5 things most students aren’t told (and they definitely should be)
Christine Lyons is a fourth-year English student.
1. Not everyone graduates in three or four years. And that’s okay.
There’s nothing wrong with taking additional time in your degree. In fact, it might even be a good choice. If you want to learn as much as you can, learn as much as you can. If you want to take your time learning, you should do that, too. Have you been offered a really good internship that will delay your graduation for a year? Take it. When you’re studying abroad, do you want to take Gaelic language courses that won’t transfer back to your degree for credit? Go for it. Or have you always wanted to start your own newspaper, but never had the time? Give it a shot.
Students have lots of crazy reasons for not graduating on time. And a lot of students choose not to graduate on time. So if your degree’s not going as quickly as you planned, don’t worry about it. You’re just spending more time completing one of the most exciting accomplishments of your life.
2. Sometimes, you don’t do well in a course. And that’s okay too.
Sometimes, you get your final grade back and it isn’t what you’d hoped for. Every student has different skill sets, and maybe that course just didn’t compliment yours. It’s still important to try your best in every course and aim for the highest grade you possibly can. It’s equally as important to achieve good grades in most of your classes. But realistically, there are going to be those one or two courses that just don’t go as well as you would have liked. And that’s okay. Pat yourself on the back, buy yourself some Dairy Queen and move on to the next course. Aim to do better in the next course. Then you can reward yourself with more Dairy Queen.
3. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan for after you graduate.
It would be nice if everyone knew what they wanted for after university, and it would be nice if there were an easy-to-follow steps on how to get there. Unfortunately, most people still don’t know what they want to do once they have a degree. And if you don’t know what you want to do, it’s hard to figure out how to get there.
I can’t guarantee this, but you’ll probably end up just fine. Things have a way of falling into place, and opportunities can turn up without you expecting them. There are also many resources on campus that can help you figure out where you want to be, and draw you a rough map on how to get there. Career Services is a great place to start. They offer career counselling and education, as well as additional support and resources. Consider checking out their online program, Career Startup, as the first step in your new plan.
4. It’s also okay if your plan falls apart.
How many other programs did you consider before choosing the one you’re in? How many times have you wondered if you’re in the program that’s best for you? How often do we change our minds on absolutely everything? It’s okay to change your plan. It’s actually a good idea to keep revisiting your plan just in case some circumstance changes. If your plan falls apart, build a new one.
5. University doesn’t have to be the singular most important thing in your life.
Sure, it should be important. It can even be your number one priority if you want it to be. But it doesn’t have to be. You may not want to abandon your passions or extracurriculars to make extra time for your classes or homework. Maybe you like spending evenings with your friends and family. If Sundays are a day where you don’t work, then don’t do homework unless you absolutely have to. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “University’s important to me, but so are a lot of other things.”
University should be a priority, and it does demand time, dedication and hard work. That doesn’t mean other components of your life need to fall to the wayside. The key to a well-rounded, healthy university experience is balance. It’s good to say, “I work really hard in my degree, and I’m proud of how it’s going.” It’s equally as good to say, “I also have lots of fun, and do the things I enjoy.”