Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting Ready for College/University (Part One)

This post might seem a bit odd in terms of timing (after all, school is about to finish for the year, not start!), but I got a request the other day from a young lady anxious about her upcoming first year of college (or university), so here it is!

Whether you're staying in the same city you grew up in, or going to another country, getting ready for your first year of college can be daunting. Aside from the obvious educational worries (Will it be a good school? Will I struggle with my studies?), starting out in your first year of college can also be a major social adjustment as well. You might have decided to attend a completely different school than the rest of your friends, or maybe you'll be going to college in a city where they speak a different language. In any case, congratulations! Making those kinds of important (and often a bit scary) personal decisions is a major stepping stone on your way to becoming a full fledged, independent, and educated adult. 

After I graduated from high school, I took a very different path than most of my peers by deciding to defer my studies for a year and go backpacking through Europe. Long before my graduation at the end of June, I had studied, prepared, and saved up for my trip, knowing it was exactly what I wanted to do. After completing 12+ years of straight schooling already, I knew I wanted to take a break and explore the world before I jumped right into the next stage of my studies. I backpacked through 17 countries in Europe, and it was an incredible experience. Looking back, my decision to defer going to university was the best thing for me, and it really gave me a chance to focus on getting a better understanding of myself and the world around me. When I did go off to university, a year later, I felt confident and ready to begin my post-secondary education. 

That's me in my first basement apartment in Vancouver!
I wouldn't recommend that everyone take a year off after high school to go travelling, but what I do recommend is that you take some time away from the chaos of getting ready for college, to really sit down and take the time to focus on yourself. What are your dreams, beliefs, and aspirations? What are you hoping to achieve over the next few years? 

College will challenge you in ways you could never have imagined, and introduce you to new things you never knew existed, so it's incredibly important to have a strong sense of yourself before you begin. 

This new transition in life will force you to take a leap of faith, so trust in yourself and good luck on your next adventure! 

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