Are We in for a Big Surprise?

Written By: Cole Barkman

We all know that university and college applications are coming up fast. We’ve been informed and prepared by guidance counsellors for months, if not years, and yet there’s no getting around the constant nervousness and confusion that surrounds this huge next step in our lives. But just how much do we actually know? Even though it seems like we’re being ambushed with facts and instructions, aren’t we missing out on some major details?
So there’s the information we get from the guidance counsellors, the basic facts and hints on what to do, where to go, and how to get there. Then there’s the information we find on individual university websites, eLearning, myBlueprint and so on, which is, although helpful, not always consistent or up to date. Past that there are those stories of personal experience after high school from older friends and parents. What high school students typically end up with by the time they’ve done their share of research is a colourful mix of excitement, fear and expectation, brewing in the backs of their minds.
But why do we always seem to be left so clueless? Even after we’ve educated ourselves about things like minimum grade averages, student profiles, and possible placement options all over the country, we’re still left in a deep dark pit of obliviousness to everything else having to do with post-secondary choices. Where are the facts about living costs? Student housing? Counselling after high school? Workload? Curriculum? Class sizes? I could go on and on. Higher education is about more than just getting into the program you choose.
Maybe high school kids are purposely left in the dark when it comes to all these extra things because they’re supposed to be getting the experience of having to figure it all out on their own. It makes sense, and besides, no guidance counsellor has the time to track down every single student and inform them of each little opportunity or cost that may or may not arise during their future endeavours. I just think that there should be some place where this information is easily accessible. We shouldn’t have to be constantly worried about not knowing how things are going to turn out within less than a year, simply because no one talks about all of the changes we’re going to have to make in our everyday lives. Even kids who don’t worry about it are going to end up stressed when they finally make it to university and everything is totally different than they were expecting. We need to see pictures of the dorms they might be staying in, estimates of how expensive living in Montreal for four years might be, average costs of textbooks and supplies.
As crazy, fun, and enlightening as finding all of this stuff out for yourself is, I think we should be able to know more about the little things on the sidelines of university life than we already do. So many things end up getting overlooked in this hectic process.

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