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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Ontario, Canada

    Petrified about starting university...

    This isn't parenting-related but I want to hear honest thoughts and opinions from people who I don't know in real life and don't make assumptions about me. Also, I'd like to hear from adults who've been through this, not friends my own age (amazing as they are).

    I'll be starting my first year as a journalism major at [supposedly] one of the most well-known universities in Canada for journalism. I love reading and writing and words in general, and I do read the news a lot. (I'm an Anglophile and love British newspapers, especially the Telegraph, despite the criticism...) So I think it'll be a program I enjoy.

    But today I went to an orientation where the faculty and a panel of second-year students told us what to expect and answered our questions. They said our marks are probably going to drop significantly from what they were in high school, especially at first. Our assignments would be returned with red marks literally everywhere. And everyone else there is into writing. I was never top of the class in anything in high school but I got pretty good marks in general, and especially since most people were into math and science, writing was kind of my "thing". I'm so scared for that to change and just don't know what to make of it.

    I guess what scares me the most is that the students who spoke to us said journalism and news pieces are pretty much the opposite of English class and essays. Flowery writing and lots of detail is discouraged. If you haven't been able to tell from my posts, my writing style is rather elaborate and [when done well] that's what I often like reading. I can totally see the need for and appreciate conciseness in news articles, but I guess... I guess I'm just not sure I can do it. And finding a balance between creating/keeping my own personal writing style and producing what's expected of me.

    If anyone's curious, I won't be living on campus but in student housing nearby. Home is in a suburb of the same city, so I'll be close enough to see my family and friends on weekends sometimes (but too far to commute every day). I'm not as worried about that since it's a great residence and I've stayed there before doing a summer program.

    Sorry for the really long rant but I'm just so nervous and scared. I admit I'm a worrywart and everyone says I'm going to be fine, but the cynic in me is like, well what else would they say? Rationalizing, sympathy, practical advice, anything is welcome in spades. Thanks a lot Berries, you're amazing!
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  2. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a writer, but I did go to college and earn a degree (in education, if that matters).

    Yes, you will have to work harder than you did in high school...but that's kind of the point. If this is the right program for you, however, it should also be more high-interest for you, more motivating, and more rewarding than most of the courses you were taking in high school. It's easy to put that kind of effort into something that you care about, that feels purposeful to you. It sounds like you're a good student. I don't think you need to worry about it.

    Journalism is a different than creative writing and even the sorts of essays you probably had to write in high school. It's more like technical writing. The purpose of most high school expository writing assignments are for you to show what you know, to show the depth of your understanding, so the more details the better. When you're writing for, say, a newspaper, you're providing the audience with facts. You should still have an element of style in your writing, but it's much less about your voice than other types of writing. It might be hard at first for you to find the balance, but that's usually the case when trying something new. You'll get the hang of it.

    Also, I know it can be hard to alter the way you do things to please someone else, especially when it's in a creative field like writing or art, because it can feel like you're giving up your vision and voice. Just remember, the professors are trying to help you develop a marketable skill. Sometimes your creativity has to be watered down to suit the consumer, unfortunately. But, even if you do end up in a situation where you feel the professor's critique of your writing is dead wrong and you really don't want to bend to his/her will...remember, it's just a school assignment. Do it for your grade.
    Mommy to...Maura Lucille and Patrick Donley

  3. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    I can honestly say first year uni drained me of all love of writing, I sill achieved high marks but it felt really forced. In my third year I took creative writing for my arts elective and I regained much of my love of writing, though research papers still make me gag. Your marks may or may not drop it all depends on how much time you put in to studying, I think I averaged ~30 hours a week of out-of-class study time during my Biology program.
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Hey, I'd love to give you some reassuring words, but I'm in the same boat. I start September 3rd, a different field, but I'm still super nervous, I'm hoping orientation on Friday helps soothe my fears instead of making them worse. My main fear is what if I chose the wrong field, what if I'm not good at what I want to do, etc etc etc. It also doesn't help that I feel like I need to live up to my Fiances GPA that he is currently achieving at the same school. Hopefully some advice you receive makes me feel better too!

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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    You'll be fine! If you find it's not working out, or you're thoroughly dissatisfied, don't be afraid to chart a new course. Part of the education is discovering who you are. (I'm stuck being an attorney, because I didn't have the courage to defy expectations/mandates and do what I would have loved.)

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