do; even if it’s just coffee with a friend.
… to make new friends!
As I said in the first one, you need to be prepared to meet new people; with that comes new friends! Friends that you’ll have a special connection with. The friends that you pulled all nighters with, whether it was watching TV shows, movies or writing essays. The friends on residence, that you see everyday, morning, afternoon and night. The friends that you have all three meals left. The friends that wake you up in case you doze off in class (NB: don’t do this. Not a good idea.) The friends that teach you what they’re learning in their classes; i.e. my friend Krysta is learning American Sign Language at Keele and started to teach me some of the basics and now I’m planning on learning more this summer!
In short, first year of university is a challenge; it’s a completely different environment than high school or the “real world.” It can also be one of the greatest years of your life. Take on the challenge with an open mind and an excited heart.
So it’s with the end of the 2011-2012 Fall/Winter school year, that I say to all you #GL2016 future Lionhearts; Nous sommes prêts pour vous. We’re ready for you. Take the challenge.