Farewell Undergrad: I Will Never Regret You

Just over four years ago, I attended the first day of the first year of my undergrad. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I certainly had no idea what to expect. I had just spent the last year of high school listening to teachers tell me how difficult university was and, although I was ready to take the step and move on from high school, I was completely terrified.

If you’ve read my article “First Years—It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” you’ll know that I had a rough time making the transition into university. I had a lot of personal issues and, at the time of such a major change, I felt very alone. For most of my first year, I absolutely hated school. I didn’t have many friends, and most of the time I would attend class and then get back home as soon as possible. My grades weren’t bad by any means, but they definitely didn’t reflect my true capability as a student. I considered dropping out many times, but despite this, I powered through and made it to second year.

Going into second year, I expected the same miserable routine from first year. I had no chance of making new friends since most people had already found their “groups,” so I would be forced to partner up with people I didn’t know, spend my breaks alone, and study by myself at home. But I was wrong; in fact, second year was nothing like first year—in a good way.

As every other second year student, I was expected to narrow down my studies so that I could pursue a specific type of degree. I decided to pursue an Honour’s Specialization in English, and because of this all of my courses were English-based (for an Honour’s Spec, you don’t really have a choice in classes—you do as you’re told). Therefore, most of my classes consisted of the same students, meant making friends was a lot easier. Although the school year itself was tougher, the year was a lot easier because I met some of my now closest friends.

The last two years of my undergrad have really kicked my ass, and I’m sure most people can say the same thing. It’s not just the assignments and exams, it’s also the fact that there is so much pressure to decide what you are going to do after your undergrad. Will you go to graduate school? Will you look for a job? Will you be able to find a job? Will your undergrad actually help you find a job? Are you going to have to return for a fifth year? There are so many different options; it’s inevitable that a person will feel completely overwhelmed.

Despite the pressure I feel to essentially decide what I’m going to do with my life, I still have the time to realize that I’m going to miss my undergrad. The past four years have gone by so fast; I often forget that I’m in my final year. I have two months left before I graduate, before I move on from the stage of my life as an undergrad student—it’s scary, but it’s also sad. I know many people who don’t understand why I continue my schooling—saying that I’m not even guaranteed a job after I graduate—but the truth is, I actually like school. I love to learn and I love being in the classroom environment, listening to people’s opinions and insights. I love absorbing new information and expanding my knowledge. Even if it doesn’t necessarily get me a job, I still have acquired a kind of knowledge and experience that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I didn’t attend university.

As a university student, I have learned to collaborate, to listen to other opinions and ideas, to conduct a respectful discussion, to formulate my thoughts with mindfulness, to articulate my words clearly and with confidence, to work exceptionally well under pressure, as well as to write a damn good essay. Sure, perhaps my degree won’t equal a job right away, but employers will notice the skills and abilities I have acquired through my education. The degree itself may not get me the job, but it’s important to remember that employers don’t just look at the achievement of a degree—they also look at the different skills and qualifications you gained from the process. Graduating from university itself reveals many things about you as a person: it shows that you are determined, hard-working, dedicated, and accountable. You don’t pursue a degree just for the hell of it; you pursue a degree to propel yourself forward in society, not necessarily just through a job, but also through knowledge and respectability.

Overall, my experience as an undergraduate student has been amazing: it is an experience that I will forever cherish and reflect on with pride. Now, finishing my final year, I look forward to new, exciting opportunities, such as graduate school. Either way, no matter where I end up in the next five or ten years, I will always remember my undergrad as an invaluable life experience. So farewell undergrad—I will never regret you.