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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McGill chapter.

For my final article of the year, I wanted to discuss some reflections I had on my first year of university as well as some advice that I would like to take for my next few years at McGill. I will be splitting this article up into three different sections: school, social life, and independence.

The transition from high school to university is an extreme culture shock. Coming from getting good grades in high school to having my grades drop at McGill was definitely discouraging and eye-opening. Although this was extremely difficult to deal with, it allowed me to realize what subjects I’m interested in as well as what study methods work and don’t work for university schooling. Through several classes, including my favourite, POLI244 (International Politics: State Behaviour), I was able to discover that the study strategies that worked for me in high school do not always work for university studies. I decided to try some new study techniques which include making a weekly organizer and making notes while I read in order to make my learning more efficient, faster, enjoyable, and more successful.

The next section is about social life in university. During the first few weeks of orientation and frosh, you try and meet as many new people as you can. You feel as though you are friends with everyone! However, as school and classes start, you quickly realize that the number of friends you initially had at the beginning of the year will slowly start to decrease. I realized that a smaller and close-knit group of friends is more appealing to me. On this note, I would like to mention that it is crucial to surround yourself with people with whom you enjoy spending time.

The third section is independence – a key factor that I believe is necessary for every individual and McGill student. Being independent this year has taught me that doing things alone and spending time with yourself is enjoyable. Although this was a difficult realization to come to, especially living in residence where I felt as if people were going out every night, I learned that having a quiet night in is often equally as if not more fun than going out. I learned that staying organized and calm is crucial as unexpected obstacles will always come your way but the ability to be resilient and solve those challenges is key. Although being independent is extremely important as an individual and as a university student, this year and the experiences that I’ve had has taught me the importance of trust. It is important to know that you can always have someone to count on, through the good and the bad, and living away from home for the first time this year has really allowed me to recognize and cherish the value of trust.

Writing this article has helped me reflect on both the good and the bad of my first year of university. It has helped me realize the mistakes that I’ve made and how to fix them for my upcoming years at McGill. Further, it has allowed me to recognize what’s important to me so that I could ensure that it’s present in my life.

Hi! I am a current first year at McGill University studying political science. I am originally from Toronto and enjoy playing sports, listening to music, travelling, and photography!