3 Lessons I’ve Learned from 3 Years of University

I can’t believe that in less than a month, I’ll be starting my fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree! Looking back on my degree, it’s been quite a wild ride to get here. I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the major lesson I’ve learned from each year of university, in hope that some of these lessons may help others out in their university journeys. 

A picture of the UofT Campus
  1. Get involved in everything! 

It’s cliche advice, but it rings true—get involved! Whether this be in clubs, classes, or any other dimension of student life, I learned in first year how enriching my university experience could be if I got involved in everything around me.

This didn’t just include university; though I was pretty involved in campus life during first year, I barely left my physical bubble of the university campus. Looking back on first year, I realize how many missed opportunities I had to explore the city, join groups off-campus, or even travel outside the city and explore the province. 

If I could redo my first year, I’d spend time off I had from classes joining more clubs, going to events, and exploring the city. After all, I found later years to become more academically difficult, so I wish I’d taken first year to really get acquainted with my surroundings and the people around me. 

A picture of the Toronto skyline

2. Take time to care for yourself.

In second year, I spent so much time pulling all-nighters, balancing commitments I couldn’t handle, and dealing with stressful social situations. Looking back, I wish I'd realized the importance of self care and looking after my body. Thankfully, I learned these skills pretty soon after, and I'm now a huge proponent of getting 8 hours of sleep/night and always putting my health and happiness before school. 

What I didn’t realize in second year was that putting my health and happiness before school would actually make me better at learning. When I started getting enough sleep and relaxing more, school felt so much easier than it did before.

A picture of a cat lying on a bed
Dave and I are both passionate about self care!

3. Understand your academic passions.

In third year, I spent a lot of time engaging in classes and really exploring what I was interested in academically, like finding topics that I wanted to explore in Independent Studies or thesis seminars in my fourth year of university. 

I’m so glad I did this because for the first time, university doesn’t feel like a chore at all. I’m so excited to go into my fourth year loving what I study, and I think that understanding my academic passions really helped me love university, fully engage in it, and find direction and purpose. 

A picture of the book "As We Have Always Done" by Leanne Simpson
Finding books in subjects I'm passionate about!

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your university journey? Let me know in the comments below! 

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