Freshmen are often told that they will “discover themselves” at university. The discovery happens both inside and outside the classroom. There are multiple possibilities; the changes that others have told one to expect don’t necessarily happen.
We are often told that we will completely change the course of our degrees. Often, students start with a particular subject and end with its opposite.
Disclaimer: All the instances cited here are based on empirical evidence i.e. what I observe around me, which may be flawed, biased, exaggerated and likely, hysterically funny. DO
NOT consider it the Gospel Truth.
The Oh-my-god, need to change majors/ faculties/ perspective on life epiphany
While the first semester of university does deliver many academic epiphanies to a student’s doorstep, they aren’t necessarily as dramatic as widely believed. For example, it doesn’t work like this:
Student: What a wonderful class! Based on this one class alone, I’m going to declare a major in this subject because, hey, all of the courses required to complete this major/ specialist/ minor are as fantastic. Guaranteed. And I don’t need to do any further research, talk to the College Registrar or to any upper year students. When you know, you just know.
It is likely that something similar to the next few scenarios will transpire.
A student, looking suitably disheveled from sleep deprivation/ whatever he or she was doing last night, walks into a lecture hall.
Student: This place is massive, I won’t be able to ask a question (because it’s bloody scary). 2000 people in one room- I’m outta here.
Another equally morbid, heavily/ under populated lecture hall. Same, long-suffering student.
Student: Hmm… that sounds interesting. The professor doesn’t put me to sleep. Tutorials are interesting. Maybe I won’t drop this course. Considering pursuing a major in this subject, or not. Oh wait, that’s not up to me- GPA’s the boss.
Note: The repeated use of the word “interesting” shows the student’s lethargy.
The student is alert completely engaged in the lecture. In love with the professor or, whatever he/she is saying.
Student: THAT WAS AN AWESOME LECTURE! MUST ALWAYS ATTEND THIS LECTURE! I’VE FOUND MY MAJOR.
(Breaks into some form of excited dance)
MUST ALSO VISIT THE PROFESSOR DURING OFFICE HOURS. EVERY WEEK!
Student aimlessly wandering, looks tired from too much sleep.
Student: Lecture? What is that? Where is it? Am I enrolled in that course? (Walks away in a daze)
The in-touch with nature moment:
Looking at that first snowflake/ ray of sunlight through the curtains. Violins playing in the mesmerized student’s head.
Student: Nature is beautiful. Life is beautiful. I should take up yoga.
Disclaimer: Weather conditions are subject to change, depending on one’s geographical location.
The realization that “cool” is a subjective word.
Student A: I spent the whole night at the library. There are so many readings, but I really need to work harder. G-panting- P-panting- A
Student B: That’s cool. I had a “sick” week! Was out every night, AND I still made it to class.
Student A: That’s cool.
Student C: Can’t talk now- busy with so many extracurriculars. That resume won’t build itself. (Runs out of room)
Students A & B: That’s cool.
From this we also deduce that word “sick” is also subjective.
You can’t possibly do everything- and it’s okay:
Before beginning university, every student has a “bucket list’- although the contents of each vary. I did too- my list is endless and still incomplete. With great difficulty, I’ve managed to one or two of the things I had originally intended.
Once the onslaught of assignments, readings and tutorial attendance begins there is very little time left. In addition to that, one has to learn to live independently (this involves eating healthy, without parental nagging), cope with homesickness and make friends. The last one is a crucial as maintaining a healthy GPA because, as sociology tells us, “man is a social being”.
Note: This may not be applicable to you if you enjoy being a hermit crab and living (i.e. hiding) under your bed.
You also need to sleep enough…..well…try to sleep enough.
Don’t kill yourself, worrying about everything you didn’t do this semester. There’s still a WHOLE OTHER SEMESTER and lots of snow to trudge through.