Classes, Down time, Study

One Down, One to Go

Crazy as it may seem, this semester’s almost over! Classes ended this week, and finals season has finally arrived. If it weren’t for my impending doom, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it’d already been four months since I first touched down in Toronto. Amidst all the hapless cramm — I mean, conscientious studying, in a bout of productive procrastination I thought I’d take a look back at my first semester here at U of T.

Sulky weather in the 6ix, goes well with the finals funk hanging in the air.

Sulky weather in the 6ix, goes well with the finals funk hanging in the air.

The first week or so of classes more or less consisted of complete chaos on all fronts. Settling into residence, the never-ending stream of new faces (and the names that would take forever to remember), and adjusting to the lecture environment – suffice to say, it was a hectic experience. From there onwards, things seemed to settle down for a little while as the rigmarole of my schedule came into effect. Head into class, take notes, head to next class. Slack off in the common room during breaks. Wash, rinse, and repeat from 9AM to 6PM most days (shout-out to engineering schedules). It may have taken a while, but I got everyone’s names down, and all things considered, university life didn’t seem like the exponential step up everyone had made it out to be.

Then midterms hit.

From that first one onward, it felt like a non-stop rollercoaster of studying and exam-taking. There simply weren’t enough hours in the week to comprehend the course material anymore – if I didn’t understand it quickly enough, I was done for (and admittedly have barely scraped by in some subjects since). On top of all these evaluations, the difficulty level of my assignments seemed to skyrocket overnight. All-nighters weren’t a rare sight during the past couple of months, in last-ditch efforts to get my code to work.

More notes than I know what to do with...seriously, it's just not making sense.

More notes than I know what to do with…seriously, it’s just not making sense.

It was during this whirlwind that I discovered the true importance of setting aside time to unwind. Through self-discovery and friendly advice, I learned a few ways to keep myself centred at times where I would normally be all over the place. If I had gone the whole semester holed up studying and stressing, I’d have white hair à la Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Hyperbole aside, my grades might not be sterling, but (at time of writing) I’m still in one piece.

Assuming I make it through finals unscathed, I’m definitely looking to the winter term with optimism. Life as a U of T student certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park, but it’s been an enjoyable, worthwhile experience nonetheless. New friends, a new city, and a wealth of knowledge have made this semester unforgettable. I might be antsy to head back to Vancouver for the winter break, but a part of me can’t wait for what’s around the corner in 2016, either.