It’s a little bit crazy to think that my first year at the Ryerson School of Journalism is already over. I mean, I remember where I was at this point last year so clearly!

I was actually at the Art Gallery of Ontario with one of my best friends, and we were talking about how nervous we both were to start university in just over a month.

Of course, we were nervous that going to different schools would spell the end of our friendship (spoiler alert: it didn’t- love you Rosie!), but beyond that, we were nervous about starting all over again– making friends, learning our new campuses, the workload we’d both heard would be horrendous.

Lest we forget I had my program-specific worries, too. How would I find a way to stand out amongst people who all had a similar skillset? What if my skills just weren’t at the same level as everyone else’s? Did everyone else have some extensive collection of published work?

At the end of the day, though, all these worries seem so silly to me. My first year at Ryerson’s School of Journalism- my first year in university– was probably one of my best years yet.

Friends:

Friends were one of the things I was the most worried about going in. First of all, almost everyone I met was extremely kind, so that’s a big plus. But as far as forming actual friendships? I found people I clicked with immediately, and our friend group now is all about supporting each other, and having a good time while doing it. It’s cool that we share the same classes and passions, because it gave us that foundation to build friendships off of.

Now, we goof around and have a good time, and we’ve even developed our own set of traditions! For example, every time it’s someone’s birthday, we plan a mini-celebration, with a present everyone pitches in for, and a meal out to their favourite place on campus.

At Christmas time, we all visited the Toronto Christmas Market, and some of us ended up walking from campus in the freezing cold, which is one of our favourite stories to laugh about now.

In our program, we have what are called “Story Days”, where you pitch, research, write and photograph a story in seven hours. Sometimes, those days could get a little intense. But, we always made sure to celebrate the day with dinner and drinks afterwards (those of us who are of legal age, of course), and it helped us relieve any tension from the deadline-driven day.

All that to say, even though making friends was one of my biggest worries going into university, I can say with confidence that I’ve made friends that will probably be in my life for a long while.

Workload:

This was another one of my biggest worries. As a student going into a program with a prestigious reputation, and putting two minors on top of it… well, can you blame me for being worried about the workload?

The truth is, though, because I was taking courses that I actually enjoyed, very little of my time in university felt like work. Even though there were days where I put in eight hours of work, on top of going to classes– it very rarely felt overwhelming. In fact, most of the time I chose to do more work in a day than I actually needed to, just because I didn’t want to stop.

This also comes down to time management. Unlike in high school, a university syllabus is firm. This means that dates for assignments and evaluations will very rarely, if ever, be switched up on you. It really allowed me to plan ahead and get work done so far in advance that I often had papers done a full week early, which is an accomplishment for me since I was a chronic procrastinator in high school.

Bottom line– the fact that In enjoyed my courses so much was the real game changer here. I guess it’s true what they say… do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Over all:

First year university turned out to be one of the best years yet. From making incredible friends, to excelling in my classes, to coming out of it all with the strongest sense of self I’ve ever had, I don’t think the year could’ve gone much better.

My only regret is spending so much time last summer worrying about it! But, I know that I’m not wasting a single second of this summer worrying about year two.