Reflecting on University: Life Lessons Learned Beyond the Classroom

As my time at university comes to a close, I have found myself repeatedly confronted by various realizations, some more profound than others. While anticipating the last days and moments I will spend at the place I have called home for the last four years, with twinges of nostalgia and other sentimental thoughts bubbling to the surface, here are a few of the major life lessons I have taken away. 

1. Friends come and go from your life. Live in the moment to cherish the memories you make while you're together.

There's nothing quite like transition periods to see who your potential lifelong friends really are. While the leap from high school to university holds the promise of reuniting with old friends when you come back home, university friendships do not hold that same promise. With most of us scattered across the country or even the globe, it can be hard to say goodbye to friends when you don't know when, or even if, you'll ever see them again. The best advice I can offer with this realization is to invest some solid time and effort into making memories with those you care about. People inevitably move in and out of your life, but you control the memories you hold onto and what you learn from them. 

2. Even if you think you finally know it all, you probably (definitely) don't.

Many people find comfort in holding onto some of the routine and predictability of life. On this front, university life can have some very good as well as tragically bad days. Obviously, it's important not to give up, but finding a happy balance between control and leaving some things for the universe to handle can make your life a whole lot easier. This looks different for different people, but you don't have to let stress take over your entire life. Although this is easier said than done. 

3. Take a minute to ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing. 

Is it for your parents? Your reputation? Just because you think you're supposed to? Or really because deep down you want to? We can't always have what we want, but we might as well make it as easy for ourselves as possible. 

4. Be grateful. 

This one speaks for itself. Gratitude can be powerful. 

5. As much as possible, surround yourself with people who you love and who challenge you.

As life goes on, there is more and more opportunity to pick your friends based on actual similarities in values and interests, rather than relying on proximity by default. Take this opportunity to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and really surround yourself with people who push you to be the best version of yourself.