As a fourth-year student undergoing my final year of post-secondary studies, I can confidently say that I’ve exhausted my privilege of hindsight and have spent much of my fall semester reflecting upon my experience as an undergraduate student. While Nipissing University has been the foundation for many happy memories and quite a bit of personal growth, one of my most significant regrets is my reluctance leave behind the familiarity of my comfort zone a little more. Thus, I’m going to share with all of you something that I wish someone would have told me when I was just a first-year student.
Not only will your post-secondary studies be one of the most rewarding and academically challenging decisions you will have made thus far, your experience at Nipissing University will also be riddled with countless opportunities to participate in something, anything and everything. Through my own experience, I’ve learned that it is easier to say “tomorrow” or “next time” in lieu of participating in something that both excites and intimidates you.
It is absolutely normal to feel reluctant to leave the familiarity and the routine of our individual comfort zones, which will sometimes thus discourage you from taking the opportunity to experience something new. However, the years that you spend pursuing a post-secondary education are meant to both challenge and shape you. Permitting yourself to act outside of your comfort zone every now and again will expose you to new skills, people, and opportunities you may never have otherwise had. Every opportunity to experience something new is another opportunity to learn.
The best advice I could possibly offer to you is this: take the opportunity to participate. Whether you weren’t sure about signing up for an intramural sport, applying for a new job, or simply raising your hand during lecture and participating in class discussions; this is your cue to remind yourself that you have something of value to contribute. If you don’t, four years will go by and still the “tomorrow” that you were waiting for might never come.
Go on, unapologetically try something new. Let yourself grow.