Generational Differences Between First and Fourth Year Students



Many may disagree, but there are generational and cultural differences between first and fourth year students at Laurier Brantford. 


Although the age gap between first and fourth year students is often only a couple of years, we act and think very differently from one another. This is possibly due to our different experiences. 


At the same time, there are still some similarities between us that tie us all together to make us one generation. 


Life, for most, has changed a lot in under a year. Leaving many people with different perspectives on how things should be operating. 


The following question was asked to two first year students, a fourth year student and a fifth year student; in your opinion, how do you think school should be operated during this pandemic?


Here are their responses:


“I think the way they are doing it now is ok, what I want changed is the lack of social interaction. I wish they would split up the classes to help social distancing so we can have more social interactions.” said Daniella Ciummelli, a first year student. 


“Maybe they could do something like what my highschool is doing, where it is split into two different groups and days.” Ciummelli says.


“Given the circumstances, the University has done an incredible job in providing our education” said Alexa Ford, another first year student here at Laurier.


“Most efficient and effective ways.” Ford said generously.


Upper year students see this topic differently. 


“I find that the online learning is not very satisfactory […]. Studying on campus could’ve been possible especially considering how the younger children are at school,” said Kierstyn Matthews, a fifth year student.


 “I think it could be possible but I know that this is challenging for the institution,” Matthews said.


“I think the school is doing a good job at delivering classes without us having to be in person,” a fourth year student, Bliss Donahue-Power, said.  “I agree that we shouldn’t have gone back to in person teaching.” 


Many of the first years expressed wanting to be able to get the first year experience they have been waiting for. 


This experience includes meeting new people, parties, making new friends, having roommates and so much more.


It’s hard and unsafe for many of the first year students to do many of these. 


Whereas the upper year students expressed that online learning is not an adequate substitute for them. 


Most students agreed that the school is doing their best, but they are struggling with the new online learning environment.


Students can learn to use the new online environment to their advantage though. Many clubs and associations are doing zoom call meetings.


There are various opportunities available, whether you want to become a general member, or to even be a part of their executive teams.


“I applied for the residence council because I wanted to get involved, it was getting quiet and I wanted the University experience of meeting new people and I am glad I did.” Ciummelli said, clearly demonstrating how one can make remote learning and/or interacting a positive thing!


If you are feeling down due to the challenges of online classes, students have online access to many school resources. 


For example, the wellness centre is hosting a Thrive Week with fun activities on Instagram and lots of opportunities to win prizes. 


They are not the only ones; other clubs like the Laurier student food bank is having a cupcake contest this month. 


“The school has been very resourceful and the professors have been very understanding.” Alexa shared when providing her experience when she reached out to get the help that she needed.


According to fourth year Donahue-Power, there are certain resources that are not available for access this year, even though they have been able to be accessed in her past three years here at Laurier. 


Having the knowledge of a fourth year student is great, as a lot of first year students did not know.


The interviewees were asked a couple of personal questions about their childhood and what they can remember about their lives before COVID.


All interviewees were asked what their favourite childhood photo or toy was when growing up.


Ciummelli and Ford both described a picture of their families together that helped represent an amazing moment in both of their lives.


Donahue-Power discussed how she used to be very obsessed with Barbie dollswhat little girl wasn’t! 


Kierstyn talked about her soccer photos from when she was younger and how having a scooter in the neighbourhood classified you as “cool.”


Going outside all the time with friends on our scooters, making new friends while playing soccer, many physical photos of family, and many Barbie dolls on the floor of my house. 


Of course everyone’s childhood is different for many reasons but, many of us can agree with the fact that our childhood was probably more fun than other times in our lives.


No matter what year one is at university or college, everyone is in the same boat. We are all struggling to reach our goals right now and achieve our dreams.


University is a fun place but also a challenging one, this has been and will always be the case so that we can grow into better people.


Many people do not like school, but the community needs to work together to help each other out.


Of course there are differences between first years, fourth years and fifth years, but from the findings of the interviews, there are similarities too. 


All in all, everyone is different in many ways but, also very similar; you just have to ask the right questions.

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