You’ve probably read about Nikhil’s experience repeating his first year, or my experience about almost failing 1B. But what about the non-academic stuff? Back in first year, was my first time ever being away from home, and after a month into first year, I really missed being at home. You could say that I was pretty spoiled since my parents would help me with what I call the essentials (making food, washing clothes, grocery shopping) which I now have to deal with on my own. So here’s a list of things that I screwed up hard, which really stuck with me ever since my 1A term.

  • I was pretty bad in terms of managing the food I bought from the store. This might seem obvious, but every time when I go out and buy food, leave it in my fridge for sometime, then when I take it out I realized that its already gone bad. Now I do know that food goes bad after a certain amount of time (duh), but because I was “spoiled” by my parents for taking care of the essentials for me, I was still sort of in that mindset that food would still be good the next time when I reach in to grab it. This reminds me about that one time where I made some food, completely forgot about it, and then when I reached in to eat it, it already changed colours and gave off a funny smell…aannnndd it had to be thrown out. I don’t like wasting food, so this was pretty much a wake-up call telling me to get my shit together.
  • I almost burnt down the entire apartment. No kidding, I was really close. I was at home working on my physics assignment that was due the next day, and I was hungry. I still had a ton of questions that I need to get through first, so I decided to multitask and make food while doing my assignment. BAD IDEA! I was too focused on my assignment, and I eventually forgot that I had the stove running. Luckily my roommate found out about it and quickly turned the stove off and opened all the windows, otherwise that would’ve been pretttty bad. This was another wake-up call for me not to multitask between making food and rushing to get my assignment done, or even if you do, sit somewhere near the stove so that you would know that it is on.
  • Manage your time carefully! Ok, this is sort of academic-related, but in 1A, I decided to participate in my first ever hackathon (yay)! It was held on a weekend, and normally I do all my grocery shopping and laundry stuff on the weekend in preparation for the upcoming week, that way it won’t get in the way of what I need to do during the week (going to classes, cram my assignments, etc.). That was pretty bad, because after the hackathon was over, I was too tired to do the other stuff that I need to do, so I went to sleep. On top of grocery shopping and doing laundry, I had my calculus, physics, and chemistry assignments due on Thursday (?), none of which I started. I had to somehow cram those in during the week. Those assignments was pretttty hard from what I remember, and when Wednesday night came around, I only finished like 15% of each assignment. I had no choice but to pull an all-nighter to get those stuff done for the next day. On top of that, I STILL haven’t done my laundry or bought grocery for this week because I was busy cramming these assignments. This was a huge slap to my face, reminding me that next time, I should manage my time properly.
  • Do what you need to do to not be sick. This sounds ridiculous, but there’s a reason for that. I don’t remember how I got sick, so let’s just say that somehow I got sick which I then realized that I could have easily avoided it. This was pretty bad, because the term was ending and the profs are cramming in material that they need to teach that will be on the final. I ended up skipping the last few days of classes, which then resulted in me learning the stuff that I missed where I could’ve been actually preparing for the final. Not only that, but again, I had a couple days worth of laundry and dishes that needed to be dealt with.

Despite the fact that I messed up during my 1A term, it was something that was pretty much gonna happen. I mean, your parent’s aren’t gonna feed you for life, so everybody will need to learn how to be independent sooner or later. After learning from these “life lessons”, my 1B and 2A terms was a lot better (and safer for my roommates! 😛 )

David Vuong