Friday, 29 July 2011

Review: First Year of University

I thought I would write a nice detailed review of my first year of university, just so that I can be able to remember this time. Some people may want to know what it's like or others can compare their experience(s) with mine (: So from start to finish, here it is~

Just a little background:
In my late teens, I moved around a crapload of times, so I've been kind of use to attending new schools and getting lost and having to find my way around myself, as well as cope with all of the stress and anxiety. (I've lived ALL around the country :[ ). So I guess I was a little less nervous about entering university, knowing that everything would pretty much be the same. I graduated from a small school in Nova Scotia and was accepted into the Bachelor of Arts program at the University of Toronto. As soon as a graduated, I spent my summer vacation with my family in Quebec, and then moved to live with my aunt in the Greater Toronto Area to attend school.

One thing that I can say about the summer was that it was very worrisome. It's my own fault because I started my student loan application late, and had both of my parents in different provinces than where I was, so it was hard to get the time to talk to them and get the information I needed. I ended up finishing the application in mid-July, and worried constantly about whether I was even going to recieve the money or not. So I would say to make sure to get all of your school stuff done ASAP so that you don't have to stress over it.

Travelling to school:
For me, travelling to school is a bit pricey (and long!), but a hell of a lot cheaper than living in dorm. This is what I have to go through everyday.

  • My aunt drives me to the GO Train. (15 min)
  • I take the GO Train to the main station (40 min), where I switch to the TTC (subway) and take it to the station closest to the campus (10 min).
  • I walk to the building where my class(es) is/ are (10 - 20 min).
And I go home the exact same way, starting from bottom to top. It always takes at least a full hour to get to school, but often longer because of delays, crowded trains, weather, etc.
What I do is I buy a student monthly pass for the GO ($161), and I buy TTC tokens for the subway (~$100/month).

*** Fortunately, my classes were around the same area on campus, so I never had to worry about running to my next class when one ended!

Before school starts/ preparing:
During the summer, you hafta look at the courses and pick your own courses and try to make up your own schedule by checking when the classes are and stuff~. So just in case things don't work out, it's good to make a 2nd and 3rd backup schedule. This can take me a good couple hours to do when I'm deciding what to choose lol.
Textbooks costs A LOT. I only needed textbooks for 3 of my classes (out of the 5) and it ended up being about $350, which isn't a lot compared to what everybody else I knew had to buy.

- Modern Standard Japanese 1 (Full year course)
- Premodern East Asian History (Fall course/ Prerequisite)
- Technology and the Human (Fall course/ First-year seminar course)
- Modern East Asian History (Spring course/ Prerequisite)
- Language and Culture (Spring course/ First-year seminar course)

I'm planning on majoring in East Asian studies. In order to do so, I need to have these prerequisite history/ society courses throughout all of my four years, as well as 1 language course. I don't know how difficult it would be for somebody without Japanese knowledge to start at university level, but I took Japanese for 3 years in high school and found it quite easy. So the university class was easy for me as well.

History was my worst subject in high school and I don't really do well in those classes because the readings are ridiculous! I would hafta print out 50 - 100 pages a week to read. (Highlighters are your best friend!) I ended up failing one class, and since it's a prereq, I hafta take it again :/ Imma try extra hard this year.

As for the seminar courses, there's only 1 class per week for 2 hours, and a weekly assignment due at the start of every class. So I found those to be really relaxing classes. And instead of a final exam, there was a final group project.

Time & Life:
My schedule went like this: I was at school on Monday from 12pm - 8pm, I had one 1-hour class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, on Wednesday I had the same 1-hr class, and a 2 hour class a few hours later, and I had Fridays off. So I really liked my schedule (:  However, Mondays are lecture days, and no attendance is taken during lectures, so I hafta admit that I skipped almost half of my Mondays. But that's really bad, I'm definitely not gonna do that this year. On Wednesdays after my first class, I would always study or catch up on other work because it's the perfect time to do it. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, since I spent so much money already to go downtown for classes, I often hang out with friends afterwards. I was fortunate enough to get such a free schedule that I could just study and do work when I wanted to, and it was never something that was like "omg I HAFTA study for this test tomorrow!", because I was always caught up with all of the free time I had.
That was the year overall. However, at the beginning of the year I had no friends and felt so alone. I went into this great depression and it was so bad that I had trouble sleeping, barely ate anything (and when I did, I felt sick) and often cried throughout my day, everyday. Everyday would be just wake up, go to school, go home, try to eat/ shower/ study/ try to sleep.

The school year felt really short, probably because it really is the shortest year I've ever had (Sept - April). One thing that I think is stupid is that I should have looked for a job right when classes ended. Instead I've sorta been travelling everywhere, but not really wanting to go to the places I wanted to go to. I've been visiting family and stuff instead. And I really haven't even been in the city enough to hang out with my friends at all this summer. And it's kinda hitting me now that there's only a month left of summer and it'll probably end sooner before I know it as well. But.. oh wellz :/  And right at this moment, I still do have worries. I have worries about student loan coming late again like last year and other school related problems. But I hope things will work out.

I kinda rambled a lot more than I wanted to. Don't think anybody will really care bout this but I can look back n remember what my first year was like n stuff lol.

View of downtown Toronto from my friend's balcony.
Not a very pretty day lol xP

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