5 Things I Tried For the First Time in University


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This title sounds totally misleading and slightly scandalous. But I’ll come clean. The only drug I’ve ever taken was Advil. Instead of partying up late at night, I was actually studying up late at night at the school library. The only drink with the word “alcoholic” in my fridge was my non-alcoholic sparkling wine. (Fancy, eh? 🍾)

As you can see, I may have missed out on a lot of things that many people do in their first year. Things like drinking, clubbing, you know the rest. But you know what? That’s okay, because everyone has different experiences that they’re meant to go through and learn from. So, here are five things I tried for the first time in university and definitely learned from (or am still learning from).



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1. Drinking Caffeine ☕️

I know what you’re thinking. Wow, this girl has not lived. But really, I never needed to depend on caffeine in high school and knew the ill effects of drinking it on a daily basis. But having flex dollars and a Starbucks right next to the library lured me into the drink consumed by millions daily. I didn’t drink it straight as coffee, but in the form of a sugary combination of milk, espresso, and caramel syrup known as Caramel Macchiato. I definitely felt like an adult sipping my iced Caramel Macchiato while typing away at my laptop in the library. I try to only drink this when I have to toil away the whole day on an essay. I’m more sensitive to caffeine and have stayed up till 5AM because of it. Definitely drink at your own caution!



Image: Erin Ho, Personal Photo

2. Pulling an All-nighter 😩😴😭

Now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, this girl is so soft and probably didn’t work hard in high school.” But really, I just finished my homework before 11:00pm and got my eight hours of sleep every night. Of course, this changed once midterms hit in first year.  I pulled my first all-nighter because my sociology and linguistics midterm were both on the same day. So you can imagine the stress and tenseness I was feeling that day. I felt so sluggish writing my midterms and immediately crashed once I got back to my dorm. It took a couple days to recuperate and get back into routine. Honestly, don’t pull all-nighters unless you really, really need too.


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 Image: Erin Ho, Personal Photo

3. Exploring Downtown Toronto by Myself 🏙

I had a lot of school field trips downtown and also went downtown with friends to eat and hang out. But first year was the first time I really explored downtown by myself. I hopped off the shuttle bus at Hart House and found myself wandering around the St. George campus with no guide other than Google Maps. I was trying to find Museum station to subway back home but instead weaved through all of U of T and wound up at the St. George station. It was nice relying on my own intuition and taking in the sites and sounds of the downtown campus. It was peaceful, calming, and I felt good finding my way around a new place. I highly recommend spending some alone time exploring new places to get refreshed.



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4. Letting Go of Friends 🙋🏻

First year was also the first time I learned to let go of friends. It’s natural for friends to drift apart but that doesn’t always mean the friendship is over. Later down the road, you may return to each other and reconnect. In first year, I learned that it’s okay to distance myself from people who I don’t feel comfortable with. It’s okay to let them go and not feel guilty about it. You don’t have to force yourself to be around people you don’t really like. It’s a hard but important lesson to go through.



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5. Drinking Alcohol 😱🍷🍺🍹

Hey, hey, I’m legal and a big kid too. I had my first alcoholic drink at a close friend’s New Years Eve party. It was a Mike’s Cold Hard Lemonade. Let me tell you, I took my time sipping that thing and felt hard core for finishing it. When I showed my friend, he laughed and pointed out the “5%” on the bottle’s wrapper. I was still proud I finished it. However, I was too ambitious to test my limit by trying out the various alcoholic drinks laid out on the table. Little did I know, I got tipsy after a couple sips, believed I could fly, and realized that a little bit of everything adds to a lot. Pro tip, always pace yourself and drink lots of H2O (it’s not an alcoholic drink, but one of the best drinks out there). 🚰


It feels good to come clean about certain things and I definitely learned more about my physical, emotional, and mental limits from trying new things out.

What are some things you tried for the first time in university? Come clean and let it out! It’ll make you feel light and warm inside.  🙂