First of the Last: A reflection on my first week in my final year

Autumn is my favourite season - perfect weather, perfect attire, and mysteriously the season when the best albums come out. But with autumn comes a new school year which has stirred mixed feelings within me over the past three years. But since I'm graduating this year, my attitude about coming back to school has been a little different.
Me sitting on the UTSU lawn with Hart House in the back.
My first day back was spent enjoying the fall weather and pretending to take candid shots on the UTSU lawn. (Photo courtesy of Michael Mousa)

There is now a definitive lack of apprehension about coming back, which may or may not be partly due to a case of #senioritis. In all seriousness, after not doing so hot in my first few years, the start of school always felt like a drag having to subject myself to the same suffering for yet another year.

But when entering upper years, courses get more specific and you have more leeway with choosing courses and content that you genuinely enjoy, which makes studying and excelling a lot easier. I’m taking some awesome courses this year that I’m really looking forward to. (Side note: Did you know U of T has a course called “Japanese Monsters”? HOW AWESOME IS THAT!)

An aisle in the Robarts stacks.
Readings have become so much easier because I actually want to learn about what I’m reading.

Over third and hopefully fourth year, I’ve thankfully gotten a hold of my academic abilities and because of that, I can explore other aspects of the U of T experience as well - aka joining clubs and organizations. I’ve already waxed poetic about my involvement with Global Brigades. The St. George Street Festival on Tuesday was great as I got to see just how many clubs we have here. I’m going to try and attend some UT F.O.L.D. origami workshops and the Outing Club’s, well, outings. I'm also going to attend different drop-in meditation sessions coordinated by the Multi-Faith Centre that are free for U of T students!

An origami structure of the Japanese cartoon character Toroto
F.O.L.D holds weekly drop-in workshops on how to fold really neat things like this giant Totoro!! I AM AMAZED

I’m happy to be able to get involved away from class but it also feels rushed because I’ve gotten to my last year before deciding to actively pursue extra-curriculars. I’ve wondered many times if it would have been possible for me to just dive right in during first year and if I would have been able to handle it all back then. I know some students who are capable of doing everything at once straight away and you have to wonder if they’re even human.

Even in high school, I feel like I followed the same trajectory of success, both inside and outside the classroom. In the beginning, my grades were poor, due to a combination of an environment transition and a poorly controlled social life. But as I got into higher years, I began to get a feel for my classes and figured out my own way to balance responsibilities and commitments. So I’ve never succeeded in school immediately but this is okay! Most other students feel the exact same way. Moral of the story: Give yourself the time you need to grow. Take care of your physical and mental health above all else and it will make your time at U of T a lot better.

A photo of me taken back in second year in Morrison residence.
TBT to second year me. I look a bit different now, with better glasses and therefore a better outlook on life (ha ha ha I’m hilarious, I know)

This year is also different because I moved out to be closer to campus. Stay tuned as you witness my struggle to cook innovative meals and the slow descent of my room into an amalgamation of dirty clothes and mismatched socks.

My drawer and the many things on top of it including a wooden storage box, a stack of magazines, and my potted plants. A random sock decorated with instant noodles is flung on top.
Recurring themes in my new room include: quirky socks, instant noodles, potted plants.

How are you guys enjoying campus/classes? What are some new things you plan on trying out this year? Let me know in the comments, tweet us at @lifeatuoft, or take a snap of a cool event and tag us on Instagram!

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