Prior to entering my first year of university, I made countless goals. I wrote down the grades I wished to achieve, the extracurricular activities I hoped to join, and the leadership opportunities I would strive for. My high school career was devoted to getting into university, and I was expecting to devote my university experience to building a resume that would land me a great job. That being said, as soon as I got to school, I became distracted by my work load and quickly got into a routine of working, sleeping, eating, and socializing. Being in a new city was hard; I barely had time to make dinner, let alone focus on personal growth. Thus, my goals got pushed to the backburner as I struggled to balance my new life in London. For someone who is always working to better myself, I felt anxious about not having the time to participate in all of the activities I had predetermined to be beneficial for my resume.
While I completed my first year with amazing friends, good grades, and countless memories, I felt unsatisfied by my lack of club or extracurricular involvement. I was confused why so many of my friends and classmates had seemingly accomplished numerous “resume building” activities, while I had not. Upon reflecting on my first year success, I have come to realize that everyone works at their own pace, and for me, it took longer to settle in a new city than it may have for others. In order to feel comfortable at Western, learn how to handle my workload, and make meaningful friendships, I needed to devote the amount of time I did to my school and social life. While this left me with minimal time for extracurriculars and resume building, I was able to build the foundation for an amazing four years at Western.
Upon beginning my second year, I felt beyond ready to delve into Western’s diverse array of clubs and leadership activities. I completed an exciting summer internship in social media marketing and am now a part of three incredible volunteer teams. I have finally found my place in London, despite my lack of involvement in first year. I hope to share from my experience that it is never too late get involved. If you feel overwhelmed transitioning from high school to university, don’t feel pressured to take on more than you can handle in first year. Push yourself, yet realize your limits. While being a club executive may be what one first year deems successful, simply making a new friend may be a major conquest for another. It took me my entire first year to discover a proper work: life balance, yet taking this time to settle in was not only essential for my future success, but for my mental health as well.
As a piece of advice for first years: don’t compare yourself to others. You have accomplished so much already and it is only up from here.