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Five Things I Learned After my First Year of University

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

After finishing my first year of university, I want to reflect on what I learned as a freshman. For context, I went to a university that was eight hours away from my hometown, in an unfamiliar city where I knew no one.

MAking true friends is hard

In my first week on campus, living in residence and attending class, it felt like I had to become friends with every person I encountered. I believe in giving everyone a chance in becoming your friend, but I also don’t like forcing connections. I connected very easily with some people and made genuine friendships. Others simply became classroom friends, and the friendship never became more than that. I blame myself for not making more friends in my first year, but over the last couple of years, I’ve realized that I value close friends more than multiple distant ones.

Career and school plans might change

After my first semester studying communications, I realized I didn’t like it as much as I expected to when I applied. It was a different kind of learning than I expected, so I changed my degree. Ultimately, no advice can fully prepare you for post-secondary education because everyone wants different things. Even after changing my degree, some people told me the field I was going into was a bad idea, and maybe it would be—but I knew I wasn’t happy with my current program and needed a change.


When I chose a university, I wanted the furthest one from my hometown, which is eight hours away. Most of my friends either went to the closest university, or one that’s a quick two-hour drive away. Within the first week of moving away, I was ready to reunite with my friends and transfer to the university closest to my home, but I stuck it out and I’m so happy I did. It’s a weird feeling being so far away and in a new environment, but it’s also amazing at the same time. You grow in a different way, and now I appreciate when I’m home instead of complaining about it. I LOVE my hometown and everyone in it, but I’m also ready for change, and to meet new people. Of course, I’m nostalgic for being seventeen and having no responsibilities, but there is something fun about growing up and creating your own life.

I have no direction in Life

Talking to other people made me realize I really don’t know what I want out of life. Anytime I see something slightly interesting about another field of study, I have an identity crisis and worry about if I made the right choice pursuing my field of study. My problem is, I think all careers are interesting (except engineering—I still don’t really know what they do, but having an iron ring does seem cool).

Time does move fast

I had no idea how fast time moves when you’re constantly going between classes, maintaining a social life, and sleeping. My first year indeed went by too quickly. It’s true when they say the fall semester might go by quickly but the winter semester goes by even quicker. I don’t think I will miss being a freshman in university, as it was very similar to being a freshman in high school. I was scared of the upper year students and would get lost on my way to class, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Eloisa is a current Philosophy student at the University of Ottawa. She loves drinking iced oat lattes, making playlists, watching movies and going to the gym.