I've been reflecting on what's its like to be in university, the whole transition thing, and I talked to my friends because as we all know there is strength in solidarity (I also learned the meaning of that word!).
We came to the conclusion that: HIGH SCHOOL DOES NOT PREPARE YOU FOR UNIVERSITY.
In high school there is a sense of community because you see the same people everyday and the teachers hunt you down for late assignments whereas here it is YOUR responsibility to keep up to date with everything. Talking to my friends I realized we are ALL struggling with and around almost the same/similar stuff. The first thing you have to do is "adjust" and "adapt" to the new learning style. You're not in school for a solid schedule of 9am -3pm. You are in your lectures, tutorials and gaps of time to yourself OR sometimes your whole day and night is taken up by classes. Not to say that you don't have that community here, it's just bigger and more diverse.
This was my reaction to my first essay in university. For me the hardest thing are the essays.
I found myself struggling to write essays because of this whole "critical thinking" jazz. In high school you could slide with an "all-nighter" essay and get a decent grade like mid 70's. Whereas HERE the best you can do is anywhere from a 50-58 (the TAs likes to tease). I remember getting my first essay back and it was filled with suggestions and critiques etc.
This is my definition of critical thinking; it is way more than just making a comment on something, it is about seeing what you are seeing and then seeing around it, inside it, really inspecting it AND THEN making a claim about it and then applying it to...
YOU>YOUR ENVIRONMENT>YOUR SOCIETY (it can also be vice-versa). You have to not only dig for some deeper meaning but then go above and beyond with your explanation. The easiest and hardest thing to do is, "make a claim and then justify it". You can say ANYTHING you want as long as there is logic and analysis to back it up.
TIME is also a big factor, and in that sense high school does not teach you practical time management skills. They don't teach you how to plan and manage your time. These skills don't magically appear. It's through the mistakes I've made that I learned NOT to hand in my assignments late. I ain't even gonna lie about it, I still procrastinate. If it means going to Dollarama (they ALWAYS hook me up) and buying a planner, a monthly schedule and organizing your time...THEN DO IT.
I also realized that because its first year most of my courses are 1) Required and 2) Really Broad. These introductory courses are meant for you to take up an interest in a particular field and then develop these interest. As you might have noticed as the years progress the classes become more smaller and intimate. Yes you have to lower your standards and then work them up again but in this process you discover your likes and dislikes
The best advice I can give is...stress is inevitable, you WILL make mistakes, but it's OK. Don't beat yourself up over it. You need to have some form of outlet because this stress can get overwhelming (TRUST ME). This outlet is like your "break" from university when you can't really get one.
I'd like to dedicate this song to my high school grades...may they REST IN PEACE.
Epic quote of the week: "If I read your essay and I learn something, it means you have done a good job...It's called 'pedagogy' the art of teaching"-Hannah Dyer