I work for my College’s residence building, and through this job I have the pleasure of meeting some really wonderful people. This week I decided to write about a coworker and fellow U of T student who inspires me to work harder and prioritize my long term goals.
Juliette is a third-year student, studying Employment Relations at U of T. Amazingly, this is her final year at university, as she has managed to graduate in three years by following a strict regimen of self-discipline, wonderful study habits, healthy lifestyle choices and a six-course workload. Born in Edmonton, Juliette spent her childhood Vancouver — eventually moving to Hong Kong with her family at the age of seven to go to French school. Juliette eventually made the transition to a British International School, where she attended until Grade 11. In Grade 12, Juliette moved again; this time travelling across the world to finish her high school diploma in Toronto, where she would eventually make the decision to pursue post-secondary studies at U of T.
Dance has always been a large part of Juliette’s life; a passion which is mostly responsible for her decision to graduate in three years. Pressured by her parents to get a degree before pursuing a dance career, Juliette found U of T’s Employment Relations program and ended up loving it. Determined to be able to begin a career in dance, Juliette has been taking six courses every semester of her degree, while also managing to be an active participant and role model in many extra-curriculars around campus.
Q: What made you decide to graduate so quickly?
A: I came to U of T not wanting to be at U of T — I wanted to go to a dance school. I felt like I was wasting the best years of my body and that’s what I remind myself everyday: I would rather be in the studio, but because I am here I am going to make the best of my situation. As a dancer, you are always thinking in the back of your mind: “I should be training” because when you don’t get to practice you depreciate as an athlete. This is why I am going to try my best to graduate in three years so I can finally dance. The whole point of me going to school is because my parents wanted me to go to school.
My thought process is: “Okay, so I am going to go to school and I am going to do it as fast as I can” and obviously I want to pass too, because it’s my money invested in my degree. I regularly think about why I am finishing my education in three years and it’s because I want to dance. I have a goal in mind, and if anyone is anxious to do something, but can’t because of parents, or some other reason, then they should focus on that goal and remember that their goals are why they tolerate all the hard work. My goals are why I am so determined to graduate so quickly, and I only have four more months to go. *Smiles*
Q: What are some of your responsibilities, other than school?
A: School is the first thing on my plate and it is always my first priority. My second responsibility is probably volleyball. I love playing the sport, and I got into it competitively two years ago. Initially, I wasn’t that good, but it’s a good way to take a break from my studies — and it’s healthy too! I play for the university’s Development League but in my first year I was the captain of Woodsworth’s women’s intramural team.
I play four times a week, and each time I play takes between three and four hours of my time. In addition to volleyball and my six-course workload, I also work part time at Woodsworth, which is twelve hours a week minimum. Having a job is something that I’m trying out for the first time, because I felt that since I am graduating soon I needed to make some money for myself. I am also the vice-president of ERSA, which is the student’s association for my program; my commitment there is kind of inconsistent because some weeks I have a lot to do, and other weeks my job is just communication between the other executive members’.
I mean, in reality, there is always something extracurricular going on for me, which I like because having six courses a semester does not allow me to enjoy friends a lot. I can’t go out frequently and I find myself having to turn down my friends quite a bit so my extra-curriculars give me a social outlet. That is the trade off. For me to work hard towards my goals, I have to prioritize what is important to me and graduating in three years is my priority above all else: which means friends come second and so on.
Q: How do you decide what you prioritize?
A: It’s up to you to figure out what your trade-off is going to be. Will you sacrifice seeing friends so you can do something even bigger? Or would you prefer having a fulfilling social life where you get to go out with friends a lot, with school as a second priority? No one should feel guilty for what their priorities are, because at the end of the day if you have followed your individual goals and you don’t regret it then you should be proud of yourself. We shouldn’t judge people for what they have chosen to prioritize because everybody has their own goals and whatever makes them happy is right for them. My priority is a fast graduation, and so it’s very important that I have the self-discipline to do that because when I have a day off, I have to sprint to catch up. My workload has made it so that I am always looking for something to do, because when I have a productive day it makes me feel accomplished and I love that feeling.
Q: Do you have any tips for students who are looking to follow their goals?
- Self-Discipline: If you’re busy a person, and even if you’re not, it’s a good idea to discipline yourself so you don’t feel bad about your daily accomplishments when you go to bed. Being self-disciplined is really the only way I can do all the stuff I do. I’ve found that with my busy schedule, my planner is my best friend because I love writing things down and crossing it out when I’ve finished a task. It’s OK to break down and be stressed, and if you are the best thing to do is to allow yourself a break for a couple hours and then come back and execute whatever you need to get done.
- Be healthy: Try to sustain your body and the environment. I believe that it’s important to maximize the potential for whatever you have access to, so reuse! If you don’t have your health, you can’t do anything, and so health should be something you actively strive for. Eat healthy and if you eat something that is bad for you, then balance it out with physical activity! Play a sport, work out, vacuum the house and be kind to yourself.
- Sleep: I always get eight hours of sleep. Enough sleep is something to strive for, because you definitely need it. If I don’t get my eight hours, I will be a little grumpy.
U of T is a difficult school to study at. There are so many program options, it’s a competitive institution, the student body is massive and on top of that it’s in amazing city with a lot of distractions. Juliette has been able to master a large workload, while keeping up with a bunch of extra-curriculars, work and a personal life. It’s easy to feel like your responsibilities are consuming all your time, but it’s possible to keep positive and do well! Follow Juliette’s adventures at U of T on instagram at @juliettelouie!