Magical Moments on Campus with Children

By Andrea Markusich, UTM Student Family Housing Alumni

December 2023

3 minute read

Sometimes, the most magical times in life are most apparent in hindsight. Childhood is a lot like this. My experience as a student and young mom while obtaining my degree at UTM was a magical moment, though I didn’t realize it then. 

The stress, the juggling, and the long nights of sleepless children or significant assignments were sometimes overwhelming. But the life skills I can directly attribute to this time are golden.

I feel so honoured to walk down memory lane to write this blog to share my takeaways from my residency in student housing while my children were small. While it felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to do my best at studies AND parenting, I pat myself on the back for getting an A+ in flexibility and becoming a lifelong learner. Unbeknownst to me then, my educational experience lasted far beyond the day I received my degree. This awareness is the best gift that I received from UTM. Here are some of my takeaways from this watershed time in my life.

Learning is a lifelong pursuit.

I had a misconception: education was fixed in time; you go to an institution, commit to fulfilling your degree requirements, complete the degree, and are educated. This was far from my reality. My degree opened my mind to learning and handling challenges, and I have become a lifelong learner, constantly bettering myself professionally and personally. I continually learn new things, and this thirst for learning is a significant bonus to my education that I did not anticipate. This trait has helped me as a wife, a parent, and an individual.

Enjoying life during imperfection IS the way to fulfillment.

Let’s face it: life is messy. Partly why I found it hard to enjoy the moments in life back at UTM is life didn’t look like my fantasy; my house was a mess, I dispursed my energy to all my obligations and often felt like everywhere needed more attention, my kids ate fast food more than I care to admit. But this is life in action. I thought that once the degree was complete, life would be easy, but it is not. Learning to lean in, love, and be grateful for life’s imperfections allows us to embrace moments and live more deeply and fully. Once I stopped chasing a perfect life and leaned into my life as is, there was no place better than this moment. Present-moment awareness is a profoundly grateful place to live.

The end game isn’t the primary objective.

I had this idea that I was rushing to a finish line. To graduate was my main goal, and in hindsight, the mundane moments of strolling on the five-minute walk admiring each dandelion with my toddler are the moments I remember the most. The journey is everything, and if we slow down and lean into those moments, we will feel a deep connection with the ones we love.

UTM is a stunning place to live with family; you can enjoy deer wandering in your backyard at dusk. Classes are 5 minutes away from your front door. In campus housing, we are surrounded by other like-minded individuals. UTM truly holds a special place in my heart. This is a time in my life I will treasure for years to come.

About the Author:
Andrea Markusich, a mother of four, is a proud graduate of UTM. Beyond her role as a parent, she is a thriving business owner with a passion for promoting well-being. Andrea manages an online store and coaching business, specializing in the transformative power of murals, decals, and workshops. Her business can be found at www.inspirationalwalls.ca