Hello second-years, sophomores – or rather, sophomores who are more like freshmen. It’s not your fault if you feel like you are a first-year trying to swim in a sea that is your university campus filled with unfamiliar faces, college jargon and an overload of work. If it’s all a little too much and you’re experiencing more emotions than you thought even existed, you are not alone.
To all those who suffered from experiencing their debut into college from the comfort of their childhood home, if you have no idea what you are doing, you will be just fine. Being in a real library, not being able to press pause on your lectures and trying to adjust to yet another challenge whipped your way is not easy. And while it can be quite tempting to forget, it probably isn’t all that straightforward for the person sitting next to you. Even though you feel like you’re the only person who is lost, you most certainly are not.
As you integrate yourself into campus life for the very first time, hold onto this article. While masks and what feels like millions of COVID-19 protocols are preventing you from truly embracing the bliss of your 20s, fear not. Ten years down the line, you’ll look back on this part of your life as a period of personal growth, perseverance and above all, courage. But in the meantime, let the motherly guidance below help you as you find your way around campus, without losing yourself.
Whenever I find myself feeling unsettled and unsure of whether I’m on the right path, I remind myself of the three following things:
- Even though I’m now on campus and I’ve moved in with people I love, it’s hard feeling like this is where I’m supposed to be. And frankly, there’s nobody to blame. To say our frosh year was unconventional would not even begin to describe how strange it really was. This unfortunately means that feeling a true sense of community on campus won’t happen overnight. As much as you can, try to take yourself out of your apartment and drag your loads of work down to the library. Take a trip to your school’s bar or go-to hangout spot. You never know who you might run into.
- Now that COVID-19 is less prominent in our lives, restaurants are opening and life as we once knew it doesn’t seem so far away. However, fewer restrictions come with a cost. It’s vital that you remain mindful of the fact that last year, while you may have had all the time in the world for school and school only, your college years are so much more than textbooks and final exams. These 4 years are a part of your life – do not lose touch with whatever brings you peace and puts a smile on your face. Hold yourself accountable to keeping up with your favourite activities that make hard days a little lighter to carry. Take a walk when you’re tense or dig up your favourite book when you can’t sleep. Your study sessions can afford being reduced by a couple of hours if it means that you are devoting time to relaxing while rediscovering whatever it is you adore most.
- Lastly, but definitely not least, as simple as it may seem, when I’m down or feeling low, I always write. Not only because I love it and could do so for hours on end but because it creates a space for me to process the thoughts weighing on my mind. When you journal and take note of whatever is bringing you down, you are able to reflect on what is working in your life and what you’d like to change. And this is how we as human beings can become more self-aware and make proactive change. In the age of trying to do it all without looking like you’re falling apart, you don’t need to have it all figured out. Part of growing up is learning to cope not only with drowning in work, but understanding that if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re headed in the right direction. In reality, persevering through this confusion speaks to your character. It proves just how tenacious you are for accepting change and doing it like a champion. Believe in yourself and be kind with your head & your heart.