A year of firsts | Lesson #4: Surviving the workload

A year of firsts, or how I learned to stop worrying and love university

This is the fourth instalment in a series of blog posts by second-year Arts student, Breckin Baillie. He shares his experience as a first-year at UBCO, and gives tips about making the most of your university experience. This post covers navigating university classes. If you haven’t done so yet, check out part one, part two, and part three of Breckin’s journey.

Hey everyone, my name’s Breckin and I just finished my first year here at UBCO. If you had told me a year ago that this year at university would have been one of my best years ever, I definitely would not have believed you at all. University felt like my Everest: this big insurmountable obstacle that I was fairly certain would chew me up and spit me out.

Chances are that some of the incoming first-years reading this may feel the same way — nervous, uncomfortable, anxious. That’s all normal, I promise, but there are ways to make the transition easier so you can make the most of your first year.

Here are some of the most important lessons I learned this year.

Lesson #4: Surviving the workload

Apparently, university also has classes where you go to learn things in addition to all the fun stuff.

In high school, I was warned a lot that university courses would not spoon-feed us like high school courses. After my first year, I can say that those warnings were correct, but with some important distinctions.

While students are definitely expected to be more independent than we were in high school, you are not completely alone and helpless. Contrary to what some of you may have heard, the profs actually do care about seeing their students succeed.

Taking advantage of my professors’ office hours was the biggest help in shrinking the gap between high school and university difficulty, since I could get one-on-one explanations and assistance that I needed to help comprehend the material being taught.

Don’t be scared to go to office hours because you think you’re being dumb or you’re scared of wasting your professors’ time. You aren’t. It is the job of the professor to help out students. (Seriously, office hours are mandated.)

Since they have to have them, your professors might appreciate your company if nobody else shows up.

It’s important to acknowledge when you need help. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors, TA’s, classmates, or your peer mentor (it’s exactly what they’re for!).

In the next instalment of this blog series, Breckin will talk about the importance of time management. Check it out here: Lesson #5: manage your time, and if you haven’t read the previous sections, check them out here: part one, part two, part three.


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Breckin BaillieAbout the author

Breckin Baillie is an English major, an avid singer, and a lover of dogs. He is currently in his second year of UBCO’s English program. He plans to continue his education past his undergraduate studies and eventually earn his PhD in English Literature, with an aspiration to one day become a university professor.

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