Lessons of First Year - Macleans.ca

Lessons of First Year

I worried that I would somehow end up drinking coffee. And enjoy it.


It’s hard to believe that my first year of university is almost over.

Five of my courses are finished. I don’t have any more labs or tutorials. Only two more exams sit between me and summer vacation.

I still remember how I felt last summer when I was leaving high school forever and heading toward university. Before I started my first semester in September, there were all the Big Fears.

Like worrying that university courses would be impossibly difficult. Or that university physics would be 10 times worse than grade 12 physics. Or that after becoming a university student, I would somehow end up drinking coffee. And enjoy it.

Looking back, there wasn’t any reason to be scared of university.

Okay, come to think of it, those last two fears did come true.

There were also the Stupid Little Fears. Like worrying that I would get lost on the gigantic campus (which did happen). Or that when I would sit down to write my first-ever university mid-term, I would realize in a moment of horror that I was screwed: my out-dated high school studying habits would have to adapt if I wanted to get good marks.

Actually, that also happened.

The Big Fears turned out to be No Big Deal. University courses aren’t impossibly difficult. If you do the readings and take good notes, you’ll do fine. As for the Little Stupid Fears, well, most of them are true.

As someone who has absolutely no sense of direction, the University of Waterloo campus was like a labyrinth of identical-looking buildings. With too many people riding bicycles.

And your study habits from high school do need to evolve.

But you get past those Stupid Little Fears within a week. I don’t get lost on my way to lectures anymore. And after writing two batches of mid-terms and final exams, my high school study habits have adapted.

I just try not to think about that first chemistry test too much.

– photo courtesy of waferboard