Post-secondary students have been returning home this past week to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends.
Several shared their thoughts on their first semester at their new schools.
“My first year has been amazing so far and my classes have been great,” enthused Nic Dennis, an aerospace manufacturing and engineering student at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
His courses include physics, math, metal fabrication, machining, and English.
Dennis also noted some of the benefits of attending a post-secondary institute close to home.
“I was able to bring furniture and nicer things to my room because of the short travel, and I already know the city,” he remarked.
The relatively quick commute also allowed Dennis to travel home and see family “almost every second weekend.”
Kayla Stang, a first-year student in the nursing program at the University of Manitoba, has enjoyed the positive atmosphere of campus during her first semester.
“The school work was harder than anticipated,” she admitted.
“But making friends was fun and easy.
“The environment at U of M is really friendly and inclusive, so I’ve enjoyed getting involved in different groups and going to different events,” Stang said.
Stang is involved as the floor rep for the Residence Student Association Council, as well as a group that co-ordinates blood donations on campus.
Although she attends a school close to home, Stang said that wasn’t a large factor in her transition to university life.
“Living in residence is like having a second family,” she explained.
“But it was really nice to be able to see my family a few times throughout the semester.”
Liz Allan, who is studying humanitarianism at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, also enjoyed her first semester.
“It’s been pretty amazing but it comes with its challenges,” she remarked.
“I expected to miss my family a lot more, but it turns out I just miss the community as a whole,” she noted.
“I wasn’t ever nervous about the book work or the travelling, so that’s gone as expected,” Allan added.
“I guess the level of involvement has really thrown me off. ”
In her program, Allan said it’s not an option to sit out or not be involved.
“There’s always something going on and you’re throw into the midst of it,” she reasoned.
Although CMU is based in Winnipeg, Allan’s program involves plenty of travelling across the country. She’s been everywhere between B.C. and Ontario during the first semester.
Students in the program usually stay in a community for anywhere from one night and two weeks.
“Each place we went to, we would spend days volunteering,” Allan explained.
A particularly memorable moment in her first semester was “Impact Day” in downtown Vancouver.
“We were split into groups, and each given a certain amount of money and a map of an area to start in, and instructed to ‘go make an impact,’” she recalled.
“Our goal that day was to make people’s lives better even if it was only for a brief moment,” Allan noted.
“My group, in particular, went and bought a large amount of giant yellow, happy face balloons.
“Those balloons sparked laughter, smiles, and conversation in that area, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome,” she enthused.
For those students who travelled further from home for school, the first semester has been a whirlwind.
“The first year has been nothing but busy trying to keep up to the busy schedules of everyone else around you,” said Mitchell Argue, who is pursuing a business degree at the University of Regina.
“There has been more essays to write in the past three months than I have wrote in all of high school.
“However, through all the hard work, you feel satisfied, especially when you can look back at what you have learned in three short months of hard work,” he stressed.
Argue said although he travelled far from home for university, it didn’t make the transition difficult.
“I think university itself has been such a different lifestyle that it’s nice to separate my own life from my family’s,” he explained.
“I’ll still travel back and spend my relaxation time with family and friend in Fort Frances.”
Meanwhile, Fort High graduates who returned for a “victory lap” this fall have savoured the extra time to decide on their post-secondary education.
“The extra time I had allowed me to really weigh my options, as well as talking to my friends who went into programs I was considering and getting their insights,” noted Kevin Metke.
“I think just having that extra time to decide [on a program] and grow up a bit is a pretty big advantage,” he reasoned.
“And, of course, more sports.”
“It has helped a great deal so far and I haven’t even had my co-op yet,” echoed Maxwell Williams.
“It’s given me another year to think and be confident on what I want to do in the future,” he noted.
Williams hopes to apply for a program within the field of biochemistry and wishes to specialize in medicine.
Metke, on the other hand, continues to mull opportunities in engineering programs.