Hardest part of university? Not what you’d expect.

How do you navigate when your biology tutorial is in the math building?


Now that I’m more than two months into my first semester, I’ve finally overcome the biggest transition between high school and university. For me, it wasn’t the increased workload or the fast pace that were the most difficult to adapt to. It was figuring out where the hell my classes are.

I’m not saying that the sudden change of pace or huge workload were easy to adjust to. They weren’t. But high school was like a self-contained little village, with every class confined to a single building.

My physics lecture and lab were easy enough to figure out- they’re in the physics building. My chemistry lecture, on the other hand, is in the arts lecture hall. My anthropology lecture is in the biology building. And my biology tutorial is in the math building. See what I mean?

Sure, I have a campus map. But there’s a huge problem with maps: they were designed by people with a sense of direction. If I’m lost, knowing that I’m in grid A-12 and that the chemistry tutorial is in grid C-33 wouldn’t help. If I had to choose between two paths, I wouldn’t be able to use the left-thumb rule to figure out that I’m facing North-East and must therefore head South-West. I’d have to use the “eeny meeny miny moe” rule.

Luckily, my sister Jenny, who has a sense of direction, is taking the same program as I am. Meaning, for the first week of classes, all I had to do was attach a tether to my sister’s book bag. There was only one problem with finding classes by following my sister: it only worked if I followed my sister.

Sure enough, after a physics lecture, we started heading towards our chemistry class. I stopped walking for a moment to put my calculator in my book bag. When I looked back up, I realized to my horror that my sister was gone. The safety tether had snapped.

Thankfully, after a week of following my sister, I knew that I had to head down the path to my right.

Or left. Or straight ahead.

I asked someone for directions to the arts building. “Oh, that’s just south of the library,” he said. That would have been really useful- if I knew where the library was. Or which direction is south. There was only one thing left to do.

I clung to a tree and whispered, “Leia… Leia…”


Hardest part of university? Not what you’d expect.

  1. Hi Scott! I’m a UW grad (B.Math), and your blog is bringing back some very good memories of my first year on campus! Best of luck, and keep up the blog!

  2. Hi Gayle,

    I’m glad the memories it’s bringing back are good ones :)
    Thanks for stopping by.


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