'The university has helped a great deal'

What 2023 has taught me: UU edition

Photo: Pixabay

As I watch the snow falling from my warm, comfy bed, I cannot stop thinking about how much last year has taught me and how university and student life have changed me. I strive to become the best version of myself and I can affirm, with great relief, that university has helped a great deal. Being a student is not just about studying, exams, and stressing over grades, it is also about learning new skills, surprising yourself with how smart you are, finding new friends, drinking coffee while spilling tea, and befriending that one lonely kid sitting at the back of the classroom.

Throughout the past year, I've learned to closely read the world around me. I've learned that there are no wrong answers when analysing poetry, that talking to people I do not know is not as scary as my anxiety tells me it is, that I can literally write the most beautiful paper, and that there will always be a witty classmate who will tell me to check the MLA once again. 

Being a student in this world can be overwhelming, with all the pressure that society puts on us to be the best among everybody else, trying to instil in your brain that university is a competition. With time, I've learned that I am not my grades and that I shouldn't feel like a failure if somebody’s essay is better than mine. I am not sure what awaits me in the future, what my place in society will be, or if I will manage to find a job that will allow me to be a writer in the meantime. All I know is that, at times, people have epiphanies that help them understand who they want to be. A classmate of mine is writing an amazing book, while another one already published her first novel, and I am trying to be their biggest supporter. Life is filled with these tiny moments of glory we all aspire to and the sooner we learn to be happy for the people around us, the sooner those moments of glory will be ours. You attract what you give most of the time, I promise you. 

I swear that the people looking at you are not silently judging the way you are dressed or your hair, most of the time people are so incredibly busy thinking about themselves that they do not process what is happening around them. At university, I've found friends who made me realise that platonic love is real and is one of the strongest, purest feelings you may ever feel as you grow up. Even the smallest gesture, such as sharing notes or asking how your exam went, can fill a student with immense joy. At times, teachers teach you a lot more than literature, when they listen to you with empathy as you share a problem or when they do their best to help you pass their course. Maybe they do not realise how much that means to me, to us.