It’s hard for me to believe that come September I’ll be in my last year of university.

It sounds corny but it feels like just yesterday I was moving into residence on campus, meeting my greatest friends for the first time and experiencing the start of a whole new life. Over the past 3 years I’ve learned a lot of big lessons, some of which I will share here today.

  • Independence is important

This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned. It more so applies to those who move away for university – but can also apply to those living at home. The independence you gain while at university is crucial to your development. You learn how to get places on your own, manage your own time without reading deadlines, plan your days out well and for the most part learn to live on your own.

If I hadn’t moved away for university I don’t think I would have realized how much being away from home and being responsible for myself would help me grow as a person and into an “adult” (sounds strange to say). But being independent and having responsibilities helps to transition you from each stage of your life to the next.

  • Grades are important – but are not the MOST important

I guess it depends on what family you come from, but good grades were always the number one priority in my house. I was always your average student in high school, bringing in a mix of B’s and A’s but when I got to university I felt a lot of pressure to get good marks. I think it’s because the standards are so much higher and an A in university is a lot different than an A in high school.

I’ve spent many nights stressed, anxious, nervous, in tears about being so scared of getting a bad mark on an exam or on an assignment. It’s taken 3 years but I finally have learned not to feel so much pressure about it. You have to realize that once you have studied or worked on something and you have put all of your effort into it, all you can do is try your best. 20 years from now I won’t even remember the bad mark on an assignment I got during my undergrad. We all have good marks and bad marks – so we shouldn’t stress too much about them because it really isn’t worth it. 

  • It’s OK to not be friends with EVERYONE

This is something that actually took me longer than you would think to realize and understand. When you move away for school, you are usually forced to leave some of your friends from high school behind. Now, it is totally possible you will stay in touch with a lot of your good friends, however when you start a new life in university, your life changes and most likely you change too. You have to realize that it’s okay to change and make new friends. It’s sad when you aren’t close to someone anymore but you have to remember that everything works out for the best and hey – you never know maybe that person will be a close friend again in the future. Part of this is also realizing that it’s okay to not want to be friends with someone you meet in university. Unlike high school, you aren’t forced to hang out with anyone and its really the time where you get to make the most decisions for yourself when it comes to your future.

  • Not knowing what you want is normal

One thing that I still struggle with is accepting that not knowing what I want in the future is okay – it’s normal actually. In high school there is this expectation to choose a subject that you will be dedicating the next who knows how many years to. However, you are allowed and able to change your mind as time passes and your opinions change. For example, I initially was enrolled in a psychology program. After my first year of university I had a moment where I realized I wasn’t really interested in psychology. However, I did enjoy the communication class I was in and after my first year I changed my major to communication – and it was the best decision I could have made.

As for the future, I will be hopefully continuing my studies past my undergrad however I still am unsure on what I want to do, and objectively I look at the situation and I’m still so young, I have a lot of time to figure it out. You don’t always need to know what you want 100%, its okay to just go with the flow of time and see what comes your way.

 Overall, there are many things that I have learned while in university and I’m sure there are many more things I will learn this year. It is only normal that our opinions and perspectives change over time and its important that we accept that things will not always remain the same. I hope in my last year of school to find more clarity and knowledge that will help me transition from this year to the next.