Now that I’m on summer vacation, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back on my first year of University. I love looking back and trying to piece together my favourite moments, the amazing learning experiences and the road bumps that made it the year that it was. As cliché as it may sound, it was definitely a rollercoaster; full of fast-paced ups and downs that left me with a mixture of shock and excited adrenaline.
My University is a small liberal arts college located right next to Dalhousie University in Halifax. With just over 1,200 students, King’s is tiny compared to Dal; making it a tight-knit community of writers, philosophers, hipsters, and pretty much anyone who dares to be different. What makes King’s so special is the Foundation Year Programme, a year that begins at the beginning of literature with the first ever written text, leading all the way up to where we are now. The great thing about FYP is that everyone that goes to King’s in First Year must take it. So, along with 300 other first year students I tried to tackle the mountain of books that FYP is.
The programme is unique because it’s basically a reading list. Every day we studied a different text, or a different author. We were handed three huge handbooks on the first day filled with essays and excerpts and told to buy 47 books to prepare us for lectures and essays. Looking back on it now, I have no idea what prompted me to take on such an ambitious course — I really had no idea what I was in for.
I love reading… and I love writing so this course was the perfect challenge for someone like me who wasn’t quite sure what to do in First Year. Along with FYP, I was also in the Journalism Honours programme, which is the programme I will be continuing with next year. Journalism was a welcome change from the constant stream of philosophy that I had to tackle in FYP, and I cannot wait to do it full time for the next three years.
I have to admit that FYP was not what I was expecting, and it was definitely the main source of my struggles during first year. The reading was endless and extremely difficult, the essays constant, and the content not what I was interested in. But amongst all my angst regarding this programme I am so happy and proud of myself for getting through it. Completing FYP is definitely an accomplishment, and I love how I got to do it with everyone in first year. There is comfort in knowing that if you do not understand Nietzsche, you’re going to run into 300 other people who are feeling just as lost as you.
Outside of my classes, I had an amazing time meeting new people, exploring a new city and getting to know family that I’d always been too far away from. I was really lucky to have an Uncle and longtime family friends that lived close. I spent lots of Sunday nights having dinner with my Uncle and Aunt and hanging out with my little cousin. I feel so good knowing that when I go back in September that I have family to go back too.
I also couldn’t have picked a better city study in. I was born in Halifax, but only lived there for a little bit. It was really cool spending my 18th birthday there. It has been the only birthday I’ve spent there since I was born! I think it’s kind of cool how I came into the world and legally turned an adult in the same city — But maybe that’s just me.
Halifax is beautiful, unique and full of adventures that I have yet to have. It’s right on the Atlantic Ocean and I still can’t believe that I can walk 5 minutes from school and hit ocean. It’s a surreal feeling. What I love most are the beautiful brightly painted houses that give the city its quaint seaside look. Think yellow houses with red doors, and navy house with bright pink trim. It’s like a fairytale village in my mind, and everything is so green and lush.
Next year, I’m living off campus in a cute apartment with 5 of my closest friends. My room is an adorable attic room with white walls, and floor painted rusty red that makes me feel like a complete maritimer. If you knew me well, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that I’ve got it all planned out in my head. All the way down to the candles that I want to display. Did I mention that I love interior decorating?
What was your first year experience like?