Stories From The Arch

Image of Hamilton Hall on campus and students walking in front of the building.

The Ups and Downs of First Year

When I started my first year of university I didn’t really know what to expect. How do I deal with the increased workload? How do I study? How do I meet new people and network with my professors? These were just some of the questions I asked myself over and over. I knew it was going to be a big change, but I also knew it was going to be the beginning of some of the best years of my life.

Now in fourth year, it’s easy to look back and laugh at all the moments where I was stressed out more than I probably should have been. I made life-long friends, learned to live on my own, and got a pretty good understanding of what it means to be accountable for my own decisions and actions.

There are many ups and downs of first year and university in general, but in the end, they serve a purpose. They say university is supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life, and to some extent I agree.

Some of the greatest people I know today I met in my first year. It wasn’t easy to put myself out there and reach-out for friendship, but I’m forever grateful that I did. These friends have been there for me through all the ups and downs and are always there to guide me if I’m ever in need of a fresh perspective. Something that I’ve learned is that a new perspective is sometimes necessary. Whether you need advice about a class you’re debating to drop, an issue with your landlord, or life in general, in the end you have to make decisions. Being in university means being accountable for each and every one of your actions, and with that comes great responsibility. The decisions we make and the good and bad habits we build start to mould our future after university.

I’ve learned many skills while at McMaster, but one of the most important to date has been how to deal with people. I was first exposed to these types of issues in first year, but they’ve been lessons well learned. Whether it’s a roommate you don’t get along with, a group member who doesn’t like to work, or your significant other, it’s imperative that you learn how to properly resolve conflict.

If I had to pick, the most difficult lesson I learned in first year was the lesson of time. I feel that until you know the power of time, you don’t really know anything. Ranging from basic time-management to the effect time has on relationships, it was a difficult pill to swallow. Take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, but if you’re in first year, make your mistakes now, and most importantly- learn from them.

Photo of Sergio Santolo.

About the Author

Sergio Santolo blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2017 to 2018.

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