Sunday, 28 April 2013

20 Things I Learned at University: First Year

Hi all ~ Dee did her 20 things without me so I thought I'd put mine up, as well. Before I start, I'd just like to reiterate a few things:
  • You will get tired of Instant Noodles. Honestly, I can't even smell it without my stomach churning. If I eat it again in this lifetime it will be too soon.
  • Facebook is definitely important. It's a great way to keep up with old friends, as well as keep up with whatever clubs or activities, sometimes even classes, you're a part of.
  • No one goes to university "more mature". I don't care what people say, AHEM RD COUGH COUGH university does not automatically result in sophisticated, non-idiotic people. Granted, there are more who are, but don't expect it to be the Elizabethan level of maturity and sophistication, 'cause it ain't.
  • Also, free stuff? If they're giving it away, take it, and thank that person for the blessed gift. Never refuse free stuff.
Kay, moving onto my list...

1. A meal plan does not mean unlimited spending. Although meal plan cards may be filled with what looks like lots of money, that stuff needs to last you the year. Some of my friends learned this the hard way, and by winter break they had nothing left. After some parental butt whooping, they got some money back on their card and had to basically ration it throughout second semester.'
That was my first reaction when I saw the balance on my MP card and the stack of Aero bars beside the cash register
2. This leads to my second point: Freshmen 15. Personally, I didn't gain or lose weight. Throughout my first year I did what I always do - I moved when I had to, but aside from that, I ate often and sat in front of the computer for hours. This wasn't the same for everyone though. The girl who lived about us said that she found that she did gain some weight 'cause she didn't move much, and she found that she bought a lot of chocolate and snacks with her meal plan card. Then there were people like my suite-mate who exercised 4 hours a day and barely ever ate... It all depends on what you do with what your given.

3. Again, this rolls right into my next point: you paid for the gym, so you should use the gym. Technically, part of your tuition gives you access to the university gym. I didn't utilize this, and I regret it (which is why next year, I shall find this gym that everyone speaks of and actually go there to workout). Don't waste the opportunity. It's a great way to keep off the freshman fifteen, as well as get your butt in motion, 'cause we all know that most of us spend wayyyyyy too much time in front of the computer.
'cause danisnotonfire.
4. Communication is key. This point applies more to people who decide to live in residence with a room or suite mate. But this can also apply to friendships and even teachers. Even though I didn't practice this, I will preach it 'cause I regret not practising it. If something that your friend/suitemate/roommate does bothers you, tell them. Don't complain about it rudely (or in front of people :$), don't rant about it or tell them in the rudest possible way, pull them aside and tell them what is ticking you off. They might not even know what they're doing, even though it's driving you insane. This could also make them hate you, especially if you're a hypocrite about it. But honestly, it's the only way to get them to stop, or at least open their eyes to the problem 'cause hinting at stuff doesn't really work.
5. Sleep is important. Don't let your friends tempt you into staying up 'til 4am in the morning the day you have a test to keep them company as they write and essay or do an assignment. Your body requires sleep to sort out all the junk you've crammed into your head throughout the day. I don't care if you've never pulled an all-nighter. If you don't have to, don't do it.
The last thing you want is to look like a zombie the next day. Ain't nothing attractive 'bout that.
Unfortunately, though, this was me by the end of the year.
Value your sleep while your sleep cycle is still relatively normal.

6. Numbers ≠ Passion. There was this kid in my class, a fourth-year systems engineer, who was taking Intro to Rhetoric Theory with me. Every concept our prof threw at us he would understand immediately. He would then create amazing examples and be able to apply the things we learned immediately. But when it came down to it, he wasn't in love with English, as I am, instead his heart lay with engineering and computers. It's not always easy to see past all that in the moment, maybe your marks aren't the highest in the class, maybe that one random kid is doing better, but you must remember that in the end your passion and love for the things you do will be what will get you through university and what will get you that diploma in the end.

7. Be active within your university community. Joining clubs, volunteering for things, and taking part in study groups are great ways to make friends, 'cause honestly, it's hard to do that in classes of five hundred people. All in all, most of my newest friends were met through my 15 people French classes, my club activities and meetings, as well as through o-week (both as a first year and during leader training). Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

8. Paperwork > Homework. The number of issues I had with that darned Plan Modification Form, ugh. Add in the dental/health refund, as well as OSAP paperwork, and then some course override forms, you will get used to filling out forms. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but man was it a pain.

9. Reading for fun is hard to do. This irked me, mainly 'cause I'm one of those readers who are just like -opens book in the morning- -finishes book that same night- This is still possible to do, but not without immediately falling behind in your textbook readings, or your note-making. Tip for all you readers out there? Whenever you can snatch a bit of time during university terms, grabs your book and read 'cause you won't get that many chances.

10. Stupid questions exist. Don't believe what your teachers say, they are just saying it to be nice, 'cause honestly, they exist and they will make the people in your class hate you. It's not even questions like, "What's the chemical formula for holy water?" that will bother you. At least those questions are weird enough to make you laugh and remember it. It's questions like, "How does this pertain to that?" "It doesn't, this is totally irrelevant to that" "But..." -insert a twenty minute argument as to how this piece of information relates to that issue that was discussed weeks ago, when neither is at all relevant to one another and you feel like your life is wasting away before you as you sit in class and listen to this imbecile argue with the teacher when they are clearly wrong- multiplied times every class.
11. The geese can and will attack you if approached, disturbed, or even looked at funny.
"What'chu lookin' at punk?"
(I love the fact that the bus says uwaterloo, haha)
12. Your bad habits get worse and your good habits disappear. I found this especially true, as I lived on my own. I didn't have my mom to breathe down my neck and snap at me every time I would start twirling my hair around my finger, or pick at my nails. Procrastinating also went to a whole new level when I got to Waterloo 'cause I had never had unlimited internet before. Boy, did that kill my work ethic. I also found that any attempts to exercise were thwarted by my need to watch t.v. and organization was not at the top of my list of things to maintain...

13. Your professors and TAs are your friends. They will not murder you in your sleep if you visit them during their office hours. They provide an easy and great way to network and get help in not only the subject they're teaching/TA-ing for, but other things in life as well. I learned that my French TA turned French professor loves French rap music, and could probably make a religion worshipping beer and bacon. One of my friends once missed a class 'cause they were sick, and my TA-prof brought him to the classroom and went through the entire lesson just for him, and assisted him with the exercises. Office hours are there for a reason, you should take advantage of them. Profs don't ever want their students to fail, but they can't give you marks that you aren't willing to work for.

14. Keeping in touch with your family via email doesn't really work. (Again, applies mainly to those living in a difference city/areacode) Unfortunately, my cellphone plan doesn't allow changes such as long-distance calling for free after this time, so every night, I'd email my dad, mom, or sister and hope that one of them sees it before they have a panic attack and begin worrying ('cause once that starts, it leads to a giant hole of darkness where I'm either dead or dying in an alley somewhere). If you can, try to get long-distance for free from your cell company. If you can't, well then, it's either email or telegraphs.

15. Seven year old laptops are not optimal for university use. When your computer starts shutting down for fun, you know it's time to get a new one. Unfortunately, they're expensive, and getting a new one is
easier said than done. Let me just tell you that installing Windows 8 on said ancient computer is not a great idea either, even though the world wide web claims that it is compatible. It probably isn't really.

16. Real v.s. Fake. At a university, away from my friends, I found that I could see all my friendships from afar and pick out which ones I would actually work for and which ones were lost a while ago, but I never really faced it. Although I mended some friendships while I was away, I found that I lost many. As much as that saddens me, it also helped me realize that some of them were not what I remembered, and some were just not worth saving.

17. It is okay to miss a class every now and then. I always get this panicky feeling whenever I think about skipping class. However, I also learned this year that sometimes, missing class is okay. Yes, it took fifteen years and $10,000 to figure this out. Admittedly, I still don't like skipping, but I can live with it now. It is also okay to be late for class, 'cause now, you don't have to drag your butt to the attendance office as hall monitors and teachers glare at you. Although I wouldn't encourage it, I also know the feeling of not wanting to go, or not being able to go, to a class. That's life.

18. Bunk beds are not as fun as they were when you were six. Try to get a room with a single bed, if you're going into residence. Bunk beds aren't necessarily bad, but there's something about hitting your head on the ceiling that really turns you off from them.

19. Don't know what on earth you're doing, that's okay. You don't have to have your life figured out when university rolls around. It's okay to be sitting on the fence about something, or even totally clueless. Take a range of courses and see which ones appeal to you and allow you to work at the best of your abilities. I took psychology for the first time this year and loved it, and then hated it, and then loved it again. I also went into this year thinking that I would be an English Lit major, and now I'm including Rhetoric into my major 'cause I loved the course. It's okay to change your mind, and it's okay to be confused. There's always room to change majors, programs, and even faculties.

20. Appreciate your family and friends. No matter how shit life is, or how stressed you are, both your family and friends will always be there to support you. When you're out of your foggy cloud of panic/stress/anxiety, take the time to thank them for being behind you one hundred percent (even 22% is alright). 'Cause in the end, it doesn't matter how much money you have, or how much you know, it's a lonely road if you don't have people with you to enjoy it with.

University has been a great learning experience, and I hope next year will be even better ~
Also, note that all images were taken from Google, 'cause I neither have the time nor the abilities or resources to take/make such photos.


1 comment:

  1. I did it without you 'cause broski ain't ever online, ok? Gurl, don't be hatin' on me. Also, #4 and #5? Hush up, LOL. But I love your choice of pictures throughout. Made me LMAO.

    - Dee