Adventures in first year university

Highland Senior Secondary
Comox, British Columbia

By Jennifer D., Jennifer M., and "Xela" (Grade 11/12)

Well, here you are in grade 12 and you have a major decision ahead of you. To go to university, or not to go to university? If you are planning to head into the big wide world next year, you may be a little insecure. But donít worry. University is no treally that scary, and there are things you can do to prepare for it.

Some of the things you might be worried about include moving away from home, living in residence, meandering through the red tape provided by university bureaucracy, or the stress of adjusting to a new way of learning.

One of the best ways to learn a few things about the university you wish to attend is to take advantage of the many orientations offered. You will at least be able to see where the majority of the important buildings are located, and get a feel for where some of your classes might take place. It is also nice to see the campus while it is not crowded. You will receive tips from second or third year students who know the ropes during the orientation.

If you are planning to enter a specific program, you should find out as much about that program as you can before you get there. Information is available from various faculties which have their phone numbers listed in the university calendar.

If youíre concerned about living in residence, you donít need to worry. The food may not always be considered edible, but you can usually find some form of nutrition you can cram into your stomach. If you go to UBC, Totem Park has a much much better cafeteria than Place Vanier. (This is not a biased paper!) The atmosphere in residence allows you to meet many new people, and get help from second year students when you need it. Take advantage of the cleaner, quieter atmosphere of the quiet houses and visit the loud houses.

Applying for university involves filling out a myriad of forms, which you should submit well before the deadlines by Priority Post. Submitting your application for residence early is especially important. Just because you are accepted into a university does not mean you have a place in residence. If your application arrives the day after they begin accepting them, you will be number 500 on the waiting list! Also, you should make sure you know all of the deadlines for paying housing fees and tuition fees. The consequences of not paying fees on time are not pleasant: being expelled from residence and living on the street is no oneís idea of fun!

Just because you graduated from high school with an exceptionally high average, it does not mean you are prepared for the rigors of university. You are sometimes expected to know things that are not covered in the grade 12 curriculum, and you should talk to your teachers about what you should cover before you arrive at the university of your choice. A few hours of study during the summer could save you days of stressful worry at university. (For example, if youíre planning to take chemistry at UBC, you should probably learn about the Ideal Gas Law before you start Chemistry 121.) You should also make sure that you keep up with your reading and take careful notes during lectures. Planning your time carefully by using a calendar is also helpful.

While at university, take time out for yourself to enjoy some of the many activities in which you can participate. There are many service organizations, intramural sports and undergrad societies in which you can involve yourself.

First year university is a stressful experience, but it is also one of the most marvelous times of your life.

A typical Monday at University:

7:00 (a.m.) Alarm goes off. Hit sleep for first time.

7:09 Hit sleep for second time.

7:18 Turn alarm off, slowly drag yourself out of bed and curse whatever it was that made you stay up so late. Step out of your door. Toothpaste everywhere. Obviously the boys from downstairs have had their revenge on your floor. Make a mental note to put Kool-Aid in their shower heads next week.

7:19 Arrive at shower...... fourth in line.

7:57 Arrive in caf. Breakfast diagnosis: disgusting! Grab a bagel and run.

8:25 Arrive at English. Forgot to do reading...speed through really boring short story.

9:20 Rush out of English so you can make it to Math on time.

9:28 Arrive at Math and listen to your professor with his thick Russian accent tell you how to factor equations.

12:20 Finished the rest of your boring classes. Hand hurts and out of paper. Time to grab lunch. Meat: unidentifiable. Choke down sandwich and head off to next class.

1:28 Biology lecture. Study ecology and look at cool graphs for an hour.

2:20 Rush out of Biology so you can go to your Physics lab.

5:30 Leave your Physics lab with a massive headache and head back to the caf for dinner.

6:00 Stand in line so you can get whatever it is theyíre serving for the special. Looks like some kind of chicken...maybe!

7:00 Start working on the paper thatís due for English on Wednesday.

10:30 Time to pack it in for the night. Relax for a while and plot your revenge on the brother floor.

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