The end of the year is full of bittersweet moments. It is a time power through and wrap up a year of hard work, make future plans, and celebrate the accomplishments of the past year. As I was booking my flight home for the summer, I came to the realization that this time next year I will be wrapping up my undergraduate degree (hopefully), and will be making important decisions about my future. When did all this time go by?!!? Moving into my new apartment, buying new furniture, and printing out syllabi for all my courses literally feels like last week!
However, looking back I can’t help but smile—third year has truly been a good year. In my first few articles for this blog, I outlined some of my goals and expectations for the year. I might not have achieved all my goals—fighting my anti-social tendencies was not really something I made progress on—however, I have grown and learned in many other ways.
It’s interesting that I wrote my first article for the Life @ UofT blog in a cozy café in Old Montreal, and now as I write this post I am sitting in yet another café, but this time in Downtown Vancouver looking out at the mountains. This year I have done quite a bit of traveling. I’ve visited a number of beautiful places across Canada, like Vancouver, Montreal, and small-towns in Ontario; over the summer, I joined my family for a bit of a reunion in Malaysia; and more recently, traveled to Greece for a research trip. I’m truly thankful for these opportunities to explore and make some amazing memories.
Academically, I made some major changes to my study techniques and realigned my priorities, which helped me drastically improve my grades. Something I noticed was that I finally began to enjoy the courses I had been taking and genuinely looked forward to all my classes. Additionally, while I was shy to talk to professors in the past, this year I made some valuable connections with some amazing professors from almost all of my courses.
Not all was good this year. Half-way through the year, I experienced a low point in my life. But with support from my friends, family, and connections and resources at the University, I was able to come out of this dark episode and bounced back with full enthusiasm. I learned the importance of health and began to prioritize my well-being—something which helped me truly enjoy the year.
I am thankful for all the good that came my way this year, but also any bad things, as these experiences helped me grow and make positive changes in my life. As the academic year comes to an end, I encourage you to reflect on your experiences. Celebrate your successes, but learn from your mistakes!