Photo: Rachel Reich

Year One: six realizations you will have in first year

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By Nicole Di Donato

First year is a time of many new discoveries. Not only are you learning new things in class, but you are also learning many things about yourself and how you fit in to the world around you. Other than the obvious realization that university is harder than high school, here are some other discoveries that I, and I’m sure many other freshman, have made so far this year.
1) The friends you make in university are nothing like your high school friends 
University is a fresh start for most people. All of my high school friends went to different universities, so when I moved into residence I found myself making friends that ended up being nothing like the ones I used to have.
I am extremely fortunate to have a great group of friends from high school that I still keep in touch with, however, since coming to Ryerson I have found more people with similar ambitions and views.I met two girls on my floor who have become some of my best friends. Strangers often comment on the fact that it seems like the three of us have been friends for years. We are always laughing when we are together and I can see us being lifetime friends. Although I had “best friends” in high school, I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of that term until I met them.
2) Partying is overrated 
To most first years, partying is essential to the overall university experience — especially if you’re living on residence. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about going out with my friends. But after a while, partying every weekend can get a bit excessive. Although it’s extremely important to have a social life in university, it is also important to keep your priorities in check. What some people have yet to realize is that partying can only get you so far and there are many more productive things you could spend your time doing.
It is easy to get carried away when living away from home for the first time, but just remember why you are attending university in the first place.
3)  New found independence 
Now that you don’t have teachers holding your hand anymore or your parents constantly telling you what to do, you have the independence to make your own decisions. University is all about getting yourself to where you want to be. You have the power to decide whether or not you want to show up to your 8 a.m.lecture, or if you want to complete an assignment worth only 5 per cent of your grade, or if you want to get involved in extra curricular activities.University is all about deciding what you want and what is best for you. It is also a time that teaches you that you are the only person responsible for your own happiness and ultimately, where you end up in life.
4) Your past affects you more than you think  
We all have something in our past that has affected us in some significant way. In high school, I dated this guy for over a year and a half. He did a lot of things that caused me to have trust issues and made me question some of my friends.I am over him, yet I have realized just how much my experience with that relationship has impacted the way in which I have made new relationships in university. I am a lot more cautious when becoming friends with people, and I know to trust my gut when something doesn’t feel right.The same thing applies to meeting new guys. I still find that if I am ever talking to a guy, I’m more weary of his intentions and I make it clear to him that he must earn my trust.

Having the past affect how you live in the present isn’t always a bad thing, as long as you aren’t letting it hold you back. I personally feel like my past experiences have helped me build more genuine relationships with people whom I believe have good intentions.

5) Mom is always right
If you didn’t already realize this, you definitely will in university. I have always considered my mom one of my best friends. She is always there for me when I need her, whether it’s advice on a potential story idea or even on boys. She always helps to put things into perspective for me and has taught me many valuable life lessons that have come in handy in university.If you’re ever having a problem with something and need someone to talk to, mom is the word.
6) You are a totally different person 
Although you may not have fully realized this yet, there will come a point when you discover that you are no longer the same person that you were in high school. I feel as though I have matured a lot and know exactly what I want to do with my life. I was always a very motivated person, but now that I am in university studying something that I am passionate about, I feel like I have become even more self-driven. I have figured out who I am and I know what I want in terms of friends, relationships and my career.
University is all about becoming a new person and figuring what you want out of life.

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