It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve finished my last exam from my set of Winter term classes.

Now that it’s summer, I’ve had some time to reflect on how this past academic year has gone for me. I’ve also been able to reflect on things that did or didn’t work for me as a new university student as well as make sense of my high school to university transition.

In this post, I intend on sharing a bit of what I’ve been thinking about these past few weeks.

Starting university back in September involved trying to figure out a lot of different things at once. I went from being a Grade 12 graduate enjoying my spare time with family during lockdown to being a full-time first year student at university with a demanding work load. In the early days of the Fall term I had, in some ways, convinced myself that I had forgotten what it meant to be a student, let alone a “good” one. I had been out of “regular” school for the better part of six months, so it definitely took some time to switch into the proper gears…the type of gears that would allow me to excel in my first year of studies.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it…navigating online school was quite difficult. It was an interesting experience going from summer and no school to then having to become familiar with all the online platforms that were being used as part of my classes. I remember it taking me a couple of days to just get a hold of myself and to organize my virtual space and all that was required of me for each one of my classes. I quickly learned that high school and university were quite different from each other. I was just as stressed, but now there were higher expectations and the onus was fully on me to read, understand the material and reach out for help when I needed it.

Each class was also being taught in a unique way, something that I hadn’t really experienced before. At times, it was difficult for me to acknowledge and attribute where my stress or feelings of anxiousness were coming from. Was it the high school to university transition, or because everything was online? This was the source for a substantial amount of my initial frustration. However, once I got busy with lectures, weekly assignments and midterms the frustration and anxiousness subsided and I was just enjoying my time learning and being a student, a feeling I’m very comfortable and familiar with.

As the term progressed I realized that I was able to get a better handle of things. I was able to better organize my time and follow a schedule so I didn’t fall behind in any of my classes. It did take some time but by the time the Winter term came around, I felt much more at peace with the transition and I could focus on the content earlier on in the term.

If I took anything away from my first year of university, it’s that I learned to roll with the punches and adapt to a whole new learning environment just like the rest of my peers. That’s pretty cool, right? In the process, I also learned more about what it meant to be resilient: bouncing back from a bad grade, a bad day or a bad week was very important.

Overall, this past academic year has been new, challenging and exhausting to all students to say the least, but upon reflection, I think there was much more to take away than it might seem.

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  1. Love your writing Anika. Good luck for second year & beyond! I am looking forward to reading how you transition from under grad to grad school.

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