The journey of life is hard. Real hard. So many aspects are hidden from you until you experience them yourself first hand. Go to university they said, graduate with a degree they said, get a job with that degree they said. I blindly followed along with the guidelines of life that I was brought up by and chose a career in science. My decision was at first reaffirmed because of my interest and love for science itself, but I quickly realized during the end of my third year of an undergraduate that it was more of an interest than a passion.
So instead of going the usual route of becoming a doctor or working in a lab, I took my chance of freedom upon graduation and moved to Toronto to work as an intern for a digital ad agency. Quite the change of direction in careers.
Can I admit that it was scary? Yes. Can I own up to the fact that I wasn't sure if it was for me? Yes again. But did I do it anyways? Here's the important answer - yes. I took the plunge and risked my chances anyways. And what have I learned? That you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I gained knowledge, I gained friends, I gained skills, but the most important thing of all was that I gained experience. Here are some other things I learned as an undergrad (that was #1 in case you didn't catch on).
2. I like my money where I can see it - in my closet, but disposable fashion is a poor investment.
My early days as a shopaholic involved many hours at the mall right next to my campus where money was thrown left right and centre for purchases to stay on trend. Since then I have learned that fashion is extremely disposable and changes constantly. I have also learned to develop my own style that helps me up-cycle my closet to create new outfits which I may have never imagined if I kept buying new clothes each season.
3. Investment pieces go a long way and your money is worth it.
I've had my fair share of shoes that last no longer than 4 months, and bags that last no longer than a year. Why? Because I paid $30-50 for them. What you pay is what you get. Obviously there are limits to how much you are willing to spend as a student and when the lines between splurging and wasting money get blurred.
If you're paying for a $30 bag at Forever 21 don't expect it to last longer than a year or two. If you're paying for a $100 key pouch and coin purse from Tory Burch, expect the leather to last you long enough to get bored of the style and for it to come with a personal cleaning service. I accidentally spilled nail polish on mine and they cleaned it in store for me for free.
4. If your parents don't like him, it's not worth it.
I spent the majority of my undergrad in a relationship that my parents disapproved, and I never understood how much better it felt when they accepted my new boyfriend. This is not to say that I dated someone new just to satisfy my parents. But the fact that dating someone that they didn't accept made my relationship more difficult than it was already. Having someone my parents welcomed home with open arms was a huge added bonus to my relationship because it meant that I would never have to tip toe around them. It feels good to know that he's welcomed into the family.
5. Napping is a quintessential component of my daily routine.
Remember when you were younger and refused to nap in the afternoon when your parents told you to? Well now I wish that siestas were a part of our day. There are only so many hours in a day and with so much of spent working, sometimes there needs to be extra time allotted just for sleeping.
6. Surviving on 5 hours of sleep a night is not possible.
Sure it may be possible for the first couple of weeks, but you'll literally be walking around like a zombie. I learned in one of my classes that you accumulate a sleep debt - a debt of hours you've lost from not sleeping, and that it only lasts up to 2 weeks. When the sleep debt is not made up within that time frame, those lost hours age you. Transitioning from getting 5 hours of sleep in my first year of university to getting 8 hours in my last made a huge difference. I was more alert, I learned better and I was also more coherent when talking and completing assignments. Case in point, sleep - it's good for you.
7. You'll mature more in those 4 short years than you did in the 17 years prior.
You'll learn how to manage time, money, your family/friends, and food. The cross-over from high school to university is a huge jump in life and throws you into the semi-real world of reality (you won't know real until you've graduated). So don't be afraid if you feel like you're lost in your first year. Eventually you'll learn from your mistakes and pick up where you left off for a positive ending.
Labels: 7 things learnt, advice, life lessons, philosophical, undergrad