With the first week of classes just over a month away I have been reflecting on my first two years at University. I realized that I have changed so much since my first year. I have learned more than I ever and have gained so many valuable lessons and experiences. Therefore, I thought I’d share with you the lessons I learned the hard way and wished I had known before starting university.
- It’s not like the movies. Your university experience will be far from what the college movies you’ve been watching have portrayed it to be. No, not all will be “Pitch Perfect”, but don’t worry nothing will be as horrific as “the Roommate”. In fact, the majority of your time will be quite mundane and sometimes rather dull. If you are in search of crazy frat parties, campus drama, or crazy romance U of T is not the place to look. For me, the biggest nerd you will meet, this was a relief as I wanted to stay away from the stereotypical college experiences as much as possible.
- Friends will come and go. As soon as orientation week starts you will be thrown into endless hours of socializing. During this time you will make a lot of new friends but as soon as classes begin it will feel as if everyone has disappeared. Do not fret. This is completely normal. The truth is that friends come and go throughout your university experience mainly because there are just so many people here that you will form different connections with so many people, but also because people change and so will you. For me, I made a lot of friends in the same college as me, who also happened to be in the same program (Life Sciences) because not only would we see each other during classes but also during our dining hall’s meal times. Although, those people are still some of my closest friends, I realized that reaching out and making connections with a variety of people from different colleges and programs has expanded my social circle so much. Even if old friends lose touch, don’t worry–this gigantic university will continue to offer chances to meet so many more amazing people!
- You will face failure. A lot of it. Everyone here at U of T was most likely an amazing student during high school; easily achieving straight As, being the teachers’ favourite student, and perhaps receiving multiple scholarship upon graduation. However, as soon as university begins, most people including me, realize that those As will not come easy this time. I, like many U of T students, have faced so many disappointments that I have considered giving up and switching to a different university. Perhaps it was getting a horrible grade despite hours of studying, or not understanding a concept regardless of how much you read about it—we can all agree that university is not easy. But you will also learn the importance of determination and soon your hard work will pay off.
- Your dreams will change and so will you. Like many life sci students, I too thought that I would one day go to medical school. However, after taking first-year science classes I realized that was the last thing I wanted to do. Many people experience the same thing. Some realize that they have no interest in the field of study they initially chose, some will find that the future career they are pursuing is probably not worth it, while others discover a completely different path they feel passionate about. This is completely okay, and quite good as one should always be open to change. Even now I do not know what I want to do in the future but I am open to what ever comes my way.
I hope these few words of advice prove to be helpful for you. No matter what, everyone will have their own share of lessons during university and this is what makes the entire experience so life changing as it is a chance to take risks, change, and grow.
Until Next Time!