Student Voices: The truth about being a first year student | Work of Arts
Student Voices: The truth about being a first year student | Work of Arts

Student Voices: The truth about being a first year student

Andrea Barr reflects on the path of discovery she’s taken over the past year as a first year Arts student.

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author.

One of my teachers in high school told me that some people at an early age have a clear idea of what they want to be “when they grow up”; others start university and begin to find what they are passionate about along the way. I was certain that I fell into the first category considering psychology is something that I have been interested in and passionate about since junior high. When I started university in September, there was no doubt in my mind that I knew exactly what I was going to do and who I was going to be in life.

Five months later, the same sentiment is not true. The truth about being a first year student is that I’ve changed my mind. Countless times. Throughout my first semester I have discovered new areas of study and I have started to develop new interests. Course descriptions for classes that I previously never would have thought to look at have appealed to me, and I re-assembled my winter schedule more times than I thought Beartracks would allow.

photo 2While academics are, of course, important, I’ve discovered that being a first year student is about so much more than classes and studying. (Don’t worry Mom and Dad, this does not mean that I don’t work hard!) During fall finals I found myself having a quarter-life crisis where I began questioning everything I was doing, and I felt an intense pressure to figure “everything” out.

However, by taking a step back and looking around campus at my peers, I realized that I’m not alone in this confusion. The Faculty of Arts provides a plethora of different subject areas to study, and the flexibility to try as many classes from as many disciplines as possible has been an incredible experience.

I cannot tell you much about what I learnt in stats, but I can talk for hours about the friends I made and the things I experienced this semester. I cannot tell you where I’m going to be in five years, but I’ve learned that predicting the future is something that no one can do. Between taking an introductory drama course to taking creative writing, being a student in the Faculty of Arts has given me the gift of exploration; I am beginning to learn that university classes are not about the mechanics of the subject as much as they are about learning more about myself.

The Faculty of Arts provides a plethora of different subject areas to study, and the flexibility to try as many classes from as many disciplines as possible has been an incredible experience.

For example, stats taught me more about my ability to mentally invest in a textbook that I don’t understand than it did about statistics. Drama taught me about how I interact both with myself and with the world around me. It also taught me about the concept of acting on impulse and not overthinking every action I make.

I came into this year thinking that I knew exactly who I wanted to be in life (whatever that really means…), but throughout my first year — including every class I’ve taken, every interaction I’ve had and every memory I’ve created — I have learnt something extremely important: university is not about studying to become “someone” down the road, rather it is about giving myself the space and freedom to appreciate, in all of the confusion and lack of direction and indecisiveness, the person I am today.


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About Andrea Barr

Andrea Barr

Andrea Barr is a first year student in the Faculty of Arts majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing. She is from Calgary and this year is fortunate enough to be living with a group of incredible people on 8 Kelsey, in Lister Centre. For as long as Andrea can remember, she has always pushed the boundaries; If someone told her to do A, she would do B just to see what happened. When it came time to apply for University, there was never a question in her mind about what she would be taking. Writing gives her the freedom to explore the small anecdotes of life and Psychology allows her to search further into the reasonings behind them. Not to mention that the Faculty of Arts offers some incredibly exciting electives which gives her the space to expand her love of the arts with courses including Drama and Scandinavian Fairy Tales. In Andrea's spare time you can often find her either skiing, travelling (or perhaps day dreaming about travelling), out with friends, or most frequently -- drinking hot chocolate in bed while watching Grey's Anatomy. Andrea looks forward to sharing her journey as a first year student in the Faculty of Arts, and throughout the craziness of this year she will continue to keep in mind her favourite quote: “Because I dream of being a writer, I tend to embrace the insanity.”