Transitioning to University Life
The idea of going off to college or university sends shivers of anxiety down spines and churns stomachs. Don’t worry – this is normal. It’s a big step moving from high school to post-secondary education and its natural to feel a bit nervous.
There is usually a frosh week for university students or an orientation for those attending college. This can be a great way to meet people around campus or in your program. Post-secondary education is so diverse that making friends is easy, whether it be the person who sits beside you in class, a new roommate or someone you meet on campus.
Living in residence is another excellent way to make friends and makes the walk to class much easier. Most schools have single rooms as well as doubles so you can be paired with a roommate. The Resident Assistant will help you get integrated into the community with a number of activities in the residence and there is usually a common room with a TV for students to relax in.
Residence life is not for everyone, though, and there are a number of other options such as off campus housing, driving or commuting via train or bus. There is nothing wrong with choosing to live at home while attending school, either. Living out on your own is exciting but it can get pretty expensive and sometimes its nice to have the comforts of home and your friends and family.
Post-secondary school is nothing like high school. There is no attendance sheet or principal forcing you to go to class. The professors likely won’t harass you about it so it can be very tempting to skip a class here and there. This can lead to a very slippery slope and you don’t want to find yourself facing an exam sheet without having gone to class. It’s up to you to stay organized and keep on top of your assignments; letting them pile up then dashing them all off the night before is not the best strategy. Most schools use an email and online system so you can use the Internet to keep up to date on assignments, presentations, etc.
Every college or university has at least a few clubs or teams and activities that provide exercise and entertainment. Most schools will have a free gym for people to lift weights, run on treadmills or play indoor sports. Some schools even have a pool.
It’s a good idea to learn about your chosen school before beginning in the fall. An excellent way to do this is to check out their websites, do campus tours and speak to anyone you might know that has gone to that school. Ask them about their experiences there.
Leaving high school marks a major change in life. While post-secondary education certainly has its challenges, they are far outweighed by the lifelong friendships and rewards.