Adjusting to university life: a midterm checkup

Before coming to university, everybody tells you how great your first year is going to be – how many new friends you are going to meet, how awesome the parties are going to be and how great it is to have so much independence.

University has definitely lived up to those expectations so far; I have no doubt I am going to have the time of my life over the next four years.

However, it seems that what these dear advice-givers neglected to tell us is that the transition to university for first-years is one of the most stressful experiences of life.

The week after Orientation Week was definitely a learning experience. While O-Week was all about cheering and activities, the first week of classes was when it occurred to me that university is not the same as summer camp.

First, summer camp doesn’t have all this academic business. As if trying to memorize where all your classes are wasn’t enough, we have something called WebCT. We were supposed to print off lecture slides? We’re supposed to do online quizzes every week? It can be very overwhelming.

Second, summer camp lasts for about a week, or maybe two. University, however, lasts a good eight months. It was the weeks after O-Week when it started to sink in that Laurier is my new home, and I began to re-adjust to this big change of living in residence.

Attempting to keep in contact with old friends while still trying to get out to meet new ones proved to be a challenge. I also learned that laundry doesn’t do itself anymore, that dishes probably shouldn’t be left unwashed for a week, and how problematic two clogged showers can be when you live on a floor with 28 girls.

It seems as though just as we got over the trauma of the first week of classes and the shock of no longer living at home, we had midterms.

I assumed that writing midterms meant I would get a week and a half off, and maybe have one every other day. You can imagine my surprise when, like many other students, I found out that I in fact had five midterms within the first three days of one week. I couldn’t even fathom how I was supposed to study for five midterms that take place in three days, but I’m proud to say that somehow, I made it through.

There is no doubt that life as a freshman is stressful, but I think the important thing is how we deal with it.

Our parents tend to tell us that it’s no use getting worked up over small things, and I think in this case they are right. Although we are all experiencing a stressful time right now, we sometimes have to take a moment and remember to breathe.

Whether it’s listening to music, reading a book, talking to a friend or playing an instrument, give yourself a short break from stressing out and make a little time for yourself. After all, it will all work out in the end.