As I count down the days until my graduation, 66 to be precise, I begin to reflect on all the things I have learnt whilst being an undergraduate student. (I also shiver a little at the thought!). There are many new things that have crept up in my course – after all, this is what I am here for! – but there are so many new things that have crept up in my life. Three years does not seem like a long time, but it can reveal so much about the kind of person that you are; where your weaknesses lie; where your strengths prop you up; the kind of people that degrade you and the other kind that … complete you.
Some may argue that the student life is a bubble; it is unrealistic. That you are merely floating on a loaned cloud, with no major responsibilities. With all that you could possibly desire right on your doorstep: a library, academic support, counselling support, a supermarket, the gym, a printer, a coffee shop, three different pubs and a hairdresser – all within a 2 mile radius. You cook for yourself, you clean for yourself, you study for yourself. You have no children, you have no husband, you have no pets or permanent furniture. You could pack a suitcase right now and just… disappear.
But why would you? The more I think about it, the more I realise, that life as I know it right now is.. life. If you were to live through every stage of your youth as it were just a phase until “real life” begins, then you would be living in constant fear of something vast and unknown and “real”. As if your current existence is just another phase, just an illusion. But is it?
Is my life as a student an illusion? Is my rent, water bills, weekly food shop, cleaning rota, study routine, family contact, society executive responsibilities, FRIENDS, coping with physical and/or mental health issues, being a human – is this all an illusion before “real” life begins? Maybe I am young and naive, but I believe that as long as I am learning from whatever life throws at me – no matter how significant – I am living a life.
Aside from various formulae and their derivations, the last three years have taught me a lot. They have also revealed that:
- I really need to grow a thick skin and accept constructive criticism.
- Sometimes, your work will be described as “just… awful”.
- This may or may not be your final year project viva….
- Self doubt creeps on you without warning and prevents you from progressing. Learn how to not let it sabotage your potential.
- But, a healthy dose of self-criticism prevents arrogance.
- Actually, a healthy dose of anything is… well, healthy.
- Crying is okay.
- Too much crying is… a sign of something not being okay.
- And that’s okay. Seeking help is okay.
- You need to learn how to look after yourself, so that one day you might be able to look after others.
- Being an independent person will get you far.
- But good friends will also get you far.
- Some people are just not worth it.
- Some people really are worth it.
- Respecting people will earn you respect.
- Candles and Ludovico Einaudi make everything better.
- Leaving things until the last minute will not make things better. It will only stress you out.
- You will forget many things.
- Making lists is the best way to not forget things. Investing time in being organised is simultaneously an investment in a healthy relationship with your time management.
- And time management is key. It is something I still yearn to master!
You learn new things every day. As long as you are learning, you are living.
Over and out 🙂
P.S: Exams are not life. Exams are merely hurdles in life.