If I knew then what I know now…

Hello there, my name is Shane, a 21 year-old student in the same boat as most others around my age. This is my first year here at Nipissing and I’m majoring in the Bachelor of Business Administration currently leaning towards streaming into Accounting. After I graduated from high school I took a victory lap, went to George Brown College and then Laurier Brantford, so suffice it to say I have been through quite a bit in regards to post-secondary education. I want to talk about what I have learned from my experiences from these past three to four years, what felt like being drawn the wrong hands and how I would have changed things if I had the opportunity to.

I don’t want to be generic and bore you by saying that I wouldn’t have changed a thing because it has “made me who I am”, because truth be told I would have changed a number of things. However, I will say that there are a lot of things I would not have changed because I learned a great deal about myself in the process. The first thing I wish I knew is that it takes a lot of thought prior to determining which school you’re attending. There’s no one to hold your hand and explain every little detail to you, both good and bad. It’s important to do plenty of thorough research before diving headlong into a school because you feel like you have to. You don’t. I can’t even count how many people I’ve seen leave schools because they rushed into things. Explore yourself and find your passion, it should come first and foremost. Three years ago I stopped taking Math and wanted to get into art, English or Psychology and now I’m here loving a program that is nothing like any of my past choices. It should be noted that you can explore while you’re in University, but you still close some doors because of credits not transferring over to other programs. Luckily for me all of my past credits transferred, but never rely on luck. Unless you’re gambling, then always rely on luck.

The next thing I wish I knew was that it is just as important to get involved, make connections and be comfortable meeting new people as it is getting good grades. Getting involved in your schools various activities, jobs and volunteer opportunities provide fantastic experience and will make you feel like you’re a part of your school. One of the best ways to know what’s going on around your school is to be in Residence, something that I decided against for two straight years until I arrived here at Nipissing. Trust me, it is an experience that anybody attending post-secondary should experience. It has introduced me to so many incredible people that I know I will keep in my life forever. I understand some people don’t have the luxury of this, and there are programs in place to accommodate those people so they too can get involved, but if you can then do not hesitate living in residence.

Over all, these past few years for me have been a roller coaster at best, but what I have taken from it is that with hard work and positivity all of the pieces fall together eventually. Take things slow, never do anything you don’t feel like you’re ready to do because you’re too afraid to make someone disappointed or unhappy, but also remember to try and break out of your comfort zone when you finally do find a place that will make you happy. Most of us are young and the next step of your life does not have to be a rush. If anyone takes something from this, let it be that message. I know I definitely would have if I knew then what I know now.

Shane Dunstall
2nd Year Bachelor of Business Administration