Things I Learned During My Undergrad Year
As I approach the end of my undergraduate year, I begin to think about what my plans are after graduation. But more often than not, I also catch myself recalling the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met who have made these four years worthwhile.
When I look back to the person I was entering my first year of university, I am amazed to see just how much I’ve grown into who I am now. Back then, I was shy and kept to myself. I am still just as quiet then as I am today; however, I am more confident in myself, I am more independent, and I am not afraid to put myself in unfamiliar situations. It is because of the people I know that I am able to note these observations. But more importantly, it is because of my realization that at the end of the day, I only have myself to depend on. There are people who are more than happy to support me, but they will not always be available. Now, I fully understand that if I want my life to change for the better, I have to rely on myself and believe in my potential.
Here are a few things I’ve learned during my undergraduate year:
- Everyone is different.
We may all attend the same school and live under the same roof, but our backgrounds, values, goals, personalities, and preferences are all different. Therefore, the experience you create for yourself in university will not be the same as your peers and that’s okay.
- Meet other people.
During my first year of university, I was lucky enough to be able to live in the same residence with my best friend from high school. There is comfort and security in knowing a friend is with you during this novel, exciting chapter of your life, but don’t let this advantage hold you back from meeting other people.
- Do the assigned readings!!
When I attended the orientation, nobody really addressed this to me. I suppose I should have figured it out on my own, but reading the assigned texts prior to the first day of classes is important. Not only that, but it is essential to understanding what the lecture will be about. Most students sell their old textbooks and some professors are okay with using an older version of the books. You just have to ask to make sure. 🙂
- Try new things.
Investigate what resources are available to you (i.e. Club Days). I think it is important to involve yourself in things you enjoy. If you are unsure of your commitment to something, you can always try something else. I believe in the phrase “Know your limit, stay within it”, but going beyond your comfort zone can be beneficial. For example, I visited Club Days and found a volunteer club I was interested in. I was able to make friends with people who shared the same interests me, while also participating in something I enjoy.
- It’s okay to feel frustrated multiple times throughout the school year.
I certainly have had many occasions in which I thought that I was too incompetent to complete an assignment. I’ve also had moments in which I would cry and scream because of the stress that have accumulated with trying to balance school work, extracurricular activities, time to yourself, time for friends, and more. It’s important to remember that these are signs of hard work, care, growth, and maturity.
- Take advantage of the trails at school.
As for someone who enjoys walks, I am grateful to be able to access an abundant amount of trails on campus whenever I please. Nature walks are an easy way to relieve stress and clear your mind. Which reminds me, I still need to set up a snowshoeing date with friends…
- The friendships you make will last a lifetime.
The people you meet in class and outside of it will be some of the most memorable people in your life. They will be people you have study groups with, share laughs with, cry with, etc. You might also meet people who are in a different year as you and become friends with them. I know that for me, I know some people who are in their second or third year of university and I will miss leaving them behind. So make sure to visit and stay in touch with them. You are both their friend and mentor.
Last but certainly not least, laugh wholeheartedly every day and always set new goals for yourself. Approach each new day with an open mind, a kind heart, and confidence. University will be the quickest and most notable years of your life. And now, I would like to end with one of my favourite quotations ever:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw
Mikee Layaoen is a fourth year student in the Psychology program minoring in Human Resources