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As a fourth-year student, I’m back in that all-too-familiar headspace of being excited about all of the inevitable change that will come in the next 12 months, and yet for the same reason, dreading what’s coming.

I’ve always been a big fan of school (I know, I know, hugely unpopular opinion here) – there’s just something about having a guaranteed fresh start every September, the neverending opportunities to stumble across something new to learn, and the thrill of meeting strangers who become friends just as quickly as leaves fall off trees in campus courtyards in the fall. Though I’ve had an amazing time at Western, it seems like it passed in the blink of an eye. I can’t speak for anyone else, but first year is as fresh in my memory as yesterday. I like to think that I haven’t taken my time here for granted, and yet, in facing the reality of being in my last year at Western, I feel a kind of melancholy I can’t quite describe.

Maybe it’s the fact that I, much like everyone else, lost a year of school to a pandemic. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of my friends will likely be done school forever after undergrad, or maybe it’s just that I’m not quite ready to give up my coffee-and-library daily routine. Whatever the reason may be, it just feels like even though I’m excited for what’s to come, I’m nowhere near ready to let go of everything that I’ve come to love here. Obviously I’m aware that this sentiment is nowhere near new and that this is just one of those so-called “growing pains,” but I’m shocked at how potent it is this year compared to when I was a senior in high school – I never considered what I would be losing in exchange for new experiences when I left my hometown.

Of course, I know this feeling is probably much stronger for those who will be done with school after this school year – congratulations to you! As someone who is looking to get into professional school myself, I’m fortunately (or unfortunately) nowhere near done with school. I find that even though I have years of school still left ahead of me, however, I’m going to miss the unique experience of undergrad for what it was.

Allow me to explain. As a child, I knew I wanted to go into medicine and become a doctor. All the work that I’ve done in recent years has been part of achieving that goal, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have made it this far. And yet, despite all that excitement around being one step closer to doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing, I find that I’m not quite ready to give up learning things pertaining to other disciplines just to study medical science for the rest of my life. See, in the last three years, I’ve grown to develop some other (albeit smaller) dreams on the side. One of those dreams has been learning new languages, which I’ve actively worked at in undergrad through Western’s Italian program. Now, it feels like I have to swap in my dreams of learning Italian–or any other non-science discipline–for my dreams of pursuing medicine; in other words, a stark reminder that I can’t really have it all.

I know it’s really not all that dramatic, but one of my biggest fears in leaving undergrad behind is that I’ll never get the chance to learn all of the things I want to learn in my lifetime. Behind the facade of saying I’ll lose electives and no longer be able to regularly study at Weldon is this behemoth fear of not being able to do and learn everything I want to before I die. Obviously this is a *touch* overdramatic in nature, but this has been one of the biggest things I’ve had to confront in trying to soak up every last day of my time at Western. It seems like Western has come to stand in for a sense of freedom before “marrying,” for lack of better words, my future career, making it that much harder to leave.

It’s not all that bleak, though. After steeping in these thoughts for a few months, I think that while I haven’t quite got the perfect solution for these problems, I’ve found a bit of peace in some of what I’ve reflected on. Ultimately, while I’ve loved undergrad, I’ve also enjoyed other periods of my life in the past just to grow out of them later. I’ve realized that while I appreciated them whilst being in the midst of them, I am perfectly happy to be wherever I am in my life when I look back on them. The truth is, if you told me 4 years ago that I would have loved my undergrad experience this much, I likely wouldn’t have believed you. Not because I never anticipated that I would like undergrad, but because at 16, I couldn’t even begin to anticipate all the things that would happen to me that would make me love undergrad so much. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that people grow and change. Along with that, the things we like ebb and flow, no more resistant to change than you and I. The best part about this though? The fact that the reason we change and the things we like change is because we never really stop learning. Whether it takes place inside a classroom or not, learning is always happening and will continue to happen so long as I accept the challenge to take part in it.

So, while I have immensely enjoyed my time at Western for what it was and will continue to appreciate every last minute I have here, I know that this isn’t the first place I’ve learned things and it certainly won’t be the last. Cheers to change my friends!

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Supreet is the VP Events for Her Campus Western! She is a fourth year student at Western, pursuing a double major in physiology and interdisciplinary medical sciences, with a minor in Italian. When she's not writing articles about her favourite popstars or planning events, she likes to read, binge-watch her favourite shows and movies on Netflix, and test out new hobbies like kickboxing or pilates.
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