1 August 2012

University: What to Expect Part One

The summer before first year I tried to find everything I could about going away for University and what it was really like. I wanted advice and I wanted the perspective of a real girl, some who actually was going through University at the time. It was hard to find, sure many magazines give advice but none of it seemed real or relatable. I have decided to share some of my advice and experience here. It is limited and is solely based on my experience and I am by no means an expert. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email me. Once again these are my own personal experiences that I am sharing, so please keep that in mind. 

Being Away From Home
Leaving home was both exciting and scary. I was excited to be off on my own and start this new chapter in my life. But it was the first time I would ever be away from my family for such an extended period of time. Would I get homesick? Would I hate it? Would I love it so much that I would never want to go home? To be honest depending on the day I would either be homesick or be having such a good time that I would forget about home for a while. I never hated it. But I did miss home.

I missed home cooked meals. Caf food got old fast. I missed my bed and having a room to myself. I missed my friends and family. I missed my dog.  BUT I loved my new friends. My new found independence. Most of my classes.  The freedom.

Being away from home is learning out to adapt, balance your time and do things for yourself.  Its a time to grow up, have fun, and really find out who you are as an individual away from those who know you best (or think they do). Embrace it and enjoy it. But if you do get homesick don't worry everyone does.

Rez Life

Living in Rez is an amazing once in a life time experience. Make the most of your time in Rez. Go to floor meetings, floor events and keep your door open as much as possible. My floor had an "open door" policy and it made the world of difference. It was so nice being able to drop in on friends on the floor and have other people drop in for a quick chat. Your floor is your family for the year. These are the people you will be living with for the next 8 months. Get to know them. Make new friends and take advantage of the fact that you are living right next door or down the hall from some of your best friends.

Sharing a room isn't always easy. Respect your roommate and set ground rules at the start. Talk about if you can study with music on, over night guest policies, sharing food/clothes/etc. It honestly will help in the long run, even if it is an awkward conversation at first. Remember that this is their living space too, so be polite and work out your issues together. You may have to compromise or give a little on some issue, but a happy roommate makes for a happy living situation. That being said, take advantage of when your roommate is in class and you have some spare time or if you know they go to the gym at a certain time every day. It is nice to have some alone time in your room in the craziness of always living with someone (or 40 other floor-mates). It is okay to need some time alone once in a while.  Living with someone for the first time and sharing a space can be scary but its also exciting. You will learn a lot about yourself in the process.

One of my favourite (and at times my least favourite) parts about living in rez was the Caf, just down stairs. You will quickly learn why they say its the Freshman 15. Food is available to you always (or almost always) and its not always the healthiest of food. Make wise choices and be creative with what the caf has to offer, I found that after the first few months the food rotation was starting to get repetitive. But I quickly learnt that my caf had a great sandwich bar where you could get grilled sandwiches and I loved making many different grilled creations and flat bread pesto pizzas.  Or the salad bar where you could create a different salad creation every day and if they were serving chicken (which they usually were) you could easily add that to your salad. The options are there, you just have to look.

High School Friends

People change. It is something you will come to realize quickly, if you haven't already. Since people change friendships change, for the better and often for the worse. I came from a small high school where everyone knew everyone (and basically everything about them) to a huge school with a TON of people. It was a huge change but many people from my high school went as well, however all of my really close friends went to other really far universities.  Don't be afraid to make new friends, and friends that are different from your group of high school friends. If you are at a school with a big group of people from your high school do keep in touch with them but don't forget to make other friends as well. There is a whole university of new people to meet and who knows who you haven't met yet. 

Keeping in touch with your close friends from home can often be harder then you think, even with Facebook, Skype and texting. Everyone is making new friends and everyone is busy with school. My advice is to do the best you can to keep in touch with those people who you want to keep in close contact with. I have a group of 3 or 4 friends from high school who I am constantly in contact with and other high school friends I talk to them mostly when we are all back home. Its a good balance that works well. Find what works for you and your friends. Remember you guys will see each other on breaks and during the summer and if you are missing them they are only a text away!

I hope you enjoyed the advice and found it helpful. I am currently working on Part  2.
Check back next week for What to Pack for University.
- Jaclyn


  1. I wonder how my life would have been different if I had had a "traditional" university experience. It was kind of fun to read this because it was like a peek into a life I'll never have. (:

  2. love this post! love your blog following you now, hope you can follow back..cheers!


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