15 Things I Learned in my First Semester of University

List first, or food first? List first, or food first? List first, or food first? 

I couldn’t really decide, and played around with alternating parts of my list with pictures of food from my winter break. But then I switched the list back to the top. Then to the bottom. Then I didn’t like that, and put it back to the top… you get the point.

Anyways, here is a quickie list that I compiled during my first semester of university that I didn’t quite know/understand beforehand.

15 Things I Learned during my 1st Semester of University

  1. You are stronger than you know – physically and mentally. University will challenge this and before you know it, you’ll emerge an even stronger person. 🙂
  2. Call your professors “Professor _____” or “Dr. _____”! I learned this one by mistake. One time, I accidentally referred to a Doctor as “Mrs. _____” and was corrected by another faculty member. It was pretty embarrassing, but I didn’t make that mistake again. On the other hand, some teachers prefer being called by their first name! Some of my teachers like it when we refer to them as “Rick” or “Michael”. Most of them, though, like to be called “Professor ______” – it’s the safest name for a student to call them!
  3. You’ll rely on friends much more than you did in high school, whether that’s for due dates, study help, or extra hair ties.
  4. Course names were initially the most confusing thing in the world. What the heck is 302? 210? All courses in universities have a “code”, usually three numbers. For example, my first-year Biology class is called Bio 130, and my Neuroscience class is Kin 155. Students refer to the classes as simply their course numbers! As in, “hey, do you remember what Bill said in 104 this morning?”
  5. Appreciate the little things that you have now, that you may not have later. Dishwashers, now that I think about it, are blessings. Laundry baskets that aren’t broken. Cars – and wearing a seatbelt! Having a dog. Having family around you to make you smile 24/7 (okay, maybe not 24/7). Appreciate family, car rides, towel hooks, windows that open more than four inches, and dishwashers.
  6. Take advantage of all the things your school offers.
  7. Keep your eyes open for cool opportunities. It’s so important to find something that de-stresses you. University is NOT an easy ride, and the pent-up stress can be truly overwhelming.
  8. Professors don’t really care about you. Well, they do, but not the way your high school teachers did. It’s a completely different world. You are responsible for yourself.
  9. What’s popular is not always right, and what’s right is not always popular. Totally cliche, but this applies to my life (and yours, too!) in so many ways.
  10. Microwaved leftovers make the absolute best lunches. Quick, effortless, and totally delicious – what more could you want?
  11. Textbooks are a nightmare. Those stupid things are heavy, cost a fortune, take up desk space, and are “required” for a course but used, well, once in the entire semester. Maybe twice if you’re lucky.
  12. It’s okay to get lost. Carry a map, explore a new place, and see where that weird new path will take you.
  13. Stay connected with old friends and family.
  14. University is not as hard as you think.
  15. Try as many new things as you can, even if you THINK you won’t like them. Chances are, you will, and while you’re at it, you’ll meet new people!

Whew! Enough about school. Let’s look at food! I did end up making lots of things on my cooking/baking bucket list, like cauliflower pizza, smoothies, and blondies. 🙂 Gotta take advantage of that food processor while I can!

Things I Made/Ate: Winter Holiday Edition

DSC09767 DSC09766

  • Cauliflower crust pizza made with goat cheese, pesto, and cheddar // carrot cake oatmeal with crushed coconut cashews and almond butter
DSC09773 DSC09777
  • Lentil loaf, spinach Greek yogurt mac and cheese, garlic green beans
DSC09780 DSC09789 DSC09791
  • Vegan peanut butter cup pie with chocolate ganache, peanut butter tofu silk filling, and coconut graham crust
  • Spelt pancakes with banana, nut butter, and peanut butter tofu cream with raspberries, crushed nuts, and honey
DSC09836 DSC09842
  • Puffed tofu with cabbage, shrimp scrambled eggs, Chinese chicken salad with cucumbers and sesame dressing, maple-soy salmon, and broccoli-carrot stir-fry
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  • Chocolate-dipped “Rolos” made with dates and peanut butter
DSC09829 DSC09867
  • Arnie // mushroom and cheddar omelet
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  • Green smoothie with banana, flax, chia, cinnamon, spinach, almond milk, peanut butter, topped with raspberries, hemp hearts, crushed coconut cashews
DSC09870 DSC09873
  • Quinoa “sushi” with salmon, cucumbers, egg, avocado (Mom is a sushi PRO!) // curried butternut squash soup
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  • Flourless almond butter chocolate chip blondies made with chickpeas. I swapped PB + honey for almond butter and maple. These turned out so well, and our guests were stunned to find out that these are protein-rich, sugar-free, and totally flourless. The entire batch disappeared in less than two hours! Check out the recipe 🙂
  • Enjoyed with some cool, creamy Greek yogurt and cinnamon

Did you eat anything special at home recently? Have a scrumptious rest of the week, friends! 🙂

12 thoughts on “15 Things I Learned in my First Semester of University

  1. Wow! It has been just one week since you’ve gone back to Waterloo. I miss you so much already! I remember all the food you made during you days off at home. You are such a good cook and your food ideas are so awesome! I always amazed by your secret ingredients!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The things I remember the most / have taken with me in life are all the things I learned outside of a text book. University will teach you so many things about life and about yourself… and I think it is these things that are the most important. They really are some of the best years of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lot of very handy info on your list of 15. Wish I’d had it 40 yrs ago … or something similar. Not everyone has parents or older siblings who have gone to university and can pass on such helpful info. When I taught a uni course in bio for non-science majors, I made it a point to use/refer to the textbook in my lectures and supplement it with additional info. After all, we made the students BUY the darned thing. 🙂

    Some very pretty dishes on your post today. A few familiar but also some new ideas that I’ll try to keep in mind for days when I can’t figure out what to throw together from what’s in the fridge/freezer. Last night’s ham, scrambled egg, sliced cheese, guac and salsa tortilla wrap (there were only 2 left in the package) was a great snack AND a handy work lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I made it a point to use/refer to the textbook in my lectures and supplement it with additional info.” THANK YOU! If only professors everywhere could take a cue from you. 🙂

      Your ham, egg, and cheese wrap with Mexican flair sounds SO fantastic! I’ll bet it made a fantastic lunch as well. Thanks for the inspiration – haven’t had wraps in such a long time, and eggy wraps are my favourite.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your list 🙂 Got me thinking about all the little things that have taken me by surprise since starting uni – there are definitely quite a few! And thanks for sharing some of your holiday cooking. Everything looks so good. I hope you had an absolutely wonderful holiday back home. When do you start school?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment made me really happy! And that’s such a great point about how we get used to these things and they become the norm over time. I started school on Monday, the 4th. Today was my third day of classes. 😛 When do you start?


  5. I love all of these tips–AND food, hahaha! I totally agree with the textbooks and appreciation of little things tips! I HATE heavy textbooks that you only use once a year 😦
    These all sound like great recipe ideas too! The lentil loaf, chocolate chip blondies and quinoa sushi, especially!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Girl, tell me about the textbooks… in the past three days, I spent a grand total of grander than $900 on textbooks and course notes! I’m so glad you think they look yummy. Have you tried any of those recipes? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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