Solidarity between uni students is in the fact that none of us truly keep it together from beginning to end. If you’re managing, email me asap and be my life counsellor please and thank you—I can pay you in homemade dumplings that none of my friends would believe to be fit for consumption—but if you feel like you aren’t, read on.
After all, as we are are looking forward to bigger and better things in semester two, it is also important for us to have that time to ourselves to look back and reflect on the past 7 months that have whisked by. The wisdom and growth we have all gained in that time will hopefully make semester 2 less of a tragedy (“hopefully”).
Today I thought I’d share the lessons I learned last semester, in the spirit of how we’re all slowly and at times awkwardly figuring out how adult.
Lesson 1- Focus and take care of yourself throughout the semester.
My low point last semester was when I had three assessments flying down at me in one week. One of these was my first research essay that I had left until the night before. During this period, in order to increase the time I had to do my work, I had to say farewell to washing my hair. The process of shampooing, conditioning and drying actually takes me more than an hour, and it honestly seemed like a good call at the time (because starting the assessment early was just not an option). I sincerely apologise to the tall people who hugged me during that period and had to face the lake of hair grease.
I will now admit how easy it is to fall into the trap of the uni bubble, and have everything centered around class. Yes, we do have a lot of work to do, deadlines to meet and striving to do our best academically. However, to feel the need to burn yourself out, and to not practice basic hygiene habits should not be the norm, right?
So rather than letting ourselves go to the point where we become unrecognisably gross, switch it up to watching your favourite tv show, unplugging from social media; go to bed earlier, or take a walk through your local park. Take that pause to enjoy yourself and what is around you, and let yourself be refreshed and recharged.
Lesson 2- Accept that you may outgrow people you once loved.
Wish the people in your past all the best, and hope that they find what they need in life. It is hard letting go and continuing on without the people whom you cared for wholeheartedly. However, we all can move on and appreciate the journey that was taken, despite the ending. Remember that you shall meet many great people in life in the times to come, but first you need to make space in your heart for them by letting others go.
Lesson 3 – Take up feedback and improve your skills when you fall below your expectations
When I got the mark back for one of my first Criminology essays that I thought I did well in, I pretty much almost failed that assignment that was worth 50%, leaving me upset for days. I contemplated dropping that subject, as I was feeling like that I did not have what it took to do well in it.
All in all, that experience put me into an extremely determined mindset to improve on my essay writing skills, because I really did enjoy that subject. Therefore my conclusion was that, in order for me to get better, it meant I had to go over that essay which I wanted erased from my memory. It was only later when I embraced failure, that I would actually propel myself forward.
Since that experience, I took up a proactive approach towards my studies. I made appointments with Academic Skills, I read up on advice for essay writing, I spoke to my tutor, I re-read my essay and broke down the areas that I needed to focus on.
By the time it came to the final essay for that subject, I went ahead and applied all my new and improved skills. When results came out, I brought up the average for that subject to an H2A, and scored a WAM I thought would have been out of my reach. From this, it made me less stubborn to the fact that university is a place where we are meant to be challenged. Yet, do know that you do have support services and resources at university to assist you in building your skills.
Take your time to learn and enjoy that process, even if it means making mistakes. Even if they seem major at the time, they will soon lose that feeling of being some sort of defining moment, since you will have been able to learn and improve since then.
Lesson 4- Believe in yourself
When you feel as if you have to be at a certain place in life and that the current you is not there yet, do not panic and hold it against yourself. You will reach there soon enough in due time.
Just like how you can still make it to that uni lecture if you want too ;)
All the best with semester 2.
Have a good laugh and wash your hair.
About the author:
Liang is currently a first year BA student studying psychology and criminology. She can be often found doing Netflix marathon or spending too much time organising her diary and room in a mask of productivity. Share a bad pun and you have a friend in her!