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It’s hard to know exactly what life after college will have in store for me, but I do know that it’ll be laced with uncertainty. And in that regard, I’m confident that UMN is preparing me to be successful in life. It has been a challenge to transition to college but it's been one that I’ve relished with the amazing experience provided by UMN.

When I graduated high school, I – like most of my peers – thought I had it figured out. But what I didn’t realize was that all of my so-called independence was really just a facade. Yes, I had more freedoms at 18 than I did at 10, 12, or even 15 years old, but my parents were still propping me up to a degree.

When I was in high school, I didn’t realize how much shade my parents provided me. From finances and food to shelter, health, and emotional stability – they provided a sense of predictability and routine that simply doesn’t exist in the real world.  

At UMN I am so grateful for the academic and support in both the structure, flexibility and depth of the courses that are provided.. The university continues to provide incremental exposure to what life is like in the real world.

Leaving the comforts of home and entering into the “real world” can feel like a scary proposition. I know it felt/feels that way for me. I’ve gone from what was a fairly safe and predictable bubble to an environment where there are far fewer safety nets or guardrails to keep me protected.

In my senior year, there were challenges, but there were also a lot of positives. UMN has allowed me to take the senior year process slowly – at a manageable pace that’s preparing me for a time when there will be much less support and a lot more autonomous thinking and self determination in my post graduate professional life. 

So far, however, I’ve only got positive memories and I like to make a physical photo book of my years at UMN so that I can occasionally thumb through it and feel motivated to make the best of the opportunities that have been given to me. 

Transitioning from high school to college life has come with its own unique challenges for each individual. However, there are three major factors that can make this shift harder than most anticipate. 

Self-discipline. Life in college is far less structured than the average student’s high school experience. You choose how you schedule your studying, sleeping, socialising and extra curricular activities. There’s no constant reminder that you have to attend class or that you have to do your laundry for that matter! Incredible self-discipline is required to succeed at anything. This is something I have gained from my independence expereinced at university. 

Controlling my spending. Like most people I am financially responsible for myself at university. But the UMN also offers opportunities for scholarships, but of course with any course, grant or scholarship you have to keep on top of it so that your assignments are in on time. Every little support, advice and financial services offered helps though! Whether you’re paying for college upfront, or you’re incurring debt for each class you take it really helps to invest time into figuring out and planning your expenditures. I do it on a monthly basis.

Friendships and Socialising at UMN. It's very easy to find people High school is naturally conducive to making friends. You run in tight social circles. College isn’t always like this. You might attend a school where you have absolutely nobody. If you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t build a social group. 

You can look at these three aspects as mitigating factors in your growth and maturation, or you can view them as opportunities to learn and overcome. I’ve had some great experiences and made lifelong friends here so far – I really look forward to at least a couple more semesters in this great place. And though the scenery, people, and responsibilities will look different down the road, I’m confident in the fact that success is in my future.

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