This article was written by a student guest contributor and current York student.
The prospect of going to university and using an online learning system was not appealing to me at first.
Upon completing my first semester at York University in the Social Work program, I discovered many amazing aspects about entering a program I am passionate about and meeting all of the great professors. I am grateful I decided to take a leap of faith and apply to university, despite the challenges that awaited me.
Initially, I was frightened at the thought of being all alone during my first year. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had a support system, seeing as I was able to connect with other Social Work students through the various orientations. This socialization and connection that I encountered right off the bat improved my mood immensely. In these orientations, we also got to meet our professors and advisors. I spoke with an advisor via email and talked about all of my concerns, and she answered me quickly and informatively. I wasn’t sure how course credits worked, or the required amount of credits recommended for first year BSW students. Overall, I was nervous about the upcoming school year and how to adapt to so many of these changes. Thankfully, as noted previously, my advisor walked me through all of my questions and I was able to start my semester with a better understanding of my program.
When choosing my courses for the year, I can admit I was a bit lost. It was a different system compared to high school and I was accustomed to having my schedule sorted for me. I was given a schedule builder by York, as well as a list of required courses in my Social Work handbook, and the rest was up to me. I enjoyed choosing my own schedule, since the lack of flexibility in high school never quite favoured me. The freedom to choose what suited me best in whatever time slot I liked was fantastic.
Looking back, I am glad I chose to study at York because I was able to overcome my fear of uncertainty and connect with others who felt the same. Over the course of my semester I have felt supported and understood by my professors and TA’s (Teaching Assistants). They offer to speak with me outside of tutorials and lectures in order to shed some light on any concerns I may be having. For instance, I once signed up for a 15 minute appointment with a TA of mine to talk about an assignment that was due. We went over it together, and my TA provided me with some comfort over the nerves I was experiencing.The situation we are all experiencing right now can be lonely and frightening, but I am sure that I would have felt even worse had I denied myself the opportunity to study something I love.
I knew that York was the right school for me when I began to receive emails informing me about writing workshops and Peer Mentor programs. These emails showed me the many resources the university could provide as well as the extra support I could receive. I decided to sign up for the Peer Mentorship program and was assigned a mentor in their fourth year. I still speak with her and ask her questions related to my program, and she helps me out any way she can. Without this, I would have had many unanswered questions pertaining to my degree.
My advice to those reading this is to not give up on your passions because of the setbacks you face. There are resources to help you move forward and there are many opportunities to meet great people. If you feel uncertain, it’s best to talk to an advisor or someone that could provide you with more information. Overall, my experience at York as a first year student is not unique, and my feelings are likely felt by many others in the same situation.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.