A first year student reflects on the first weeks of school, the advantages of time alone, and how frosh week can set us up to enjoy university life

With legitimate classes finally in full swing, first-years can finally enjoy their independence. Throughout high school we were told to form impeccable study habits, to take notes with speed and ease, and to take control of our own fate as we gear towards adulthood. We haven’t really had to put these skills to test until now.

Walking into Con Hall and typing for hours on end is one way of forcing us into this new phase of life, but there is a much scarier place than the classrooms of
U of T — your bedroom.

Hours and hours alone in a decrepit cube specially equipped with ugly furniture and odd noises at night. University is filled with ample alone time to organize workloads and lives, but how does this isolation in our rooms become beloved instead of something to avoid? Simply put, it’s because of frosh week.

During the very first week on campus, we were pushed into outrageous events from 8 am to 2 am daily. The first few days are easier to handle, but by midweek we were already dying from exhaustion and had mastered the art of power napping — which, I might add, seems to be an important university skill. Because of this serious lack of alone time I, like many other students, was dying for any sort of break at all. A lot of people skipped out on activities or slept on the couches in common rooms between events just to cope.

A fellow resident of UC said that being cheery and energetic all the time — as we were encouraged to be during Frosh week — is unnatural to her real personality. “I needed alone time to recuperate and be me so that when I do meet people, it’s coming from somewhere real”.

U of T students understand that our free time is not just for studying and napping, but for re-assessing who we are and what we want. A skill learned by first-years and mastered by upper years — or so we hope.

This theory stretches further than U of T. Hannah Woods, a first year from Wilfrid Laurier University, says, “When they gave us time off it was so nice.”

However, she did admit that without the experience of frosh week, she would not have realized the value of free time.

Kate Voorheis, a frosh from New York University, had a frosh week that was much less intense that what Hannah and I experienced.  She had many breaks between events and therefore, even with a roommate, felt “isolated when [she] was left alone in [her] room.”

So now, in our third week of the year, the copious amount of time spent alone is not scary or upsetting, but desirable. Being alone in a single room, in the stacks of Robarts, or walking down St. George is beyond acceptable, it’s preferable.

The saying goes “You don’t miss it till it’s gone.” Since every minute of our alone time was removed from the second we got to U of T, we missed it and loved the idea of being mildly isolated.

Having moved from a regular amount of alone time during the summer, to none at all, it was easy to cope with a little too much alone time when classes kicked in. After all, the freedom to control our own time is why we came to university, isn’t it?

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