Trail and error: My first year of university

By Rimsha Sayyed


Rimsha Sayyed is a first-year journalism and political science student at Carleton.

University is an exciting and scary idea all at the same time. It’s a chance to get a fresh start, a chance to move somewhere new and a chance to finally study what you want. My first year has flown by, and I am still having trouble grasping the fact that there’s only two more weeks left! It feels like just a month ago I was trying to remember where all the buildings were and how to navigate around campus without getting lost. Now I can find my way around campus and make use of the underground tunnels in my sleep.

Moving to a new city was definitely one of the hardest things to do. I am a homebody, and love being close to my family, so choosing Carleton was a tough choice, but after seeing the campus and looking further into my program it was definitely the right choice for me. Thankfully, I have two uncles who live here and moving in with one of them made the transition so much easier. It was still tough being away from my family but having people I knew close by was a big help. Plus with all the technology around us, calling up my friends and family at home makes it feel like they are still close by.

Studying Journalism and Political Science in Ottawa seemed perfect. The capital city, the home of Canadian parliament–I couldn’t help but think of all the opportunities I would have.  I already knew Ottawa and love the city. I have been visiting my uncle who’s lived here since I can remember. Already being familiar with the city made it a lot more comfortable for me and getting to explore it in a new way was an exciting idea.

The first few days of the semester are definitely intimidating but you have to remember that everyone else is in the same boat as you. We are all lost and just trying to make our first week’s lectures on time. I had to keep reminding myself that I don’t  need to be afraid to ask, everyone here has been in my place before and will be more than happy to help.

Making friends is another thing that was very frightening, but I had to keep in mind that everyone feels the same way, you just have to talk to people. Saying hello to whoever I am sitting beside in my lectures is how I’ve managed to make most of my friends. Plus it doesn’t hurt to have a lecture buddy to share notes with.

Looking back to the summer before school started, I have to admit I was pretty terrified and excited all at once. Now I feel like it has helped me mature in a new way. I’ve always been an independent person, but being in a new city away from everything familiar to you gives you a different type of independence. You are forced to talk to people around you and I feel that it has made me more observant. Commuting everywhere allows you to take in what’s going on around you and become more aware of your surrounding. At the beginning of this semester, my journalism professor told us that we would have to do an assignment that was modelled after Humans of New York. I remember sitting in the lecture hall terrified about the idea of having to approach a stranger in the middle of the street and interview them. My friend and I set out to downtown and spent almost four hours trying get the courage to go and talk to someone. After chickening out on every person we passed, we finally stepped up and talked to the next two people we saw. Surprisingly it wasn’t that hard. That was one of the biggest things that have changed for me. I love meeting new people but approaching people is something I struggle with. Being able to accomplish that was a pretty great feeling.

University is a whole new experience and I think I’ve had a very successful first year. Here’s hoping for three more successful years.


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