I have spent about five years at school, and now I’m this close to graduating from UVic! Obviously, I’ll be so sad to leave, but I’m ready to open a new chapter in my life. I know some people say that, throughout their time at university or college, they didn’t really learn anything, but that isn’t true for me. I expected to not change much as a student or person when I first started at university, and that turned out very differently for me. So, as my very final article as a writer for Her Campus, I would like to share a few things that I have learned from my time throughout university.
1. It won’t be easy like high school
Seriously, when you ask me how my first semester was and if university is easy, I will cringe. Before I entered UVic, I was one of the top students at my high school and I even won the Best All Around student award. I got almost straight As, and I thought my first four classes would be alright. By December, I was practically crying myself to sleep because I did horrible in all of my classes and I honestly felt like I didn’t belong in university. It’s not the same as high school, where you can coast by in classes. For university, you have to sit down and work hard at learning so much material from daily lectures. Plus, the course load will almost always be heavy, so you’ll be way busy trying to complete everything. You have to be more self-disciplined and resourceful and, well, you actually have to study. So my advice is to read all the course outlines, put everything into a planner/calendar, and start studying as soon as possible! If you find yourself stuck or struggling, GO GET HELP AND TALK TO YOUR PROFESSORS. Seriously, they want to see their students succeed, and they will be happy to help you out!
But the good news is that it is possible to balance school, work, extracurricular activities, and fun!
2. Your major or plans in the future will change, in one or other ways
When I first entered university, I didn’t know what I would do for my career, although I got the idea that I wanted to study biology and go to medical school to be a doctor or surgeon. After one and a half years in university, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be happy if I pushed myself too much in a major that clearly made me so stressed. I realized that, if I wanted to have good chances for my applications to future graduate programs, or even medical or law school, I should switch to a slightly easier and more personally interesting major that I could enjoy AND excel in. So that’s what I did, and it paid off! My degree is in psychology now, but I wouldn’t count out medical school in my future options. My future plans have changed as well. I now want to go study in the States, and I hope it will happen, although I’m considering different options! So it’s totally normal to consider different plans and majors throughout university!
3. Your relationships and friendships will change, both for the better or worse
Honestly, I’ve drifted apart from about 98% of my friends from high school and I only keep in contact with a few people. The good news is that you’ll meet way more people at university, compared to high school! Sure, you won’t realistically make friends with the over 20,000 students here, but you will meet at least some like-minded people whom you want to be friends with. My advice is to get out of your room when you have some time to spare, and check out all the different organizations and events! Who knows? You might find something that you’re super interested in, and you’ll meet new people!
And even if first or second year passes by and you still find yourself lonely, trust me— that’s a normal feeling. People will come and go over the years, and that’s totally normal. People change, and they get busy. I fell out of contact with several people I met in first year, and I didn’t meet most of my wonderful friends until my third or fourth year! There’s hope.
4. You will change for sure
When I look back, I realize that I have changed A LOT. I used to be a very shy and awkward person who often got lonely. I limited myself to studying all the time and not going out. That changed sometime during my second and third years when I decided that I needed to be more outgoing and I wanted to meet new people. Now, I’m a more of a confident and outgoing person. My 18-year-old self would look at me with pure pride and joy.
You will also be surprised at how you’ll change. For example, I didn’t expect to do a degree in psychology and volunteer as a research assistant. I also didn’t expect to be involved in many different organizations! I ended up joining a sorority, although I didn’t really think of myself as the sorority girl type beforehand. You might be surprised at how you’ll get brave enough to try new and different things, and actually enjoy it! I mean, I didn’t expect to join Her Campus because I had never heard of it before. But I still tried, and I ended up being passionate about everything I joined (such as HerCampus!).
5. You will make fun memories and you will feel like four or five years have gone by too fast
I still think the reality of college isn’t the same as how it is in movies and television. College isn’t an everlasting raging party; the reality is very different and difficult. But I can say that you will still have fun and create new and fun memories throughout university. And at the end, you’ll feel like it has gone too fast and you wish you had some more time.
University is a place where you go to learn, but you’ll learn more than just in classes. I’ll be a bit sad when I graduate, but I know that I learned a lot about life and myself through my time at UVic, and I know I’ll bring these lessons with me throughout my life.
BONUS: What I won’t miss about university: tests, going to early classes in the morning, and having to go up to the washrooms on the second floor of the library on many mornings because somehow the ladies’ bathroom is out of order at 9 a.m.