Back in April, I graduated. Thinking back to my first days at university, everything seemed so overwhelming. I wondered what I would say to myself if I had the chance to relive the beginning of my university experience. If you could go back and meet yourself as you started your degree, what would you say? Here is what I would say…
Use your time wisely, you’re an academic now (kind of).
Enjoy every moment, because even though it doesn’t feel like it, it will all go by so fast. Enjoy who you are right now because you will not leave university the same person you arrived as.
You can go and play…after you’ve done your homework.
It’s okay to make friends with people you typically wouldn’t befriend. Western Sydney University is full of some genuinely amazing people that you may not have the chance to meet elsewhere.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Get involved with everything the university has to offer. There is so much more explore and learn while you are at university than just your degree.
It’s okay not to be the best in the class but to try the best you can. Your tutors are not trying to be hard on you, they just want to help you reach your potential.
Respect your elders.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes but don’t let it defeat you. Your tutors, lecturers, doctors and professors are all just people too and you shouldn’t be afraid to approach them when you are struggling.
No one said this was going to be easy.
If you don’t understand a concept in class… RAISE YOUR F*CKING HAND AND ASK. This will save you from having a meltdown at 2:00am when you’re trying to do your assignment.
You have a brain, use it.
When you screw up, take ownership of your mistakes and work harder. Nothing can hold you back from your goals, except you. And remember that your GPA is not a direct reflection of who you are as a person.
I am not asking you, I am telling you.
Take a class that scares you and challenges you. Take a class that makes you grow as a learner and as a human.
One day, you’ll thank me for this.
The most valuable skill to learn is time management. Get a diary and write everything down… trust me. Sometimes though, you need to just say ‘f*ck it’ and wing it.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
When your friends have five days until payday and no food, you’ll be glad you learnt to budget.
I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times!
While procrastination comes in many forms, YouTubing how to speak cat will not help you graduate. However, it’s okay to have some time to yourself. You don’t need to let university consume you, otherwise, it will destroy you.
When something scares you, it means it’s important.
It’s okay to sit down with your fears. Sit with them until they don’t scare you anymore.
Do as I say, not as I do.
Even though lecturers and tutors says they ‘expect’ you to attend 80% of your classes, you can pass by attending 50% of them. You should definitely try to go to all of them though. And while it’s okay to go to a couple of classes hungover, maybe don’t make a habit out of it.
Don’t cry over spilled… group assessments, okay totally cry.
Group projects may very well be the worst thing on the planet. You will probably end up doing most of the work. But you also make lifelong frenemies, or at least have someone to complain about if you get poor marks. There is definitely value in studying for your exams, it actually helps. This goes beyond 3am on the morning of the exam.
Your education only begins at university. Eventually, everything will work out You will make it.
If I could, I would tell myself “I am proud of you for taking this step”.
And you know what? I did make it. Today, I’m a graduate.