From first to fourth: four lessons to learn before leaving university
Abbie Riglin, Photo Editor
It’s bittersweet but my time as a student is coming to an end. On one hand I’m happy to be done with school, but on the other I’m leaving the safety net that organized education has become. Soon I’ll no longer have student benefits, and I’ll be forced to trade in my partially premade class schedule for a job search. I’ll have to navigate myself. It’s not easy saying goodbye to something so familiar, but I’ve realized that this is a step I’m ready for as I prepare myself for my last first day.
I’ve been reflecting on how the past four years have changed my values, beliefs, and outlooks on life. Sure, you change as you grow up, that will always be true, but university has caused my life to be turbulent in terms of my knowledge, the people I meet, and the events I experience. It’s never stagnant and my days are forever changing, meaning I’ve gotten to change too.
1. You’re better than you think
I struggled academically in high school and thought this would follow me to university. But it turns out that once I find topics I’m interested in, I excel. I’m no longer a procrastinator (not as severely as I was), and it’s become easy for me to prioritize tasks.
This isn’t always true for everyone, but it can be translated in different ways. Whether it be school, jobs, or hobbies, everyone has something they’re good at. It might take a few tries, but that’s okay. The only expectations you have to follow are your own.
2. Choose who you put your energy into
You can meet friends anywhere, but the relationships have to be more purposeful, and they take more effort. University class sizes are typically much larger and more often than not, you experience each class with a different set of people, so in order to keep and explore friendships you have to explicitly find time to be together.
This might have been the hardest lesson to learn, but it also made me more mindful about what I put my energy into. Friendship is a two-way street, but you also have to surround yourself with people who realize that you might have other matters of importance in your life, and they probably do too.
3. The world doesn’t hate you
Through my university experience I’ve become more open-minded. It’s easy as a young person to assume that the world is against you. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that people are willing to help and listen to you, they might not just understand.
Intermingling with people who have had different upbringings than me has allowed me to see that sometimes people just have never had access to the resources to educate themselves. I can even say I’ve been one of those people and if I can change and grow, so can others. It’s hard to understand, and easy to judge something you’ve never experienced, but it’s a choice to accept it and learn more.
4. Let loose a little
The final and possibly the most important thing I’ve realized is that university and your early 20s is also a time for fun, and that indulging your inner kid is important, no matter what that looks like.
Your education is still important, you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t, but it’s also not everything. There’s time for playing video games, a midnight ice cream run, hanging out with friends, and treating yourself to a spa day. It has taken me time to learn a work-life-school balance, and I think I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life, but I know I’ll never be as free again as I am now.
Everyone has different lessons to learn but saying goodbye to comfortable habits, friends, opinions and places doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Mount Royal has held a lot of those comforts for me in the past four years. It wasn’t until recently I learned that, but passing on the knowledge of accepting change within myself might be the final step into rest of my life.