Welcome back students of U of T! Or if you are a new student, Welcome to U of T! The first week of classes is always a nostalgic moment for me. Memories of getting lost to classes in first year, running to class to get there on time, underestimating the distance between one lecture to another all inter play and rush through my mind. As I see current first year students bursting with excitement for class, totally fresh and new of what’s to come, I can’t help but to reflect back on my own experience. First year was definitely a grey year for me. It first started out as very bright, but quickly spiraled into darkness; it was the result of having a lack of involvement on campus. I learnt the value of participating in campus events and getting involved after first year and with this blog entry I want to share my insight with you on why it is very important.
Sometimes as a student you can get caught up in a spiral wind tunnel of classes, especially when your course load is heavier than a wrecking ball. School becomes the number 1 topic in your life. It’s what you breathe, think, sleep, and it repeats everyday. For me in particular, it’s a part of my nature to do the very best in all my courses so it didn’t take long before school literally consumed my life and was all I focused on. Don’t get me wrong, focusing on education is very important! It’s your ticket to achieving a successful career in the job market. However, since it consumed my life I wasn’t making time for social activities or trying to join new clubs because I figured I could use that time for studying. My friends, I regret that decision to this day.
You know those cartoons when the character is feeling low and a dark cloud with rain hovers over them? That’s how I felt in the first semester of school. I was so focused on my academics, I slowly began to become unhappy. I started to feel lonely, small, insignificant, worthless, anxious, and the list goes on. I wasn’t balanced, that was the problem. School work is important, but having that social interaction or doing something or being a part of something that you love gives you a different purpose. Not only does it give you a break from studying, but it also makes you happy.
During second year I started to change my mentality and made an effort to be more balanced. I hated the way I was feeling and I realized that I’m happy when I’m socializing and accomplishing a certain project of interest. I also noticed that my grades improved substantially as well. Since U of T is a large institution, there is an overwhelming amount of clubs offered and it can be hard to chose which one is right for you. However, that is also a beauty because there are so many options and a higher chance that you are able to find something that interest you.Take the time to sift through your club brochures, narrow down your choices, and mark your calendars. Missed the clubs fair? Not to worry, there is a student online resource called Ulife that contains a list of available on-campus clubs and groups. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself balancing between school and social activity, which can be tricky, but also is manageable when you stay organized. School is important, but don’t neglect the passions that you have outside of class.