From familiar to the unknown

September is here and along with it, the arrival of the class of 2027. Students from across Canada and the world began the first step of their Mt. A careers. Entering university has its mix of new unknowns in terms of social life and class work.  


Transitioning to a new place is not easy. There are new faces, a bed that is not your own, and a whole new level of classroom challenges. From homework, to social life, and everything in between, this freshman class is learning how to manage university life. A big question is what has the transition from high school to university been like for some of these students? 

I recently spoke with first-year students, Nash Toomey and Veronica Sawyer, hoping to find an answer to this question.


Toomey, a first-year biology student from Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia,, touched on the importance of feeling at home. “[The] transition was a little challenging since I was the only one from my friend group going to Mt. A,” he said. “However, I soon met some great people that make me feel like I’m at home.” For those entering Mt. A, it seems the tight-knit student body and a welcoming residence life provides a home-like setting for new students. 


Sawyer, a first-year aviation student from Placentia, Newfoundland , said she found the transition a challenging one, but “one that [she is] highly enjoying.” She spoke about her academics: “I found high school academics to move slower as I went to a small school and I was often bored, but here, everything is fast-paced and much more intense.” Sawyer continues to balance her schedule in a new place but said she is “adjusting well as [she has] been looking forward to university for a long time[…]” 


For Toomey, who was an IB student in high school, the workload is “no different.” His social life is more or less the same; “I’m very introverted, so I tend to hang out with the same people.” A difference for him, however,  is the sense of belonging. “Mt. A seems like [a] community, whereas high school did not have that feeling,” he said.


In contrast, Sawyer maintained that the academics here are the biggest difference for her, “My high school was too small to offer advanced courses such as IB and AP classes,” she said. While classes may be more challenging, Sawyer is “greatly enjoying [them] all the same”. 


No matter where we are in life, there are always going to be challenges to tackle and adjustments to make. University can be daunting. With this new experience comes an opportunity to be tested, all while learning more about ourselves. For Toomey and Sawyer, the transition into social life and academics differs. While some students may ease into one aspect, others may find another aspect more difficult. What matters most is what you make of this new experience.

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