It was a mixture of fear and excitement. Things were finally going to change; everyone said that university would be the start of my real life. Was I ready? I’d sure find out. There was a sense of liberation in being able to have a key to my place that no one else had. None of us could get away with carefree and reckless actions anymore. We now had responsibilities and some version of a mission.
I had roommates that weren’t my parents for the first time in my life. The first night I knew would be sleepless. My friends and I ventured out, feeling particularly grownup because we were out at 2 in the morning without supervision. There were so many things to see, so many new people to meet. Within the first week, we made the friends that became our closest. Here, friends quickly became your family away from home. Almost abruptly, the fun ended, and it was time to get serious; classes had begun, and in the commotion, we added piles of reading and assignments to the growing list of doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning our rooms. It felt good to focus on something to intensely that I felt like I had a purpose; and this time, I wasn’t doing it for anyone but myself. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that felt overwhelmed, but after a while- everything became routine. The key, I’ve found is to pace yourself. The foreboding horror stories of not being able to procrastinate are true.
University teaches you to grow up in a way that high school just couldn’t. Being around other determined people motivates you even more. There is a need to prove yourself, and to step up your way of thinking and speaking. At least in my case, I learned to be independent. Everything seemed impressive and magnified in scale. It marveled me to see so many people genuinely wanting to learn. There were people who shared the same interests and the same passions. There was no limit to opportunity. Every activity or club I could imagine was open to me! Now, whenever I’m asked how I like university, I will simply answer: it’s different. There are things I miss about my old life, but I wouldn’t trade the lessons I’ve gathered in these few months for anything. Here’s to the best years of my life.
Ritika Chakrabarty; Undergrad student at the University of Waterloo, Class of 2016.
Program: Arts and Business (Co-op)