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It’s crazy to think that this time last year I was in my family home, in a different city, with a completely different outlook. I’ve carried those memories with me through the transition back onto campus… and just like that, it’s time to write my final article for the semester! Getting to document a semester in my writing has been so interesting, so why not give it a proper ending! I don’t know about you, but the past few months have been a whirlwind. Now that I’m wrapping up this chapter… I have some thoughts. 

Let’s reflect on the semester, shall we? Here are my three greatest takeaways.

  1. Urgency is Everywhere, But It Doesn’t Have to Be

I have never felt so compelled to take on as much as possible. Any job, club, position, or social commitment felt like it had to be my first priority. Do you know what should have been my first priority? Myself. 

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with keeping busy, but there also isn’t anything wrong with self-preservation (it’s actually pretty cool). As students, we so often put urgency on a pedestal. What this semester has taught me is that eventually urgency becomes overly present, and we lose sight of what is truly urgent. Plus, most things aren’t nearly as urgent as they seem. 

There are still ways to lead purposeful, full lives that one can actually keep up with and enjoy. Just because it’s easy to bump into urgency doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to champion or fixate on. I know, what a hot take!

  1.  Everyone is Different, So Be Intentional With Your Questions.

I’ll be the first to say it… a lot of what we’ve experienced as young adults right now is ~unprecedented~. So, there’s been a lot of judgement and little patience in our social circles. Some of us became so used to moving as a collective that we’ve forgotten our own abilities to make decisions. I don’t even mean big decisions. Personally, I’d never struggled with calling my own shots, but after losing trust in what I knew to be true, and living with my family for a year – making decisions as a pack – I find myself doubtful of even the little things. This doesn’t have to be the case!

In the past few weeks, however, I’ve come to honour the ways in which I might think differently than others. For better or for worse, everyone will see the same thing from different perspectives. Awareness of that helps us be intentional with who and what we ask. Fine-tuning who you trust is a skill that needs to be exercised constantly. What better way to do so than listening to yourself? 

(This is a rhetorical question) (Or is it…?)

  1. The Best Time to Feel Better is Right Now.

Students live life by a strict timeline (reading week, midterms, final exams, repeat). Our assigned calendars give us a structure that we use to dictate even our personal timelines. 

Feeling stressed? Deal with it after finals. Need to book necessary appointments and run errands? Wait for reading week

We often ignore what we need, and justify doing so using the energy of that week of classes. What happens next is not ideal: we lose ourselves, and the experiences we were so excited for becoming dimmer. 

Instead of waiting for a window to help us feel better, we can acknowledge the value of making that window ourselves. If we wait for the most convenient opportunity to foster joy…. We’ll be waiting for a long, long time. 

That’s it for my takeaways! I hope to carry these takeaways with me into next semester, and every season of life that follows. This might be a big ask of myself, but the least I can do is try.

Best of luck with the finals, everyone!

Emma Viner

Queen's U '22

Emma Viner is a fourth year Drama student at Queen's University. She loves theatre, comedy, and exploring various avenues of creative expression.
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