University: What You Learn

My favourite thing about university is that it’s just as much about the future as it is about the present. In high school, I was always asked “what are you going to be,” “what are you going to do,” and “what are your next steps?” While I still get those questions here, they’re often matched by questions like “Cool. Well what are you doing tonight?”

That’s the great thing about university, to me: it’s a chance to build and work towards a future, while still having fun and freedom in the present. Sure, we’ve got a lot more assignments, midterms, and the like, but we also have so much less structure. Five classes a week leaves a lot of time for me to be who I am and do what I want to do. I know a lot of that time is supposed to be spent studying, but if we’re being honest, most of it isn’t. It’s spent adventuring, having experiences, and taking time for myself. It’s spent studying me.

Four years ago I started at Nipissing University as a first year student with no clue who I was or what I would become. I was so used to living under the constraints of my parents, my high school, and the daily schedule I had become so accustomed to that I never really had time to discover who I was or what I was capable of. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and that is probably the most valuable thing university has taught me. Sure, I know a lot about the stuff I paid to learn for my degree, but what use is that knowledge if I’m not sound in my own mind and body?

The freedom I’ve had here has given me the opportunity to figure out who I am, and that is a big deal. But, more importantly, it’s taught me that I am never just one thing. Every day is a new learning experience and a chance to change myself for the better. The friends I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, and the adventures I’ve been on throughout my four years at this campus have shown me that. University didn’t just teach me who I am: it taught me how to learn, how to think critically, and how to grow. With those skills and that knowledge, I can go on living every moment as a new chance to make myself someone better, to turn myself into the person I want to be.

That’s what I mean when I say the future is as important as the right now: the right now shapes what my future is going to look like. So take your chance to go on adventures, spend your free time living life, and at the end of the day take a moment or two to self-analyze. That way, the next time someone asks you “What are you going to be after university?”, you can tell them “The best version of myself I can imagine!”

– Justin