With the semester halfway done, university has been nothing short of a truly amazing experience. Engineering is a very extensive program at Queen's and the workload is nothing short of legendary. With five midterms completed, I am already preparing for another three in the next two weeks. Granted many would say that is quite an extensive amount of work, but I honestly would not trade it for the world. My favorite is the fact that there are so many different people of differing backgrounds in your classes that you are able to experience a variety of new ideas and techniques.
University life is quite interesting, but all the same I realize that it is not that far from high school. In all the midterms are far easier than I anticipated, though credit must be given to my previous teachers for having given me a good foundation of knowledge. The main difference is that in the midterms, the questions are not things you have practiced, though they are the same concepts, often they are questions with multi-level variations integrated to ensure that you have a good grasp of a multitude of concepts in one problem. Due to the high number of kids in classes, the number of evaluations on which your mark is based are quite low, thus everything has a significant impact. Time management is crucial, though it is often said that in the triangle of university Engineering (eating, sleeping, and success) at any given time you can only choose two. However, you come to realize that you do have the time to do all that you need to do; it just comes down to willpower, and time management.
Frosh week was an amazing experience. Here at Queen's all engineers have a tradition of dying themselves purple with outrageous haircuts and the leaders, called Frecs, take the time to 'welcome' the new group of engineering to Queen's. The week was filled with multitude of activities, and finished off with the infamous Pole climb. The pole climb is where all the engineering students are taken to a remote location in order to climb this greased pole as a frosh faculty. It builds a sense of teamwork, and requires that the engineers come together to solve their first problem as a group. Best of all at the end of the first semester, all those who have acquired the marks to move on are given an engineering full leather jacket with their graduating year imprinted.
For extracurricular activities there are a wide range of things that you can do, the sole problem I find is that there is not enough time in the day for someone to pursue all of their endeavors in the Engineering faculty. Having been offered the opportunity to play University Basketball, I had to defer the offer for the semester until I am able to resume practice and commit to the team. Nonetheless, it is quite an experience in itself. One of my goals is to learn the piano, as there are hundreds of kids who can play, and a lot of great teachers.
Lastly, Residence is a lot of fun. Granted since you have a lot of different people in different faculties on the same floor, it can get pretty loud especially for kids in less strenuous faculties. However, the library is always open, and often you can inform them that you need some quiet time, and they will gladly move somewhere else. The dons, are quite funny and strict at times, as they should be. The dons often plan floor outings, where everyone on a floor will go for dinner, or out of town for tours etc... Though the food is not like home, it is very good. They try to alternate weekly as to what is on the menu and have quite a lot of specials and meal equivalencies which allows you to purchase meals all over the town using a student card plan.
In all it is quite the experience, and I aim to update on a bi-weekly basis as to what is happening at the university thus far. Sitting in my residence, overlooking Lake Ontario I truly am both grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to be a Schulich Leader, allowing me to experience university on a different measure. And so diary until we meet again, I bid you adieu.
Sincerely, Clifford Lerebours