6 Life Lessons I Learned During University
Updated: Apr 16
1. Showing up is what counts
It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best or you’re not prepared. Showing up is the most important step. For example: show up to your profs office hours (even if you don’t need help yet), talk about the course and what you’re interested in. Maybe clarify future things like essays and projects. By showing up just once, you’re more likely to get a future appointment during rush season (midterms and exams).
Show up to class. If the class is podcasted, it’ll take you twice as long to write notes (because you’ll take advantage of pausing). If you go to class in person, you’ll write down what actually matters.
2. If you can explain it to a kid, you understand it
I stopped studying for an exam once I could explain the concepts to someone who didn’t know anything about that particular topic. For example, if I could explain what was revolutionary about the Mona Lisa to my 6 year old neighbour, I knew that I could write an essay on that topic for my Art History exam.
3. Hurry up and wait
Life is constantly about rushing here and there, rushing to an interview, rushing to be on time, rushing to make a good impression, rushing into getting a career. University taught me that you rush to make it somewhere and then you wait. So be ready and patient to wait around after stressing out the way there. Take that waiting time to re-center yourself and exude positive vibes. It’s almost like a gift that life is giving you: you rushed all that way and now you get a teeny break before it starts.
4. You need very little
In contrast to the many people lugging heavy backpacks filled with textbooks, their computers and a bunch of other “just in case” items - I carried only a small cross body bag. It was almost comical how little I carried - but think about it. You don’t need to bring much to learn - other than yourself (see #1). I carried with me a notebook, a couple of pens, my wallet, bus pass and a water bottle or snacks if I was planning to be on campus for a while. During a lecture, really all you’ll need is yourself and something to record your notes.
5. A positive mindset can change everything
I’ve had classes where the prof comes in saying they’re above the class they’re teaching and have no desire to be there. Do the best you can and be engaged in the course. Once they see students appreciating the material, they usually get excited about it too. This makes the course much more enjoyable for everyone.
You are also the only one who can fully control your happiness. You have the ability to look at any situation as a glass half-full or half-empty. A positive mindset will yield more happiness for you.
6. Some people are temporary - and that’s okay
It’s kind of hard at first, when you think you’ll be lifelong friends with someone and then after a course is over you never ever speak again. But such is life, and that’s okay. All those friends who come and go - you can thank them for the wonderful experiences and the laughs - and just move on. If neither of you put the effort into talking again or meeting up after school - its a mutual distancing in the friendship which is natural. Think of it like your part-time co-workers. While woking that part-time job; you speak all the time - but the moment you quit and move on you might never see or speak to them again. Temporality is a part of life. There is permanence in other things.