A Teen’s Opinion on the University Experience

Written by Hana, Teen Volunteer
Halifax Public Libraries' Teen Blog is written by and for teens. Discover more posts here., opens a new window

I recently finished my first semester of University, and let me tell you—it was very rough. I always knew University would be hard, but I never imagined that it would be this hard.

High school was very stressful too, but I now understand the true meaning of stress after starting University. In high school, all I worried about was getting into University. But now that I am here, all I worry about is maintaining a good academic performance. This is my future that we're talking about after all.


University gives a whole new perspective and definition to homework. In high school, I struggled to balance four courses. In University, I now struggle to balance the work of six courses, with every course being very dense as the actual "term" is only 2.5 months. So imagine trying to keep on top of all the labs, reports, assignments, and papers.


I enjoyed my science labs in high school. I particularly enjoyed my Chemistry ones as I found them convenient and easy to do. The same could not be said about my Physics labs as I always despised them.

However, in University, I hate all labs! Labs are not easy! We usually have 3-hour labs, where you have to do a pre-lab assignment and post-lab report.


The syllabus (for most courses) says that "the student should spend about 1.5-2 hours a day studying for a course outside of class." Ok, so with six courses, theoretically speaking, I should be spending 9-12 hours a day studying. This is very interesting as I spend about 7 hours a day sleeping and about 8 hours at University. So the rest of my time, which is 9 hours, should be spent studying with no room for eating or relaxing.

University life is so enjoyable! However, it can be difficult to enjoy campus life to the fullest as most days I spend around 6 hours outside of class studying, and usually, I am not studying all of my courses. Finding a balance between studying and taking care of yourself is hard.


University exams are very interesting. I have found myself being tested on material that was not taken in the course, nor was the material a prerequisite for the course. Some professors will allow a cheat sheet for your test, but trust me, it will be useless as the course material and test will have nothing in common. The best thing to hope for is that the Professor will reassure you that the test will be straightforward and that there are no trick questions (ahem, Physics).


I've noticed something very funny at University. The more I study, the worse I seem to do in the course—which does not make sense at all.

Also, in University, they do not use a numerical grade system; instead, they use the letter system (A, A-, A+, etc.…). Also, you never get to know your exam grades. This can be shocking and different from what you are used to, or what you anticipate. Instead of wishing for good grades in University, you will just hope that you pass.

In the end…..

Don't worry, even though University is a little rough at first, you will get used to it.

Remember, you are adjusting to something new. Just do your best, and if you need help, ask for help. Try to build a good relationship with your Professor, and go into any extra help sessions being offered, even if you don't feel like you need the help.

About the writer

Hello. My name is Hana and I am in my first year of University. Whenever I happen to have free time, I enjoy reading, writing and exploring. However, that doesn't happen often.