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For the last month, all you had to do was remind me that I would be more less done university in a few weeks and I’d be reduced to a pile of emotions. Sure, there’s good things about being done my undergraduate degree: no more midterms, no more finals, no more pretending to pay attention in class, no more starting and finishing a term paper the day it’s due, etc. There’s a lot I’m going to miss though, and it’s really weird to think back four years ago to my first term at MacEwan and look at how much I (and everything around me) has changed.

It’s even weirder to think that somehow I survived it. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an expert at life, but if I had to give a first-year student seven tips on how to make the most of the next four (or more) years of their life, here’s what I’d say.

  1. Learn How to Learn:
    Everyone has a different way to study efficiently and get decent grades. Figure out what works for you, whether that’s reading the entire textbook and making cue cards (unlikely) to skimming chapter summaries the night before the exam (more likely), find the right vibe that works for you.
  2. Have a FOMO:
    One of the truest pieces of advice I’ve ever been told is you’re going to regret more what you didn’t do than what you did. There’s nothing wrong with a fear of missing out so take risks and have new experiences. You’re only young once and university is supposed to be a time to take risks and find yourself, so take that whatever way you want and get out there, champ.
  3. Try to Build a Resume:
    One day, you’re probably going to want a job and you don’t have to be as crazy as me, and work four jobs while taking four classes, but try to get some experience. Work a job, volunteer, and get some training in a relevant area. Getting involved and having something to show for it goes a long way.
  4. Lists for your Lists:
    The first thing I do every term is make a list of everything I have due for marks in all of my classes chronologically, with how much it’s worth. Seeing what I have to do and how much I should put into it might look overwhelming originally, but knowing what to focus on one week at a time, puts the entire term into perspective.
  5. Don’t Forget To Do What You Love:
    In the midst of the emotional hurricane that is university, don’t forget who you are and what makes you happy. For me, there’s nothing I spend more money on than concerts and music and so regardless of how early I have to be up the next day, I’ll usually never turn down a night of live music. Don’t forget to see your friends too; if that means going all out at a keg party on Saturday and having to write two entire papers on a Sunday, sometimes it’s worth it.
  6. Be Recklessly Optimistic:
    My cover photo on Facebook for the longest time has been a banner saying “Everything Will Probably Be Alright” and to be honest, it probably will be. Even if you fail that exam or have no idea how you’re going to find a job when you graduate, you’re human and you’re a pretty great human at that. Change your perspective and look on the bright side. A little positivity goes a long way.
  7. Never Choose What’s Comfortable:
    Don’t settle for what’s easy because after all, life isn’t easy. Choosing the simple path now will just lead to a life of emptiness and pain. University is going to be hard and there’s going to be so many times you’re going to want to drop out and just do something easier, but keep pushing yourself and following your dreams.

Being more less done my Bachelor of Commerce is a weird feeling, but the last four and a half years have been without a doubt the most amazing years of my life. I’m so insanely thankful for all of the absolutely stellar people I’ve met and every crazy experience I’ve had with them. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, and learned so much both inside and outside of the classroom in the last four years. Overall, work hard, love lots, and just live because everything will probably be alright.

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