Remember when you first started high school? Suddenly, the word “university” hung over you like a dark scary cloud. I remember asking myself, “How the heck am I supposed to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life? I’m only fifteen!” I was on the younger end of my graduating class (holla at my fellow December babies!) so my first semester of university was spent on the outside of the beer gardens fence. While it kind of sucked missing out on some Week of Welcome activities because of my age, looking back I am so grateful and proud of myself for choosing to go to university right out of high school. Let me explain why.
I like to believe that I know myself better than anyone else. I know that it takes me a while to get into the school-mindset after every summer break. This was my main reason for going to university right away. (I might have been on the outside of the beer garden fence, but I was still in the midst of a new and ever changing experience!)
In a manner of speaking, it felt like hitting the ground running. My mind was still fresh-ish after the summer (at least much fresher than it would have been if I had taken a year off), and I was yes, nervous, but most of all, curious and excited.
Thinking back to my first year, I realize now that university will be period of my life where a huge amount of self-discovery happens. I have changed so much since then. I have experienced so many new things and met so many interesting people from different high schools, cities, and even different countries. There is nothing better than hearing someone call my name across QUAD because they want to say “hi” to me. That sense of belonging is such a special feeling. I know that I’m a part of community – not a clique, not a crowd, a community a large, diverse, and ever changing and accepting community.
University has also taught me to think on a much deeper level, whether it is about, current events, responsibilities, or relationships. It’s even forced me to evaluate myself in a way that’s constructive and that pushes me to strive for personal growth. It has taught me that things are never the way they appear to be, and that I should always try to remain open and non-judgemental - but always with a receptive, but equally critical eye (after all, balance and perspective should always come into play). University has revealed the capacity that my friends have to care for me, and love me, and support me, and that is something I know that I will treasure forever.
This university isn’t just a place where I learn, it’s a community that I cherish.
Niabi is a fourth year BA student double majoring in English and Spanish. She’s a relentless optimist, hazardously curious, and loves a good laugh (her friends would say that she has a juvenile sense of humour). When not jamming out to Reggaeton, you can find her trying to cuddle every dog she sees, or serving herself “eyes-are-too-big-for-your-stomach” helpings.