Wrapping up first semester

If you’re a first-year student and are reading this, you have survived your first semester of university.

This experience is different for everyone, but it’s a big stepping stone in transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.

As I reflect on my first semester at STU, I look at the many friends I have made, most of whom I met during Welcome Week. Seeing others enduring the same situation—mostly financially—has eased my jump to university life.

I have learned the importance of time management and independence to achieving results at the books and surviving residence life. This has meant finding a balance between my academic and social priorities, and planning extracurricular activities around studying and classes.

Keeping with the residence policies, I have developed a greater respect for fellow students and learned to tolerate those whose lifestyles and personalities differ from mine. Living in residence has been the best experience of my life and has allowed me to mature as a young adult.

Living away from home and having limited options at the cafeteria, it was challenging to decide between fries, pizza or salad for lunch. But the gym on campus has allowed me to work off the extra carbs and improve my physical condition.

Overall, I have adjusted well to the workload of university classes. I didn’t notice a huge difference due to previous study habits that worked, as well as striving for success. Here’s hoping my smooth transition thus far will be beneficial during final exams, though the calm before the storm has been busy.

While excited to finish high school and go to STU, I was overwhelmed by questions surrounding how I would finance my education, how the tuition hike would hurt me, if I would receive a student loan and how the workload would look like. I also was unsure how I would manage my time.

My expectations were that students’ time would be spent solely on studies, but I have managed to accommodate extracurricular activities while not neglecting to do laundry, go to the gym and complete assignments.

But as I compare university to high school, I feel I’ve made better friends at STU, as many of us share common interests. The high school workload may have been easier, and there was minimal challenge to excel. Though St. Thomas professors know your name, they will not hold your hand, and I like that. I don’t miss high school.

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