Note to self: The first day doesn’t matter that much
Hannah Grace Wang
The first of anything is always exciting, especially the first day of university. There’s something about starting a fresh semester that just fills me with ambition. For me, the first day of university means new opportunities to learn about what I’m passionate about, to create meaningful experiences, and to build new relationships. Despite all the excitement, however, the first day of university can also be nerve-wracking. Finding your classes, meeting your professors, and getting to know your peers can all feel daunting.
I know we tend to put a lot of weight on “firsts,” and there’s truth in the belief that first impressions are important, but I also think the hype surrounding the first day of university is overrated and, quite frankly, unnecessary. It’s okay if your first day does not go exactly as you might’ve imagined. We all react to changes in routine differently, and there’s no need to put undue pressure on ourselves to have the perfect first day. You don’t need to have everything figured out on your first day. Just surviving is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Plus, every day can be a new first day, so just do your best today.
Unraveling the significance of day one in university
The first day of university is a blank canvas that is ready to be painted with new experiences, friendships, and knowledge. Personally, it holds immense significance as it represents more than just a date on the calendar. The first day signifies a new chapter and a fresh beginning. With them, you can reinvent yourself with new possibilities. I have the freedom in my hands to choose my future and begin the life I always wanted, which provides me with future ambitions and dreams knowing that the first day is just the start and that I can explore all the opportunities around me.
The first day of university also means that I have achieved a great privilege. The beginning of each year represents all the hard work that I have done in the past that brought me to this point in my life. It is this work that achieved my dreams of coming to university—dreams that symbolized a transformative journey of education, growth, and self-discovery.
Experiencing the first day of university means that I get to experience the livelihood of the UTM campus, meet new people in classes, and study subjects that I am passionate about. The first day signifies independence, a step toward adulthood, and the realization that I’m creating my own destiny.
I’ll never know the dread of Labour Day again
September 6 will be my last ever “first day of school.” It will be the last time I ever mark a syllabus up with a pink highlighter and inky gel pen, full of good intentions for the semester. My final time telling myself, “This year I’m doing things differently! No waiting until the last minute, I’ll start papers the day they’re assigned!” It’s almost like a second New Year’s, a second chance in 2023. We make resolutions we likely won’t keep through finals—if even the second week of classes.
I find myself browsing cable-knit sweaters and knee-high boots, like September isn’t just as steaming hot as August. I save meal prep recipes to my Pinterest board and stock up on coffee pods like I’d seriously pass up Starbucks.
I’ve missed hanging out on the leather couches in Deerfield where the drama classes take place. I’ve missed getting kicked out of study rooms with my friends by people who reserved them, immediately after we’ve sprawled out our laptops, iced coffees, and winter coats. I miss these things, present tense, because this year I’ll do all of them for the last time. I’ll never know the dread of Labour Day again.
The first day of university arrives with a gathering of aspirations nurtured since childhood. I stand at the crossroads of my journey, gazing at the horizon that stretches beyond the campus of the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). This day isn’t just the start of my academic pursuit; it’s the realization of a dream that began long before these hallowed halls.
As a child, I’d wander the outskirts of UTM, a place filled with an allure that captured my imagination. I remember gazing at the energetic and swarming students, envisioning myself amongst them. The desire to one day step onto these grounds, to be part of the academia that thrived within.
Today as I finally tread the paths I once daydreamed of, I am reminded of a quote from Marcel Proust, who says, “The real voyage of discovery… consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” The first day of university isn’t just a milestone; it’s a rekindling of childlike wonder—an opportunity to see familiar places anew through the lens of newfound maturity.
With each step, echoes of my younger self whisper in the wind urging me forward. The memory of wanting to be old enough to board the bus to campus and be a part of a friend group whose laughter lights up the halls has now transformed into a reality. The journey wasn’t just about reaching this day, it was about the transformation within me— the eager child growing into the determined scholar. As Lao Tzu puts it, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”