University is a learning experience reaching far beyond academics. On your first day of university you were probably thriving off the freedom you had finally achieved and had been longing for, for all of your teenage years. As time goes on however, you realize that perhaps you hadn’t considered how hard it is to be alone. On this quest for independence and even self identity for that matter, you may learn a few things about yourself.
One of the most ironic things about university is that you cant wait to get away from your parents, their surveillance and nagging before you get there. Once reality sets in and your finally all alone thinking your ready to be an adult, you start to realize how much you depended on your parents. You over-cook your dinner, shrink a couple of shirts in the laundry and suddenly realize you have never missed them more. It is true, distance really does make the heart grow fonder. As you learn how to take care of yourself, you begin to appreciate everything you took for granted. Perhaps you start calling your mom and/or dad more often, or telling them you love them more or thanking them more.Something you learn about yourself in university, is how much you really appreciate your family.
University has it’s fair share of tough times. You and your friends, from home or from high school, are put to a test. You may all promise to keep in touch, visit each other, and that you will always have the same friendship, but it isn’t always so easy when you don’t pass each other in the halls of a secondary school everyday. Once time goes on, what you quickly learn is who your real friends are and who is willing to put in the effort to keep your relationship. Along with this, comes making new friends, a skill that was a lot easier when you were a child. It includes the fear of rejection, judgement and ridicule, but eventually the anxiety of being alone pushes you to take these risks. So here we have another thing you learn about yourself while in university; how to make friends.
Being apart of an academic institution beyond secondary school includes new challenges every day, and not to mention the most homework you have ever done in your entire life. Thus, you are constantly put in high stress or high pressure situations with no one to help you but yourself. Nobody makes you do anything, learning to handle this freedom responsibly may come earlier for some then others. Multiple assignments due on the same day, exam questions that you don’t recognize, computer failure right before submitting and assignment, all teach us how to work and cope in high pressure situations. Sometimes you might feel like just giving up, or that success is impossible. This is when we learn to push ourselves because there isn’t always going to be someone there fuelling your fire. You learn the power of your mind and how to self talk, how to be your own hero.
For most of your life, you are taught to follow rules and taught to listen and believe in authoritative figures. As we begin to transform into an actual adult, we begin to question authority, think for ourselves, and recognize when something isn’t fair. Along with independence comes speaking up for yourself, recognizing bias and challenging power. At some point in our magical years enrolled in post secondary, you realize your not an information consuming robot, you learn how to think critically and develop perspective.
Discovering who you really are is what university is all about. Independence drives and pushes us closer to becoming the kind of people we want to be in the end and reaching our maximum potential. This journey can be the best and worst of times, but by the end, you are sure to have learned many important things about yourself.