Shhh...the secret outcome of University
After high school there is a world of possibilities open to you.
If you were like me, University (or any post-secondary education) seems like the next step in pursuing a career in who knows what! (maybe you do know…).
I attempted a go at University but struggled so much mentally that I decided I needed to leave and go back home. Was the University life just not for me? Was the entire system overrated?
I remember feeling some pressure from my mom to give it more consideration. She wanted me to have that level of education in my back-pocket. I was not sure if I agreed with her that it was THAT important. But I did end up giving it another shot with University of Waterloo the next year.
In the end University did become an integral, important and influential aspect of my life!
Below is why I am happy I chose to stick with University. The unsaid aspects that University is truly all about...
It may seem like learning is an obvious consequence. But it’s not what I learned but the value of learning that permeated my mind. There are so many truths out there that have the potential to transform the way you see life. Maybe you won’t encounter all of the mind-blowing truths right away... but you will develop a curious nature that leads to life-altering realities along its road.
You will also be ingrained in the culture of the University. At University of Waterloo, there is an underlying culture of innovation and excellence. Developing a new idea and finding ways technologically to transform an aspect in society is THE NORM. I’m not even in “tech” but I have experienced the mindset where starting my own business or developing something new is not intimidating or unheard of but in full support and agreement with everyone around me.
The culture at a specific University or school does subconsciously shape the way you think and it’s worth it to sick around and soak up those campus culture VIBES.
PLUS the most eye-opening learning experience at University is what you LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF! Your strengths, weaknesses, questions, passions, interests, style, challenges, curiosities, awareness… the list goes on. I learned so much about who I am as a person through all of the experiences in and out of class (or online class as I took a lot of distance ed!). It was a step in directing me to harness the force within myself to change the world.
Resources for Mental Health
I know that University can bring a lot of stress especially in certain fields where the requirement of marks is extremely high! But University also brings a pleura of resources to engage you to take charge of your mental health.
At the University I attended, I had the opportunity to work with a psychologist through out the year where I received tools and techniques in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The school also provided a very supportive Doctor that wanted to take time to investigate into what helps my brain chemistry.
There are trained professionals ready to equip you with new ways of thinking and living that will make a mark way past your years in school. There are Doctors and Psychiatrists available to help with the physical aspects of mental health and help you find the right resources. These professionals are up-to-date in working with a person in their teens-20’s and have expertise in keeping you in a healthy state of mind.
There are also specific communities for any issue in which you need further support. Spiritual, sexual, political, environmental - the list goes on of the communities there to create a sense-of-belonging where your thoughts and ways of thinking are not shut down but validated and embraced – what could be more healing than that?!
University offers the world at your-finger-tips. Rock climbing? Photography? Power to change? Hockey? Save the environment? Sexuality talks? Create a multi-million idea?
University is where the interests of your generation are paramount! Pretty much anything you have ever wanted to explore or grow in is there waiting for you. Clubs and classes of all kinds are there to support you in developing your knowledge and expertise in any area. The world is at your grasp.
You can try something new that you’ve never tried before. You can sign-up for what you are amazing at and find like-minded people there to push you even further. Subjects you never knew were interests all of a sudden you find yourself in the midst of and finally feel at home!
Yes - Universities can be really large and overwhelming. You don’t feel like you connect always with the people in your class perhaps. But with an open heart and guard down you can find amazing friends and a sense of community.
There are people there with similar interests and passions as you. People who want to impact the world in a better way. People who want to connect with someone just like you!
There are communities built to enable students to connect and inspire one another.
A simple step through a door or a click of a mouse is all it takes to begin a journey in human interaction, integration and inspiration.
I personally found a crazy supportive community simply by emailing one club one day when I realized my own sense of need in connecting with other humans who care! This community was life-transformative and I still have life-long friends and change-making partners because of it.
If you are open to being a little vulnerable, the pay-off is a new found consciousness in the innate healing and transcending power of community.
There is nothing like University to start contemplating meaning and purpose here on earth! It is hard to step into classes and not need to ask questions that perhaps you’ve never asked yourself before. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What does the greater good need? What are humans made of?
There are numerous clubs and classes discussing these very questions. Young people are asking the deeper questions of what life is all about.
Going to church or meditating or talking about our connection to the environment may have been taboo or forced while growing up. But when these initiatives are led by others your age with the simple motivation of discovery then inquisitiveness is at its finest and the beauties of reality begin to unfold before your very eyes!
Before you roll your eyes at your parents for pressuring you to seek that higher education … know that they may not really know the best kept secret of it all…
that you find yourself. 😉