I think we can all agree that last year was a difficult one. It became so overwhelming that I had to drop some classes. Online learning and my disorganized lifestyle did not pair well together. I skipped classes or simply didn’t watch the online lectures, and before I knew it I had a backlog of late assignments, lectures to watch, and too many upcoming exams with material I hadn’t learned yet.
‘This year will be different,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’m in my fifth year of university, dammit, I should have this figured out by now.’ I promised myself that I would be on top of things this year—I even bought a day planner to prove just how committed I was.
And I was committed—for the first week. It seemed to have happened in the blink of an eye; a month in and I was already behind in all of my classes. The other day, on my regular dash to class, (because I’m always running late and because it was pouring down rain and I’d forgotten my rain jacket) my brand new Blundstones squelched into a pile of dog poop. Cursing, I wiped my shoes on some grass, reaching out to lean on a tree for support. The tree had spiky blackberry brambles wrapped around it. Startled by pain, I dropped the planner I was holding in my other hand… Right into a puddle.
I gave up. I could feel my eyes welling with tears and I was about to make the defeated walk back to my car when I noticed my phone ringing. It was a friend of mine, so I answered and word-vomited everything that just happened to me, how I’d wrecked my planner already and that life is so hard.
I could hear that she was laughing. Downright cackling, actually. I was soaked, with poo on my new shoes, a small cut on my hand, my soiled attempt at an organized life lay on the ground, and she was laughing her ass off.
The funny thing is, I was too. I pulled myself together and walked to class.
A big part of doing well in university, besides putting the work in, is just showing up. Even when you feel behind and overwhelmed, just keep pushing forward and you’ll end up reaching the same finish line as those who’d seemed so far ahead. Close your eyes, take a big deep breath, and start on something. You’ll be surprised how fast you get through it.
When life seems to be getting you down, call a friend. Even tell a stranger. They’ll be there to support you, or at the very least, help you laugh it off.
If there’s anything I learnt during quarantine, it’s the power of being around other people. VIU has so many clubs to join, wonderful instructors and fellow students bumping around campus, and great counsellors to talk to. You are not alone.
As someone in their fifth year of university, I am proof that you might not figure it out. But remember, you’re still here, and that’s enough.