- Jiayi Yang
- Nov 24, 2017
University meant there would be no support system! Professors don’t care, you’re just a “number”, and there is no one to reach out to with questions.
In high school, people would always say that university life is “life on your own” – not just in terms of personal freedom, but in terms of academics too. In my mind, there was always the idea that after high school I would need to be completely independent. There would be no one to reach out to for extra help with understanding schoolwork, fulfilling degree requirements, and to help me find a job in the future. However, after my first couple months at Western, I realized that I could not have been more wrong. There is an amazing foundation of support. Professors and TAs have office hours dedicated for students to come in and ask questions about the material covered. Additionally, each faculty has their own academic counselling office, a health and wellness centre, and upper years to offer their help and advice. Given the huge support system on campus, self-sufficiency in every matter of your life is far from being a university prerequisite.
You and your best friends need to keep in touch and keep each other updated on your lives all the time.
Coming to Western, I was absolutely terrified to leave my friends behind. With my best friends and I choosing schools across the country (and the world), we all agreed it would be essential that we maintain communications even though we were no longer all together. However, once we got to university, we realized how difficult that was going to be. Between getting our “lay of the land”, making new friends, and keeping on top of schoolwork, we haven’t had much time to have extensive conversation. Despite my initial fears, I’ve come to find that not keeping in touch is actually okay. I still feel as close and connected to my friends now as I did before we all left home. On the rare occasions that we do have our little reunions or skype calls, we’re able to talk as if we all never left. Have faith that your friendships will stand the test of time and distance.
University will take a long time to feel like home and sometimes may never feel like home.
The summer before I started at Western, I was constantly told that it was okay to miss home and to feel out of place. My friends and family all claimed that “it’s a phase everyone goes through,” and that it will take a time to feel at home. However, I realized within the first week that Western had already felt like the right place to be. Throughout the first day, I unpacked, hung up my posters, and pinned up all the pictures I had of my friends and family. By the end of the day, my room already gave me happy “home-y” feels. Over the course of orientation week, there were activities to get to know my floor and my faculty which made making new friends easily do-able. I found it both surprising and reassuring how quickly I began to enjoy my time here.
Of course, everyone is different and everyone will adjust to their new environment at a different pace. Don’t get discouraged if Western didn’t feel like home as fast for you, or if it still doesn’t feel like home now. Adaptation to a new environment can sometimes take some time, but can also sometimes take no time at all!
You and roommate will do everything together and be best friends
My roommate and I went to the same high school together but we were never super close friends. I initially thought that we would come to Western and do everything together, but it has worked out to be quite the opposite. With us being in different faculties, we have vastly different classes. We now have different friends, go out on different nights, and study with different people. This however, is not at all a negative thing. I have realized that even though we may share a room, we are fundamentally still different people with different hobbies and different interests. Even though we may not do everything with each other, and we may not be best friends, we still have some really hilarious conversations together, grab late night snacks together, and still have a wonderful friendship. I’m extremely grateful to have her as my roommate and genuinely couldn’t be happier!
It’s all work, work, work.
Although the workload in university is significantly higher than in high school, there is still time to do a large variety of other things! Life is all about finding balance. Studying, completing readings, and doing homework is essential towards academic success, but university is also much more than just academics. Find time for yourself and time to pursue your hobbies and interests. Living with other students allows for plenty of time to be sociable and to make new friends. You can participate in conferences, join a research group, play a sport, or learn a new musical instrument! The possibilities are endless! Work hard in your studies but also find time to allow yourself to just enjoy life!