What I Learned in My 4 Years of Post-Secondary

Well, I never thought I’d be writing this article. 

I am graduating in two weeks, and I am terrified. When I say that I didn’t think I’d be writing this article, I meant it. I have failed so many times in these past four years, I did not think I would come out stronger than I was when I got here. Although, I think that is the beauty of the post-secondary experience. Failing, making mistakes, finding yourself is all part of the process and it is actually a wonderful thing. 

This article is dedicated to students who are graduating, who are about to start post-secondary, or maybe even an adult who is going back to school. Whoever you are, this advice might help you with your next adventure. 

  1. 1. Make AT LEAST One Friend

    white long sleeve shirt sitting on grass

    For my introverts out there, this might not be the easiest thing to do, but I believe in you! Having a good support system is probably one of the most important things when it comes to success in your post-secondary experience. 

    I was personally very lucky because I met amazing people on my residence floor. The people with who I lived in such close quarters my first year have turned out to be some of my best friends and I know they will be lifelong friends. Before university, I was a pretty shy girl who was not very good at meeting new people. I knew that I worked too hard to get into Queen’s and that I was not going to waste my years here by not meeting new people. So I told myself to pretend I was the biggest extrovert and not be afraid to meet people. Luckily, I met amazing people that have all helped me learn new things and lessons along the way.  Having at least one friend who can help you keep on top of your studying while also being your go-to for dinner, parties, and library dates will help you in your post-secondary journey. 

  2. 2. Talk to Your Teachers

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    Teachers, professors and TAs’ main job is to help you learn and thrive. Although, it might not seem like that, especially because your teacher might have up to 200+ students. When I was in my first year, many of my classes were intro courses where the class sizes were 100+ students. I was scared to talk to my professors because I didn’t think they cared or would remember me. It wasn’t until my third year when I started to introduce myself to the professor after the first class. I started to email my teachers and TA’s when I had a question, and I have never had a teacher dismiss me. 

    Now, you might run into some teachers that are not super kind and helpful. If you do, try emailing or talking to another teacher in the same department. Chances are another teacher might have some insight or ideas to help you with a certain topic or question you have. Teachers are not all scary, most teachers actually like when students engage with them. It shows initiative and commitment to your studies. 

  3. 3. Perfection is Subjective

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    The only ‘perfect’ that matters, is your kind of perfect. When I was first handing in assignments, I had no idea how hard or easy they’d be marked. I was constantly nervous that my paper would not meet the standards of my professors, which then spiralled into thoughts of being kicked out of school because I didn’t get an A on a paper. If only I knew how NOT true that was back then. 

    There is no perfect paper or assignment, there is always room for improvement. Tests are a different story if you can somehow get 100% on a multiple-choice test. Even with tests, if you don’t get the best mark or the mark you wanted, that test does not define you. That test or assignment you got a C+ or B- on will not be the reason you don’t succeed later on in life. All you can do is do what you think YOUR best work is. The work that you are proud of is the work that means the most and hopefully, your teachers will notice the effort that you did your best. 

  4. 4. Listen to Nike and…

    JUST DO IT! Jump in that dance circle during Frosh Week. Start that assignment a week early. Introduce yourself to someone new. Volunteer. Make mistakes. Sing. Learn guitar. Be yourself. Find yourself. Whatever it is that would make you happy, this is the time to do it. Be responsible during this time, but don’t be timid. 

    I am so thankful that I did everything possible to have the university experience I always dreamed about. These past four years have shaped me into the mature and fun woman I am today. I made a lot of things happen for myself and I dared to stay true to my values while also learning new qualities about myself. If I didn’t just do a lot of things during these past four years, I would not be so well-rounded and open as I am now. 

    New experiences are scary, but even after all the highs and lows, I wouldn’t change anything. I’m going to miss being a student. In these next few weeks, I’m going to soak in every moment of living with my best friends and reminiscing my entire experience at university. I don’t know what is next, but isn’t that the beauty of graduating? Excitement for what is next is on the horizon, but if you asked me to do it all over again, my answer is 110%!

Thank you Her Campus for all the amazing opportunities; writing has given me so much joy and expression in these past four years.