This week, I start my last term of undergrad! It’s so crazy to think about how far I’ve come and how fast the years have gone. This week, I wanted to reflect on how my first term of fourth year went, as it was definitely a bit different than other terms.
For me, first term of fourth year was taken up by grad school applications. Of course, this varies per person, but lots of students who want to go directly into post-grad studies complete their grad school applications in the first term of fourth year. Though I knew they would be hard, I wasn’t expecting grad school apps to take quite as much time as they did. Writing grad school apps, coordinating due-dates, emailing professors, and trying to gain relevant experience took a lot of time and mental energy, so it felt almost like I was taking another class.
Looking back, I wish I’d lightened up my semester a bit and taken less classes so that I could spend more time focused on grad school applications. I also wish I’d gotten started on thinking about my grad school applications prior to the term began. This would have freed up a bit of the time I spent thinking about what my grad school goals were and how I would frame them in my applications.
Another new aspect of fourth year is seminar classes. While previously I had larger classes, in fourth year I’ve taken lots of seminar classes, which generally have less than 20 people. Surprisingly, I found these classes to be easier in some respects than larger classes. The small class size meant that I got lots of attention from my professors which motivated me to work harder. I also found that there were less assignments in seminar classes and more emphasis on participation, which, though stressful sometimes, was a nice change. I also felt like seminar classes translated well to online school, as they felt more like in-person classes as I got to know my classmates and the professors.
Finally, because this is the last year I know I’ll be for sure spending in Toronto, I found myself feeling really nostalgic throughout the term. It’s so weird to be leaving a place that you’ve called home for the past four years, and so, I made a big effort this term to hang out with my roommates and explore the city (Covid-restrictions permitting, of course). If you’re in your fourth year, I definitely recommend making time in your schedule to appreciate your last year of studies in whatever way you see best!
Overall, it’s been a fun and nostalgic year that I think has prepared me well for the next step in my life. If you’re also in your last year, how did you find first term? 🙂