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Life > Experiences

The Harsh Adjustment from High School to 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 Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Ah high school, the good old days. When “preparing you for the real world” was something you would hear on a daily when you didn’t really have to study for that test to get a good grade and your friends had the same classes with you every day on a regular schedule. Remember when you thought that was the hardest school could get? Think again. I’m not saying that university is unbearable, but it is something that you must understand as bigger than just going to class. Here are a few things to consider when adjusting to university life.  

Social Life 

Having good friends and a good social life is important, but it can’t be your main focus. I know you’re thinking, school is my main focus, duh! But sometimes school falls behind due to the social life and there’s not much you can do to catch up once you’re behind. The best tip I have for keeping a healthy balance is to make plans after your study or to set aside specific times for school and specific times for friends so that you don’t get too off-track and don’t start to suffer mentally from all the work or overstimulation.  


Yeah, yeah, you can get pizza on the corner or fast food anywhere you turn but trust me when I say make an eating schedule. This may sound silly, but when you’re adjusting to going to irregular classes, having late labs or tutorials or taking on an extracurricular at odd hours, you’re going to want to make sure you plan around those and eat regularly. Planning to go grocery shopping for food you enjoy or that is easy to cook at least once a week will help you make sure you are eating meals consistently and not forgetting to nourish your body.  


I’m sure you hear this often but: Go. To. Class. As soon as you stop having a regular routine of going to the campus for your classes, things fall apart. Ask any upper-year student and they will tell you the same thing. High school classes are mandatory and will usually inform your parents if you aren’t present. When it comes to university, they don’t necessarily care if you go or don’t go but they won’t track you down if you miss important information. That’s now all on you. I mean, you’re the one paying for this education, they get paid whether you’re there or not. Make sure you go and take good notes! 

Clean Space 

You’re adjusting to renting out a shared apartment with other people you don’t really know, I get it, it’s difficult and exhausting. But keeping your spaces clean is a huge part of life in the real world. The best thing you can do in a scenario where you don’t know your roommates very well is to create a cleaning chart at the very beginning or assign certain tasks to certain people. You’re all trying to balance school, the last thing you need is to be the only one sweeping or emptying the dishwasher every single time the apartment is dirty.  


Going out every night or every weekend with your friends does sound appealing, but if you came to the university on a budget, you would want to stick to it. Or at least budget alcohol or fun into it. This one is a big one not everyone thinks about. Yes, you had an original budget when you came here, or maybe you didn’t but creating a spending limit for fun or going out costs is a good idea to make sure you have enough for rent at the end of the year. Budgeting for food, rent, hydro, tuition, car insurance, a parking pass or whatever else it is you must pay for should be the priority always.  

University life is a lot more than just school life, it’s creating your own life outside of work too. In high school, you only have assignment responsibilities, whereas, in university, you must juggle renting, friends, class, homework, cleaning, scheduling and much more just to stay on top of things. Remember to prioritize yourself and your schoolwork before you take on any other difficult tasks or overbook yourself. 

Bailey McIntyre

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Bailey is in her third year of English studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. From a small town, she escaped when she could by writing whenever possible, as well as reading all things Sci-fi and Romance. She loves Snowboarding, Baking and watching early 2000s movies with hot chocolate. Bailey has a passion for all things writing related and is also the Arts and Life Section editor for The Cord Newspaper at Laurier. Wishing to pursue editing and publishing post grad, writing is her main creative outlet.