What I’ve Learned in My First Year So Far

Everyone says first year is the most difficult year of university. They say the transition is huge and knowing how to deal with it is hard. Being almost done with term one, I would agree with them. However, so far first year has taught me many things that I will forever be grateful for.  

The first thing I want to emphasize is the balance between having fun and focusing on school. Many people enter university with the mindset that they have all this freedom, therefore, they must take it to their advantage. However, this can be dangerous and staying grounded is key. Going out on that Friday night won’t hurt, and in fact, I highly recommend it. But it is important to remember that during the week this time is meant for studying, staying on top of your work, and giving it your best. Being able to manage your time between hanging out with friends and not falling behind in class is CRUCIAL. 

To continue, as a student living away from home, it is important to stay in touch with your family. There have been times where I haven’t gone home in weeks and those were the hardest. With the technology we have today, staying in contact with loved ones is much easier. I FaceTime and call my family all the time. Also, surrounding yourself with friends to be able to distract you from being homesick helps a lot! Friends can act as that second family, so having that is very beneficial. FYI don’t take your annoying sibling for granted!  

Something I am still working on in my journey is insuring my mental health is in check. Not overwhelming myself and knowing when to take a couple of steps back is very important. The University of Waterloo has many resources that focus on this aspect of mental health; MATES, counselling services, and health services emergency. There are off campus resources too! Good2Talk, Here 24/7, and OK2BME are a couple of them which are telephone services one can call. 

The last thing I want to discuss is about getting involved in school. Not only is it a great way to meet new people but it can also serve as that break from schoolwork. Joining a club or even a sports team allows you to mentally and physically recharge yourself before getting back onto that school grind. For me personally, I am in many clubs including legal studies society and I participate in mock trials. I also do intramural volleyball which is a great way to stay physically active! 

I can’t believe my first term is over in less than a month! Time went by so fast, yet I’ve learned so many new things. Good luck with the remainder of the term. Remember to study hard but also give yourself that mental break you deserve. 


Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4