Life Lessons Start When You’re Young

In writing my blog post this week, I thought back many many years to a book I read when I was 14 that literally changed my philosophy of how to live my life. The book, written by Robert Fulgham, was called All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten.

All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Allow me to go through this mantra, and we will see how it is incredibly applicable to life back then, life today, and for the years to come.

Share everything

Unless you plan on being a hermit sitting alone in an apartment at the age of 50 with your 15 cats, you might want to learn this value. When you share, you bond, and some of those bonds will last a lifetime. If your plans involve marriage or the like, sharing will be one of your most important rules to follow.

Put things back where you found them

Maintaining order and discipline in your life actually makes you a happier person. I know that for me, if I let the dishes pile up in the sink or the take out containers cover my dining room table, I feel somewhat out of place myself. If you take the time to just put things back where you found them, you can achieve this order and discipline. This also applies to things that you borrow; it is always nice to return these items to their respective owners, even if it is DVDs or library books (see my post from last week!).

Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone

Intentional or not, our words and actions can hurt people, and at some point everybody will hurt someone else. It is best to nip this in the bud right away, apologize, and hopefully resume a normal, happy relationship. If a happy relationship is not in the future, at least you have the knowledge that you tried to remedy things.

Wash your hands before you eat

With SARS and swine flu and the endless supply of germs and illnesses, washing your hands before you eat is essential. Without even thinking, we do sometimes touch the food with our hands and if there are germs to be transferred they will get in your mouth and make you sick. It takes like 20 seconds to do, and your health will be your reward. Your date at dinner might also be happy to not see you with dirt under your fingernails.

Wash your hands!

Cookies and milk are good for you

This is where I go all philosophical on you. Cookies and milk, while good in their own right, can be applied to so many realms of life. Take a break, smell the roses, do something you enjoy. It is the little things in life that will make you happy, not just the big ones.

Cookies and Milk

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together

We need to realize that we are all here for each other in one way or another. We do not go through life by ourselves, and we look out after people as they look out for us. Let’s stick together and become successful; there are hidden dangers around every corner.

Well, that’s my spiel on this topic. I am sure that there hundreds of more lessons learned in kindergarten that are still applicable in our lives as adults.

Have an example? Share it in my comments for others to see!


It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking About Summer

Why Studying in the Summer may be the Best Experience of your life!

I don’t know about you, but I have the November blues, and I can’t help but think about summer. Ah, summer, the time when we can rid ourselves of those pesky assignments and tests, and just relax.  But, have you ever considered using a portion of your summer break to learn?  Have no fear, the kind of course I’m referring to isn’t like those typical summer courses, its one where you learn . . . ABROAD!

Taking a course abroad during your summer break is an excellent way to combine your need to fulfill course requirements with the beauty and pleasure of living in another country.  Who doesn’t love to travel and experience a new culture and all of its offerings?  As someone who has taken advantage of the Woodsworth Summer Abroad Program, I can tell you it’s one of the greatest, if not the best academic experience I’ve had during my time at U of T.

Unlike traditional courses where you are glued to books, the Summer Abroad Program lets you learn outside the regular academic environment.  My program was French Culture, so naturally I went to France.  Since the course was based on the history of the region we were living in, we got to go outside (yippee!) and visit the ancient relics we read about.  Actually physically experiencing our topic created a memorable learning experience.  In my case, as we were studying the history of castles in the region, we actually got to visit the Chateau of Amboise where King Charles VII died in 1498 – by way of banging his head against a door!  How else can you replicate this invaluable learning experience ?

The beauty of the program was that I got to complete a whole credit in less than 4 weeks, and it wasn’t as expensive as I thought.  As the course is the same price as one you would take at U of T, you basically just had to pay for transportation to and from your location, living arrangements, food and spending money.  The program also offers different bursaries depending on the program you are applying to.  Luckily, your college will have bursaries, the Centre for International Experience offers $1250 for courses for 4 weeks, and don’t forget your old friend OSAP!

Getting into the program is probably the hardest part.  You need to have a certain CGPA, usually above 2.5 (which depends on the course of interest) and you need to apply as soon as registration opens, and I literally mean the minute it opens up otherwise you could be waitlisted or never even admitted.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the best part of the program isn’t visiting cool places, but getting to make friends in your program. I consider myself pretty shy, and I was afraid I’d be spending a month in a foreign place and wouldn’t be able to share it with anyone. But, as other students were in the same boat as me it was natural that we became fast friends and together we made incredible memories.

So, consider taking a summer course abroad next year.  I can guarantee you won’t regret it!