Student Voices: Highlights of my First Year | Work of Arts
Student Voices: Highlights of my First Year | Work of Arts

Student Voices: Highlights of my First Year

From late night “grail hunts” to a third-year Scandinavian literature class, Arts student Andrea Barr recaps the highlights of an amazing first year.

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. 

This morning I was walking through quad on my way to my second class, and out of nowhere I was hit with an overwhelming sense of happiness. Nothing particularly exciting preceded this feeling; I was simply thinking about how happy I am at the U of A, how much I love university in general and how fortunate I am to be so passionate about the courses I’m taking. Narrowing down the highlights of my first year is difficult because there were many, but if I had to pick a couple, this is what they would be:

Academic Highlights

In regards to Academics, the highlight of my first year is the Scandinavian Fairy Tales course that I took first semester. Last spring when I registered for classes, I did not know that SCAND 355 meant that it was a third year course. There were no prerequisites so I unknowingly signed myself up. In high school, English was my favourite subject and I was used to being one of the strongest in the class. This course challenged that. I was a confused first-year in a classroom full of third- and fourth-year English and Comparative Literature majors. This course was an amazing experience because I was challenged to push myself and to think about things in a different light. Being surrounded by peers who were further ahead in their education motivated me to improve my own skills in English studies, and has me looking forward to taking more literature courses down the road.

Social Highlights (On Campus)

The biggest social highlight for me this year was the Drama 149 class I took first semester. The size and nature of first year classes typically makes it difficult to connect with people on a personal level. However, this course was small and the level of engagement made it impossible not to get to know my classmates, and in turn, make a new group of friends. This course pushed me to think about the way I interact with others and taught me about the importance of fully committing myself to what I am doing — even when I’m uncomfortable. As we got to know each other better, groups of us would go for breakfast after class or meet for drinks in the evening. A lot of time outside of class was required to work on the midterm and final, and the bond that grew between us as we poured our hearts and souls into our projects was a major highlight of my first year.

“This course pushed me to think about the way I interact with others and taught me about the importance of fully committing myself to what I am doing.”

Social Highlights (In Residence)


Living in Lister was a highlight within itself, and narrowing down a favourite memory is a difficult thing to do. In January we had King-Louis, a week-long competition between all of the floors in Kelsey Hall. There were events including “grail hunts” where we followed clues leading us from building to building around campus late at night; 2 a.m. “Engineers” dodgeball where one person on each team had to build a tower of cups while the other team threw balls, trying to knock the towers down; and scavenger hunts where we make videos like “Lister Cribs,” “Stuff Listerites Say,” and a remake of the “You Make My Dreams Come True” scene from 500 Days of Summer. Although we had already been living together for a semester, this week-long event helped my floor to bond even further and was definitely a highlight of my year in Lister.

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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.”