Things I’ve Learned in University That Didn’t Come from Textbooks

 

1)The Importance of Mental Health

Throughout high school, I was one of those students whom school came easily too. I didn’t really have to study much and therefore was never really very stressed out as a result. When I got to post secondary education, stress became something that was as common to me as coffee in the morning. If I was without it, I immediately became more stressed because I was stressed I was forgetting something. This constant state of worry isn’t good for anyone, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. So when I started to develop other habits such as getting sweaty af for no reason at all (more on this in another post, maybe), worrying incessantly about trivial things, thinking about the safety of family members obsessively, I realized something was wrong. Turns out, my sweaty moments were panic attacks, a rather common symptom of anxiety. Now, I am a millennial, so I get to live in this really interesting world where the stigma surrounding mental health is beginning to dissipate, although it is still there. So I keep it to myself mostly, but I do definitely recognize taking a day for me to just do nothing but read a book and sit outside in the sun and not think about anything. Now I know this sometimes isn’t really plausible for some, with work or kids or other responsibilities, but I am in the most selfish stage of my life, so FUCK IT!

2) I am F*cking Terrible at Adulting, and That’s Okay

On the outside, I work at a part-time job, go to school full-time, have family time and a relationship and like five friends, so I’m doing fairly okay. But ask me to say, cook you a meal, and I will say “would you like eggs or fettuccini alfredo, friend?”. Because I have super awesome parents who let me live in their basement and cook family suppers for a few more blissful months until I graduate. So I haven’t really HAD to learn these things, but boy oh boy am I in for a shocker when I have to remember to do my laundry and clean a fridge on the reg.

3) Headphones = Best Invention

I honestly, really and truly regret not respecting these things earlier in my life. Don’t want to talk to someone? Headphones. Don’t want people to talk to you? Headphones. Don’t want to listen to people’s stories about how drunk they got at Gabbos while you were cuddled up with your cat watching Wentworth? Headphones. Get tangled up in my pocket all goddamn day, I don’t care. I think you are the most wondrous device invented for the modern-day student and for that, we thank you.

4) You Only Really Need a Few Good Friends

I KNOW this is something that is not knew. But when I was in high school, you were basically a caveman if you had less than 600 friends on Facebook, and your value was essentially decided by the expanse of your social network. Now, your network is important, I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that all of these people don’t have to know about your whole life, or care about your bullshit, and YOU don’t have to care about THEIRS. And that’s liberating as fuck. I didn’t really realize this beautiful thing until University when I was unnecessarily stressed out about my lack of seeing my acquaintances. All the time I saved not caring about how many friends I can gave me so much more time to connect on a meaningful level with the few people who actually care about me and my opinions and my hopes. I know you know this, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again.

5) Other People, and the Things They Can Teach You, are Really Cool

I went to a high school with approximately 340 kids-total. That’s not uncommon in Saskatchewan. But a reflection of that is that I only knew a few types of people. Sure, there were small differences, but all in all, looking back we were all quite similar (partly because we were scared to be too different, I suspect). So fast-forward to University, everyone is SO completely and unapologetically themselves that I am constantly in awe. The difference in opinions, past-times, creativity and so much more is amazing and while sometimes I certainly don’t agree or share in their passions, I also understand that it has helped me be more comfortable with becoming a more true version of myself.

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