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Fourth Year Reflections

Before you know it, four years goes by in a flash. One day you’re living in rez, trying to make friends and worrying about what finals are like, the next you’re just trying to find a job and find the motivation to finish your classes. Your years here at uOttawa go by quicker than you can even believe. At the end of my four years, I decided to think about my experience here at uO, and here’s what I learned.

1. You’ll make friends every year, even in fourth year.

I have friends that I met during frosh week and have remained good friends with the whole time. I also have friends that I made during this past semester and who have become my close friends. I consider myself very lucky to have people around me that made my university experience so memorable. I hope that even as we all move to different parts of the country/world and go down different paths, we remain close friends.

2. Some classes will break your soul, some will be awesome.

You take a lot of classes in university – some will make you love your program, love a subject or excited for your future, and some will break your soul. The ones you love will be awesome – you’ll look forward to going to class (most times) and look forward to learning new things. This was me with my Italian class – I loved my 5:30pm class where I got to embrace the Italian culture and learn a new language. On the other hand, some classes will leave you crying, stressed and feeling hopeless. I don’t usually get visibly upset after exams, but after my Managerial Accounting final I called my parents crying, thinking that I had failed. The class broke any small like I had for accounting (which was extremely little to being with) and was not a good memory.

3. Find yourself, be yourself.

Starting university, I was kind of unsure of who I wanted to be. I wanted to fit in, find friends and have a good time, but I also wasn’t sure if I liked the drinking culture and other aspects of university. Four years later, I have become (mostly) unapologetically me. I don’t like to party, I spend a lot of time studying, I like to travel and I’m obsessed with baby goats. I love my family more than anything in this world and I love food. After four years, I found who I am; university taught me a lot about how valuable it is to know who you are and I’m glad to have found me after 4 years.

4. Take care of yourself!

Everyone says this, but it’s definitely the most valuable thing you can learn. Taking care of yourself is so important; mental, physical and emotional health is extremely important in university. If you find classes, work or relationships are overwhelming, take a break. Go for a walk by yourself, go to the gym, eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – do what makes you happy. It is only to your benefit to do what you need to take care of yourself!

5. Find your happiness.

Over 4 years of university, I finally figured out what makes me happy. I spent a lot of my two years of university somewhat unhappy – not really liking Ottawa, feeling a little out of place with my peers, missing home, not sure about my degree. Finally, this semester, I feel (mostly) happy about everything and know what things make me the happiest. Spending time with my friends but also spending time by myself. Calling my mom and grandmother every week to check in. Sitting along the Rideau Canal locks watching boats go through in the summer. Going to the gym in the morning. This is what makes me happiest and keeps me happy. Finding your happiness will allow you to deal with all the stress, uncertainty and worry that comes with being in university without having some sort of mental breakdown. University is 4 years long, but happiness is forever!

It goes by fast, but you got this collegiettes! Enjoy every moment!

Avid baby goat enthusiast who crossed the border from Boston, MA to study at uOttawa. I love writing about anything and everything!
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