Thursday, December 31, 2009

End Point

There are some things they don’t tell you when you start school. As I leave Guelph-Humber and venture into this big playground called the world, a flurry of emotions are making their rounds within me. There is the excitement of finally being finished: all those late nights agonizing over that seemingly meaningless essay are now over. Following excitement is anxiety: have I learned enough? Am I good enough? This anxiety spurs fear, as I remember that I am leaving the only life I have known for four years, and I wonder what it will be like to adjust to a new life as a working person. The final emotion is humbleness. After much excitement, fear, and anxiety, I am on the cusp of completing this journey and earning a university degree.

These last four years of my life have rushed by like the turning pages of a dramatic novel. University life has spurned the darkest times of my life, but also some of the most exciting. While I have often questioned the façade of academia and debated it’s true importance, the bottom line is that my status as a journalism student has provided me opportunities that may have otherwise been obscure.

And now it is the end. To future Guelph-Humber students, I say this: first year is the hardest, and once you have completed this hurdle, a little heart and a lot of hard work will take you the rest of the way. Don’t listen to your professors on the first day of class. You may spend two hours a week on one class, or ten hours on another. Tune out the professor and take some time to digest everything. It’s not as bad as it may seem. There is time to do everything.

Do not wait. Starting your assignments early will give you more time, more confidence and allow for more creativity. A hard-earned, successful end result far outweighs the bragging rights of an all-nighter assignment.

Discount no one. You never know who you can learn from, and this does not disclude classmates. No matter how superior of a writer you feel you may be, listen to your editors. You never know who you can learn something from, and I repeat this phrase for a purpose. Take advantage of every learning opportunity.

You will encounter many professors during your four years. Some will be life changing, other’s names will be forgotten by the next semester. Professors are never as frightening as they are during the first class, and they may just be the one to inspire you. No matter how your instructor dresses or how bizarre they may seem, they may just be brilliant. Never discount a conversation because it seems tedious or irrelevant at the time. Listen to everyone. These people are teachers for a reason.

It is not always necessary to operate by the textbook. Take it class by class. If the reading does not help you learn, don’t do it. If the lectures don’t inspire you, don’t attend. But have an eye to what does help you learn, and make your best effort. Disinterest or dislike is not an excuse to deem the class pointless or stupid. Remember, you’re paying for it. You may as well try to take something from it.

Most importantly, make time for friends. Professors, aquaintances and classes will come and go, but friends are forever. Make time for them. You may quickly forget that paper you did just average on, but you will never forget the smiles, laughter and love of true friends. Get to know as many people as you can, and learn to love everyone. It makes the sometimes agonizing experiences survivable, and the most difficult four years of your life unforgettable. Thank you to all those who helped me through the excitement and agony. Thank you for keeping my head above water. We survived. We did it.

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