Goodbye and Good luck!
First I would like to congratulate your student on finishing exams! And of course, I would like to congratulate your student on finishing their first year! Your student likely faced at least one challenge over this year and hopefully many successes.
First year is a time of many changes and the transition definitely takes time. I went through many highs and many lows in my first year.... I loved it and wanted to stay forever, I hated it and wanted to leave. It was definitely the hardest year with all of those changes to factor in and there was a huge learning curve but it was also a ton of fun.
Having just finished my undergraduate degree, I am feeling a bit of nostalgia about the past four years. I keep asking myself where the time has gone! My undergrad has flown by and it’s likely that your student is thinking the same thing about their first year. Where did the time go?!
Looking back, I wish I had spent a bit less time worrying and a bit more time enjoying. I was always thinking about the next midterm/assignment/paper and I wish that I had spent a bit more time really enjoying Guelph. However I’m sure the opposite could be said for many students. I think that wherever your student stands, it’s important to let them know that it’s okay to enjoy themselves from time to time. Being here in University is not just about studying, it’s about being a part of an incredible community.
Our community here at the university and in the city is so important. It is vibrant and inclusive and it really supports students. The best thing I ever did in University was to get involved. This is where I met my closest friends and it’s how I really found my stride here. It allowed me to develop many useful skills but what’s more is that it provided me a sense of belonging. My friends, my co-workers and my mentors taught me so much and through that, I grew as an individual and my goals became more clear.
University is a marathon, not a sprint. It can be challenging and draining, and it sometimes feels like it’s never going to end. But then suddenly you’re at the finish line looking back with a huge sense of relief and perhaps a bit of sadness (moreso for a University degree than a marathon, I’m sure). I keep saying to myself with some disbelief, I actually did it! I finished my undergrad! Some days I felt like I couldn’t study for one more midterm but when I felt like that, I knew it was time to refuel. A night out with friends or a trip to the Farmer’s Market were great antidotes for regaining motivation.
Another way to ensure a great university career is to study what you love. My parents gave me the true gift of following my heart. I chose International Development because it is something that I am passionate about and interested. This made all the difference. My classes were engaging and although I didn’t always look forward to studying, I definitely learned a lot and I was passionate about what I learned. As my Dad always says, “Do something that you love and you will succeed. And even if you don’t, at least you’ll love what you do!”
My Nana passed away this year but she left me with a powerful message that I didn’t fully understand for a while. She said that you can lose everything; your job, your money, your family and your friends... But one thing that can never be taken away is your education and what you know. Though a bit of a sad thought, I often think of this. Our education is invaluable in this world and we, as University students, are so blessed to be here. We should be grateful that we are given four (or more) years to dedicate primarily to learning about something we love. When I felt discouraged or unmotivated, this thought always re-energized me.
I can honestly say that I am sad to leave the University of Guelph. It has been an incredible journey that I will never forget. Your students are at the beginning of their own journeys and they have several years ahead of hard work but also of great adventure and opportunity. I wish them the very best of luck in their degree!
Thank you for reading my blog this year. It has been a great experience for me and I hope that you have learned a bit along the way!
Have a wonderful summer and enjoy your time with your student!