Fall is quite significant, both in the beauty it brings to nature and the myriad of students it brings to UW. For many students, the fall term is their first university experience. While COVID-19 restricts us from studying and interacting in person, I still believe that the fall term is very important, especially for first years.
The 1A term is the foundational term for university students. Most concepts taught in the first term carry forward to future terms. I actively use many mathematical proof methods that I’ve learned in 1A (MATH 135) and I’ve even applied them to solve complex graph theory problems as recently as my 2B term. A good grasp of prerequisite concepts gave me the confidence to tackle challenging problems in advanced math and computer science courses. This confidence empowers me to freely pursue what I love without getting lost in theory or being unable to solve problems, something that demotivates many of us.
A good first term is essential as it is the easiest period of university in terms of academic workload which only grows exponentially after that. This, along with other responsibilities that accrue over the course of university, means that it is plausible for one to have a couple rough academic terms over their university journey. Knowing one’s true potential through academic prowess in their first year assures them of their capabilities and is a huge morale booster.
Even with social distancing, first year is a good time to meet new people. Making friends and acquaintances is an important part of university life, and the best time to do so is in the beginning. This is when most students haven’t met each other so they feel encouraged to be extroverted and make new friends.
Ultimately, it is what you make of it. For me, my first term was the most exciting experience of my life where I started a new chapter with some of the best people I’ve ever known, and I wish the same for all of you too.