No Direction

Firstly, this blog post is not about One Direction.

Secondly, hope everyone is enjoying their last week of first semester!

And onto my main point- no direction.

No guidance. No real advice. No experiences to learn from. These are some of the struggles faced by me, and lots of others like me, who are the first ones in their family to be attending a post-secondary institution in North America. In fact ,these struggles are commonly faced by a lot of first year students.

Perhaps the situation wasn’t as dreadful as Katniss Everdeen-

But from the moment our university applications were being filled, we were unsure, and slightly scared at the grandness of things. Of course, our parents were there as pillars of support, but ultimately, it was up to us to make them proud.

Being a First-Generation student became an even apparent disadvantage when we got accepted and started planning our university experience! For those living on residence, it started from the very first question of ‘what do I bring?’ For those not in residence, planning out commute routes, attending Orientation, became quite a hassle.

Perhaps one of the most crucial knowledge we missed was to know how to properly plan out our schedules. 

Whether it was deciding which courses to take, or whether it was organizing courses within a day, deciding when to leave an open space, or whether it was choosing the right amount of workload each day, we completely relied on our own judgement.

“Learn as you go” I chanted to myself.

And once university actually started, it was difficult to understand how to balance everything that we were expected to do. I wish someone had sat me down, 4 months ago, and said, “Mahika, chill with the studying- if you have questions, just email the prof, or go to their office hours.” Or, “Don’t stress about the fees, your student loan will reach them on time.”

These may seem basic things, but they all weave into a blanket that could have sheltered us from the overwhelming feeling we felt when we first walked onto campus.

Despite this uneasy feeling of being the first and foremost, UofT and UTM geared a lot of their resources towards helping First-Gen Students. From the very first orientation, we were given a list of things to take care of; and as we checked each one off, one by one, our uneasiness transformed into memorable experiences !

For that, I sincerely thank the UofT staff, Office of Student Transition, and any other affiliation that aided us as we walked our very first steps , in a… wait for it…

new direction.

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