First Year

Tis a small rant about the survivings of a distraught forst year student plugging their way through the system.

You know, scientists say by age seventeen / eighteen, many of the brain's functions are almost completely developed where even the myelin layers on the neurons in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex have developed enough for adult-styled good decision-making, relying less on the teenage-driven amygdala used for emotions.

Then why did I make the mistake of thinking I was ready?

Like many kids my age, I'm forced to go on to post-secondary education so I can make something of my life only to find it wil become very much nullified in the future.  A degree means nothing now in the grand scheme of things, yet it is necessary to make something "decent" of your life.

Alright, I'll admit in some sense I am ready, but in many aspects, I'm still a teenager.  Still experienceing social difficulties, identity crises and many other "melodramatic" things we teenagers supposedly do that the adult section of the public seem to forget and the younger generation cannot yet understand.  I still plug along, writing papers and reading articles related to my subjects but oftentimes see many aspects are lost in translation.  All are here because they're smart and can potentially handle the university style of life.  Notice I said "potentially".  Nothing is guaranteed to work.  Not everything is for everyone.  I was even ironically told in an education lecture that university style learning doesn't even suit the learning styles of 75% of the world's population.  Is this not a little backwards?

Many ask me my accounts of my university experience and give me nudges with raised eyebrows.  I understand the inside joke.  They think it's one great big party, and for the most part it is...for everyone else.  There are many nights I get little sleep.  Not because I'm out hot-footing the town, but because everyone on the floor above me is having loud, crazy dorm parties.  They say life's a triangle, social life on one side, sleep on another and work on the last and with university, you pick two.

I have learned very quickly you can pick two, but usually there's only room for one.  So for some people, no life is not one helluva party because there is simply no time for such luxuries.

It is in these situations, I feel envious of my colleagues who chose to reside in highschool for another year.  I personally miss having a rather relaxing grade 12 year, studying things as they came which were quite sporadic compared to the constant drone of post secondary demands.  To prove my point, I keep a whiteboard calendar above my bed to keep track of projects, exams, field trips and whatnot.  I use certain colours to document certain types of tasks like orange for appointments, blue for days at home, green for visitors and purple for schoolwork.  It is only the beginning of the month and it is already planned out for me:  there is no green, two days f blue, one which is covered in orange for doctor's appointments and the rest is littered with purple scrawlings of important dates and projects due.  It's very much a central source of stress. 

I realize the picture I paint of the post-secondary instution known as university may seem like a very grim stage that you may now want to avoid, but I will concede in the fact that it does have its advantages.  Firstly for those living away from home, the freedom!  You don't have your parents after you to do your work every five seconds or worry about a curfew.  You wanna stay out all night, go right ahead and there's no one who's gonna stop you (except maybe your roommate crankily letting you in at 3am because you forgot your key).  Secondly, you pick your schedule.  You don't want am classes?  Don't have them.  You go to class as you please and many even choose which lectures they attend and skip (I don't reccomend that but hey, to each his own).  Another advantage to that is the clothes you wear.  Some classes have a specific dresscode for efficiency but most don't so if you wanna wear your PJs to lecture, no one, not even your prof will care.  And last of the many I'll point out, you study what you want to study.  I'll say this as a real drama nerd, I hate math so I picked a program where I'll never have to take it.  Sweet relief.

Though it may not be the wild party or the slave house that some portray it to be, it is still school with homework, projects and exams.  It may not even be all that bad but one's stress cam make it ten times worse.  When asked by a friend of mine in second year how I was finding my first year so far, I mentioned the above.  He asked me what my goal was for the year.

My answer:  To survive.

The End

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