Students share a common goal when attending an academic institution: obtain a certificate of recognition and seek a stable career — or so I thought.
As I carry on with the next “chapter of my life” — a phrase I’ve heard one too many times after my high school graduation — I have gained and learned from many experiences.
Don’t fret. I am not here to deliver information that you have come across from either orientation day or the latest edition of the first year handbook.
The schedule of my very first term looked something like this: five classes, two labs, study time, a part-time job and volunteering, and don’t forget to add in the commute time. Sleep was very much needed, but with that kind of schedule, it may as well be called an option.
Unfortunately, it was unsustainable. By the fifth week of my first term in university, I wanted to drop out. Seriously. All I could ask myself is, what’s it for? My efforts did not seem to sum up into something fruitful. I had lost my focus.
Every time that I faced challenges in my academic endeavours, the same question would arise: what’s it all for? I decided to do a little bit of soul searching to reframe my mindset and to clarify my goals. Something that I should have prioritized before the beginning of the first term. Lesson learned.
I asked myself the next, more important question: who am I doing this for?
Am I pursuing what I think my parents expect of me or is this particular degree something I am passionate about? Upon answering that question, I immediately switched my degree and replaced my classes for the following term with ones that I knew I would be interested in.
I re-adjusted other areas of my life as well such as moving back with my parents to ease the financial burden, prioritizing my health, being mindful of my thoughts and choosing the people who are right for me.
The discomfort and anxieties that I combatted every single day gradually ceased. I still have moments of inconveniences and uncertainties. Those are normal — I would argue to be necessary even. But rather than seeing these moments as the end, I now see them only as temporary setbacks that I know I can quickly resolve. Armed with this realization, I am now grateful and hopeful of what’s to come.
This is a reality that many students face at some point in their career. We are bombarded with the responsibilities of our academics that everything else in life comes second place. Truly, it feels like we realize what is important when the end is near.
We sacrifice the relationships we value, our hobbies and interests and our well-being. And for what? A six figure salary and a void within that nothing can seem to fill? It doesn’t have to be that way. All it takes is self-awareness and the willingness to change to be the best version of you. Five words I live by: live life with no regrets.
Don’t wait until after your degree to pursue the life you want for yourself when you can start today by altering your path to fit your passions.
So far, my stay here at the University of Saskatchewan has been enjoyable. Not only did I find my true passion, I was able to find myself within all the adversities I faced. I discovered clubs I look forward to attending and many friendly faces have now become some of my best friends.
Perhaps there is more value in that annual $10,000 tuition fee after all.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro
Photos: Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor