After a summer of anticipation, here I am. My first two days were a little crazy since I had rez orientation but also wanted to spend a little time with my family before they left. Then frosh week was full of fun events and it was great to be able to meet so many people. Something that really amazed me when I got to UTM was being able to meet so many people from so many different places. Some people talk about how they have lived in four or five countries while some have stayed right in Canada for their whole lives. There’s something comforting about that diversity; something that makes UTM feel safe. I don’t mean safe in terms of crimes or violence, but safe to be yourself, free of judgment. On my first day of class, my anthropology professor said “There’s something magical about UTM” and although I can’t really compare UTM to the other UofT campuses as he can, I think that safe feeling is proof that he’s right.
My first week on campus (frosh week) was fun, but the start of classes is when school can get daunting. You look at the syllabus and realize that “having time” isn’t really a thing when you think about it. Then you realize how much you’re going to learn in a matter of weeks. You start getting work, you need to figure out your textbook situation and things may get to be a bit overwhelming.
For me, personally, one daunting experience was to be in a 200-level course as a first year because I have transfer credit. I ended my first day of my first year at university in a class filled with people who all knew what they were doing. It was just “been there, done that” for them, while I was still picking my way through a new world. Through the beginning of class, I tried, futilely, to take comfort in the fact that I already knew a lot of the course content that the professor was going over. During the break, I decided to do the smart thing and talk to my professor to see if she had any advice for me. She didn’t tell me that I needed to know anything specific, but talking to her made me feel a lot better. Another truth about UTM confirmed: professors really are accessible.
I wish I could tell you I have some master plan figured out for how I am going to work through this year, but I don’t. I honestly am still trying to make sense of it all, just like other first years. All we can really do right now is keep moving and trying to do what we need to do while it all falls into place.