“Goodbye.” That’s always a difficult thing to say, but sadly, this is my last post for Life @ U of T. Being the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) blogger this year has been the opportunity of a lifetime and it’s crazy to think how quickly this year has gone by. In my first post in September, I posed a question to myself: Would I be able to achieve balance this year? As it’s also nearing the end of the school year, I think it’s appropriate to ask myself if I’ve accomplished everything that I wanted to this year. I’m going into fourth year next year, and it’s impossible for me to believe that my time at U of T is almost done. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do after I graduate whether that’s going on to graduate school or trying to find a job. But I’ve started the process and honestly, it’s terrifying sometimes. I can still remember my first day at U of T and how scared I was. But a lot has changed.
This year was the first time that I had so many moving parts going on at once: a full course load, two jobs, and an array of co-curricular activities. I knew that it was going to be difficult, but I was determined to achieve balance and not feel like the stressed out blob that I usually do. I was somewhat able to achieve balance. Some weeks I was significantly stressed in my academic life. I didn’t know how I was going to study for so many tests all at once. In other weeks, I felt extremely confident about balancing all aspects of my life. Essentially, what I learned was that sometimes not everything is going to go as I plan and other times, it will go well. I have succeeded. I have failed. I have soared. I have fallen. But that’s life. There is no single path, and it’s taken me this long to realize this. Not everything will be static. But it will be okay.
My life at U of T has been a roller coaster. But it’s a journey that I’ve been the most proud of. Being a student at U of T opens up so many opportunities for growth and this year, I’ve tried to make that the forefront of my experience. Your professors are one of the most vital aspects of this experience. They are not only highly intelligent and talented educators, but they are also there for you in times of turmoil. Take advantage of office hours (sometimes professors sit during this time and sigh, hoping that a student will come and say hello). Send your professor an email if you can’t attend. Ask questions. Learn. Engage. It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my university experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find your community: the First in the Family Peer-Mentor Program has been mine since I was a first year at U of T. Take a seminar or smaller style course. Get to know your professors because there are so many benefits. I used to believe that I should only focus on academics, but it ended up not being good for my mental health. Find a creative outlet and allow yourself to say, “It’s okay to take a break once in a while.” Life at U of T isn’t always going to be the same, so change, grow, and forge your identity. This is the best place to do so.
Some wise words of reflection from Ferris Bueller are that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Those words have always stuck with me. In the hustle and bustle of being a U of T student, it’s so important to stop, reflect, and think about what’s next. I have so enjoyed writing for Life @ U of T this year as the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation blogger, and if you’ve been following my journey, thank you so much.
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