30 Mar 2021

Class of 2020 Sharing – Joanne Du

  1. Your name

Joanne Du

  1. Your university and major

I’m a prospective Biochemistry major (currently undeclared but working on fulfilling the prerequisites) at Bowdoin College.

  1. What are the challenges in transitioning from high school to university?

You may lose access to your support system, resources, and interests, having to build them anew on an entirely different continent. It can be frustrating to introduce yourself for the millionth time when you remember being able to rely on people you had known since childhood. However, it can also be liberating: the only expectations that define you are yours.

  1. What is the greatest experience in your first year university studies?

I remember walking back to my dorm one afternoon without getting lost for the first time, when I realised that I would never be a stranger on that campus again. The best feeling as a new university student is knowing that every struggle and triumph you have ever experienced has led you to a place where you belong.

  1. What is the biggest challenge that you have had so far in your year one study (e.g. home sick)?

I didn’t know what was expected of me, and so I tried to do everything. I took on perhaps too many extracurriculars and spent hours on assignments that probably should have only taken thirty minutes. As a result, towards the end of the first semester, I didn’t have much time to socialise, eat, or sleep. I subsisted on boxes of cold grilled chicken, salad, and an average of four hours of sleep. I do not recommend that lifestyle. It didn’t make me a better or more successful student; just a tired one. If you feel like you’re sacrificing quality for quantity in your studies or other commitments, you may want to take a step back and consider whether it’s worth it.

  1. Tips / advice to the STC high school students on their HE planning / applications?

Try not to panic, because fear is generally fueled by doubt and uncertainty, I recommend research, research and more research; we have the whole Internet at our disposal, after all. Even if you don’t find the precise answers you’re looking for, what you do find may prompt you to consider what you want out of HE and life afterwards in greater depth.