WHAT UNIVERSITY TAUGHT ME

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Whatever Wednesday

Ah, alas…my last university advice/tips post is here. I’ve done a few of these, I think both of the one’s I had done came at the end of my first and second years. Well, technically on Friday, I’m done University forever. Unfortunately, I do need a few more classes so summer school here I come!

Of course, as many people do, I’ve learned a lot in university. I mean, I came into university at 17 years old and I’m leaving here at 20 and it’s super hard to believe. So here I’ve compiled a short list of the few things University has taught me over the past three years. Of course, these are just a few, but I hope they’re helpful!

1. DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR HEALTH, ALWAYS!

I’ve discussed this in a previous post, but as a few of you know, I’m going to be graduating from university a year earlier than expected. The reason for this is simple…university just isn’t for me. It took me a while to come to terms with this fact but when I did, I felt so much better and I really knew I was making the right decision for myself and my future. My anxiety was at a high and it was difficult to get up in the morning. I knew continuing on doing something I was seriously unhappy with was not good for my health in any way. Don’t be embarrassed, or worried about your decisions if you know in your heart that it is the right decision for you.

2. FAILING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE

In high school, my grades were fine, in fact, I never failed anything. I came into university with this unrealistic expectation of just how difficult some of the assignments were going to be. Then reality hit me in first year, where I received some of the lowest grades I’ve ever gotten and failed, a lot. I started to doubt myself and the more I doubted myself the worse my grades got. I let my grades define me and didn’t even recognize that high school is so different than university, especially when it comes to grades. Once I started taking pressure off myself to get 80’s and 90’s for every assignment, I started getting the grades I wanted, and truthfully, that wasn’t until this year. Never let your grades bring you down, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. They’re just grades.

“Don’t-believe-everything-you-think.”

3. PEOPLE COME, PEOPLE GO

I’ve met a lot of new friends in university, but I’ve also lost contact with a lot of them. I’ve also lost contact with a lot of people from high school, and of course, this is all normal. These really are the years that I started recognizing that at least to me, quality friendships were way more important than the quantity of friendships I had. Find the people who make you the happiest, that you can tell anything, and that you can be yourself around…those are the friends that will keep university fun at all times. And always keep in mind that sometimes, friendships will end, but that’s completely fine, especially if they were unhealthy friendships in the first place.

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4. PROFESSORS ARE NOT EVIL, AND THEY WILL ACCOMADATE YOU

As far as school goes, this is 100% one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. It’s super easy to get overwhelmed with your course load, no matter what program or year you’re in. And it always seems that I have these few weeks where nothing is due, and then all of a sudden right before reading week I have 7 assignments due all in the same week. Of course, prioritizing is important. But sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with everything and for me this is when I started procrastinating. It wasn’t until a second-year class that I realized that professors, at least most of them, do care about their students. Simple as this: not every professor needs a reason as to why you need an extension. And the key to asking for an extension for most professors? JUST ASK. That’s right! It actually works. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you know you can’t finish the work in time, just ask the professor for some extra time. Now, I’m not saying to do this for every assignment. However, if you’re professors know you’re a reliable student who typically has assignments done in time, they will almost always have no problem giving you the extra time.

5. YOUR LOANS ARE REAL MONEY?

The loans you receive, whether it’s a government loan or a bank loan is really money that you will REALLY have to pay back. I admit is, I was a complete idiot with my loans/money at one point, not even thinking about the fact that I would be the one having to pay back the money. Work at understand your finances, budgeting, and checking on your bank account always to make sure you’re not stupidly spending. I promise you, in the long run this will help you so much.

but most importantly…
6. IT’S OKAY NOT TO FEEL OKAY (MENTAL HEALTH)

Similar to #1, I just wanted to remind you that it is okay, to not feel okay. Mental Health is real, and it’s not something you should ignore, and it is definitely not something to feel bad about. It’s important to know that you don’t have to deal with your health alone. Many universities (almost all I hope), will have a place where you can go and talk to someone about the way you’re feeling. When I first realized that not only my anxiety was at an all-time high, but I was depressed, I was  scared. I felt very alone and like I had no one to talk to about how I was feeling. It wasn’t until I talked to a friend who turned out to be in the exact same situation, that I found out my school had a student wellness centre where I could talk to someone without feeling judged for anything. It also turned out that my school had a hotline, mental health classes, and even clubs which helped get the word out about Mental Health and how it is nothing to be ashamed of. Never be ashamed of anything you’re feeling. Talk to someone! You’re definitely not alone.

mental health

I hope some of this advice helps you! University has been one of the biggest life lessons in so many different ways. In no way do I regret attending, and I’m excited to graduate, but it is time for me to move on to the next adventure!

AG XO

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2 thoughts on “WHAT UNIVERSITY TAUGHT ME”

  1. Louise Koslik says:

    Ali Grace you are indeed a beautiful, strong and courageous young woman! As Thoreau said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined”. Enjoy your next adventure!

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