Mind your mind: My personal and academic education are equally important

Although my English professor once explained that university is often a stressful, daunting and chaotic time, she also advised me to never lose sight of why I accepted my offer of admission to UBC and made the decision to pursue a degree. In her own words, it was a love of learning as well as a desire to discover myself.

I took her advice to heart and agreed with her that the rest is irrelevant — just background noise that gets in the way. What struck me the most about our conversation was realizing that university is such a privileged time. As students, we have the luxury of space to reflect, grow and explore. We get the opportunity to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” and, “What’s my purpose?”

I wasn’t kidding when I wrote on my UBC application that I hoped studying Creative Writing would not only help me become a better writer, but also help me figure out who I am. When I walked around the campus for the first time, I just knew. There’d never been a question of where I was going or where I needed to be. I truly believe that sometimes we end up somewhere in life for one reason and it ends up helping us for entirely different reasons.

As students, it’s easy to forget the reason we chose UBC in the first place. We spend so much time worrying over our course loads, trying to figure out what to major or minor in and how many credits we need to take if we want to graduate on time while still respecting our limits and pleasing those around us. We get overwhelmed by busy schedules and financial stress as we attempt to keep a high GPA and embellish our resumes with extracurriculars, internships and so much more.

I know that it’s easy to give up and I often wonder why I’m paying thousands of dollars in order to get a piece of paper. During finals season especially, it’s easy to get distracted and discouraged. But as university students, we should remember that we’re granted the opportunity to practice becoming more resilient.

I think it’s important to stay mindful of the fact that pursuing a degree is as much about professional development and academics as it is about self-growth and becoming our own individuals. We can challenge ourselves on so many levels, learn new skills in all areas of our lives and most importantly, take the time to embrace the good, the bad and everything in between.  I can confidently say that choosing UBC has given me endless possibilities.