Uni teaches you a lot of things. To start off, yes, it’s supposed to teach you what the course outlines teach you (Focus on the ‘supposed to teach you’ part). It teaches you to think, write and speak. It teaches you to be an independent learner. All of that’s stuff that has been said. All of that’s stuff that I knew before going into uni.
After 3 years of being at uni (which actually feels like a long time. I’d see the first years and instantly realise how young they look), I’ve found that the most valuable lessons that going to uni teaches you are the implicit lessons. The lessons that don’t get written on paper. The lessons that are hard to describe. The life lessons.
The most valuable lesson that I’ve learnt from my three years of being at a tertiary institution is that everything comes down to choice.
Having come from a high school that was very focussed on academics, I didn’t understand why people were okay with getting Pass marks. Sure, I could say that the reason I was trying so hard in all my subjects was because I had to maintain a Distinction Average to keep my scholarship and to get into Honours. At the same time, I know deep down that being the nerd that I am, I would still spend a lot of effort on studying anyway.
But I also didn’t know and appreciate a little more of their lives. These people wanted to spend more time on working, and I now respect them for whatever reason it is that makes them do it (whether it be saving up so they can buy new clothes, to pay for rent or just because they love their job). These people wanted to spend more time with their friends and family. And as much as lecturers reprimand people for partying 24/7, that’s totally okay too, because these people have decided that their social life is what is most important to them at the time. These people might simply be here to get the qualification. Who knows, and truth is, you’ll never know, and you should never guess.
I used to really admire people who just seemed to ‘have all the rights to humble brag.’ These were people who had received High Distinction Averages in all their subjects, but now, I’m also recognising that they might’ve had to sacrifice everything in order to achieve these marks. These people who had all the job opportunities lined up, but did I also know that they had also missed most of their classes to work their corporate job? These people who went out to all these cool events happening around Sydney (and geez, Sydney REALLY is a pretty cool city, with so much happening all the time), but I also assumed that they had only gone out because they had done their uni work already.
One of the things that uni first teaches you is that you’ll never have time to do everything. For the past 3 years, I’ve overloaded from the standard number of courses per semester (would not recommend). I’ve kept my job, I volunteered, I tried to maintain a social life (sorry friends, still failing at this one), I tried to spend time with my family, and I’ve exercised daily. How? I had to sacrifice, and I chose to sacrifice sleep. And recently, there was a while where by body felt like it was attacking itself. My doctor had to beg me to get more sleep until my health levels improve. So now is a good time for me to re-evaluate my choices.
Truth is, there’s never enough time, so you’d have to choose what’s most important to you at the time. So whatever you choose to do with your uni life, I respect you. Now, go lead the life that you want to lead!