It’s so easy in life, especially at university, to get so caught up in the fast-paced lifestyle that you lose your sense of purpose, and happiness is quickly replaced by stress. Happiness is a conscious choice which must be made second-by-second. I love a busy life, in fact I find it very difficult to focus without a list of things to do. But, at the same time as enjoying this I often get so swept up in my next project or plan that I forget to enjoy the moment I’m in.
Your university experience should be some of the best years of your life, all-night study sessions and all.
Last weekend I was working at OUF (the Ontario University’s Fair) all weekend, immediately following classes and other work shifts. OUF is probably one of my favourite events of the year, but it is also one of the most emotionally draining events to work. I found myself running through mental checklists of everything I needed to do each day, until I forced myself to take a breath, look around at all these wonderful potential students, and realize that this is my last year at OUF. No matter how taxing each project, assignment or shift is, try to take a moment to realize that you only get to do this once. If it’s something you love, stop and enjoy it. If it’s something you hate, stop and revel in the fact that you never have to do it again.
The key to an amazing university experience is collecting memories and embracing this time of self-discovery. You need to put yourself out there and enjoy the good and grow from the bad. Some of the best ways to do this at Glendon, and in life, is to get involved.
In first year, many students feel too nervous to get involved in extra-curriculars. This can either be because of “intimidating” upper-years or because they are hesitant to take on too much with a university course-load. First, upper-years aren’t that bad (I swear, we’re okay really) and clubs are always looking for younger students to train through different club positions, and second, we’re all students together, and a good club has your back. Now, I’m not saying go out and join three different clubs, but maybe pick one to be more involved in (maybe as an executive) and one where you can attend meetings as a non-executive to learn for the next year. I guarantee being involved is worth it. You make amazing connections, find out where your passions lie and will get to be a part of some wonderful events. Throughout my time at Glendon I have been a part of five different clubs or organizations; some were a great fit for me and others less so. But, to this day I have memories of parades, bake-sale prep, pub nights, dances, advocacy events and meeting interesting community members which remain clear in my mind.
Another trick I’ve found to be able to enjoy these moments is to take a break. From your home, your dorm room, your classroom, your textbooks, your laptop, and sometimes even other people. Have a space which is just for you and which has no connections to any obligations in your life. For me, this was the trails at Glendon in the valley. I like to think of my walks here as a “reset button”. It’s so easy to get stuck in your head or get bogged down with the little things that sometimes your mind needs a physical separation from everything, so that you can come back refreshed to any situation. It’s hard to enjoy life when you have a million things scrolling through your mind.
Being young is all about collecting experiences. You’ll continue to collect these experiences as you grow, but the learning process is slightly different, and your head starts to interrupt your heart more and more.
You only get to live each day once, so follow your gut. Now is the time to make mistakes and create unforgettable memories, to test yourself and push yourself to ridiculous limits. Whether that is following a feeling about a person, uncertain of the outcome, following your gut to buy a trip to Europe, when you don’t exactly have the money, or forcing yourself to try that weird food at that hole-in-the-wall restaurant, if you don’t take the time to deeply feel and experience all of these moments in their entirety, what’s the point in living?
Janet Jackson- Rhythm Nation
The Ink Spots- Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
K-OS- Sunday Morning
Peter Gabriel- Solsbury Hill
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers- Don’t Do Me Like That