University is the complete opposite of what you think it will be
While my undergrad has been the hardest years of my life, it has also been the most crucial to my overall growth
If you were to ask me in high school what I thought university was going to entail, I would have just told you some stress but still an overall exciting four years. Although that has been true, it does not depict or merely explain what these four years were.
From the first day of my undergrad in 2019, I was so excited to start this new life of mine. University was all I ever dreamed about, especially during the number of times in high school I was eager to leave. Now that it had arrived, it was seeming exactly like I had rehearsed over the years in my head.
Stress, loads of reading and writing, but overall growth and change; I was one step closer to my life. Yet little did I know what I was going to endure. It was the complete opposite.
These four years have been the most difficult years of my life and although it may be easy to point the finger at 20-page papers, this wasn't the only reason.
Your early 20s are the epitome of your adulthood. You grow immensely and the growing only begins. The second I walked into university, I not only lost friends, but I went through the hardest break up of my life, then had to finish the rest of the two years of my undergrad online because a global pandemic was underway.
Half of my undergrad was spent virtually, my mental health was crippling and I never felt more alone. This was university?
I had so many ideas in my head as to what I thought it would be and this wasn't it. But those ideas were also part of the problem.
I learned that I needed to let go of the idea I had and wanted and instead accept my journey for what it was. Moreover, I could always still the reigns back, so I did. In the peak of pandemic I started working on my mental health and took a chance to breathe.
Healing all of the heart break and loss was immensely needed, thus I instead viewed the pandemic with admiration in ways, a lesson I learned I’ve learned time and time again.
Walking into McMaster University, I was beyond scared, selfless in unhealthy ways and overly self-critical. After spending time alone at home for so long, I learned I truly was my only fan, supporter and friend and that I needed to take care of that.
And it was when I was stuck at home that I remembered touring the campus and seeing The Silhouette’s office around my first week – all I loved to do was to write and while everything seemed so far and impossible at that point, I still thought why not? and started writing.
I started growing with my writing with the Silhouette. As I became a staff writer, I also began spacing out my studying and understanding how to do things that were best for my abilities and well-being.
I found beauty in being in my own presence, beauty in my work and craft and beauty all around me. My undergrad never stopped testing me as I dealt with more grief, stress and mental health struggles regardless of the grip I started to have.
Although one may see university as just improving your own logic for your future, more specifically within your work field, university bettered me as a human-being.
I learned how to take care of myself. I learned more things about myself when I thought I already knew it all and more importantly – I kicked university's butt and some.
I did things I never thought I could for myself and for my future self. Now I am the Opinions Editor for the Silhouette and I am just weeks away from graduating. I have learned so much along the way, met so many amazing people and gained so many new skills.
It turned out to be a lot better than what I thought it was. A lot better.