Moving out and far far away

Photo of Lilli Temple-Murray

Ontario is a large place with four big lakes and many well-known universities. As an out-of-province student from Calgary, Alberta, I was surprised to learn that 12 million people live in Southern Ontario alone.  

I first saw the University of Waterloo campus while I was moving into my on-campus residence alongside a thousand other new students. I quickly realized that almost all of them were also moving away from home for the first time — not just me.

I’ve had many adults try to prepare me for the difficulties of university, but for some reason the focuses were solely on advanced calculus and lab reports. Now, as an upper year, I don’t believe that course content is the main reason why many students find first year daunting — it’s learning how to manage your time. Think about it, you are now responsible for laundry, grocery shopping (unless you have a meal plan like I did), getting to bed at a reasonable hour and showing up to all of your classes. You are completely accountable for your own learning, and it can be difficult to schedule everything while leaving time for friends and extra-curriculars.

Being a plane ticket away from home was a major obstacle for me in the beginning. However, the students you’ll meet in first year will act as a pseudo-family and support you through everything. It can be scary being totally independent at first, but the new experiences are worth it.