The Next Chapter

By Tyler DeWacht

There comes a time where you have to move on from a life of education into a life of work. Learning through schooling is good, but as much as you want it to last forever, it won’t. The time to leave is coming for me, and I have mixed feelings about it. Throughout my time here at Concordia, I’ve learned many things, both good and bad. Before I go though, I’d like to take this chance to pass on some of the things I’ve learned to those of you who will be returning in the fall.

First, university isn’t all about work and grades. For example, you may have seen posters scattered throughout the halls that are advertising various events. If you see something that interests you, why not make plans to attend? It can be fun, you can learn new things you otherwise wouldn’t, make some connections, and sometimes you can even get a free lunch out of it! Don’t be afraid to attend these events–most of them are free!

While you’re at it, look into joining a club! Get together with some like-minded people and talk about your common interests! There are clubs for science, philosophy, gaming, you name it! If you don’t find the club for you, then you can even make your own club! There are other options available as well, like joining an athletic team or writing for The Bolt! You aren’t obligated to stick with just one, try all the options and see what works best for you.

Of course, you shouldn’t let these events affect your grades either. Entertainment is all well and good, but classes should be your greatest priority. If you have a deadline or exam coming up soon, don’t procrastinate, do it before you have to. Even if you just do small parts of it at a time, it’s better than rushing out a half-hearted product at the last minute. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for an extension if there’s too much on your plate at the same time, most instructors will be willing to help you out. You can also make use of the services provided at the Writing Centre in the library if you’re not confident in your essay skills.

That being said, you may have to make difficult choices sometimes. As is quoted from Stratagem 11 of the 36 Stratagems, “sacrifice the plum tree to save the peach tree.” If it’s impossible for you to get two assignments done in time, focus on what’s more important and take the deduction on the other for turning it in late. Lower your expectations a bit, you won’t be able to get a high grade every single time; the occasional low grade won’t kill you, just pick yourself up and do better next time. Do your best, but don’t sacrifice your wellbeing while chasing that high grade in your courses.

On the subject of courses, when you’re signing up for courses, try to diversify what you take. Don’t take all the good stuff first, or you won’t have anything to look forward to later. Likewise, don’t keep putting off the problematic courses, or you’ll later have to deal with them all at once. Keep in mind the subject too, try not to take too many of the same type. Don’t overload yourself with too many courses that use the same type of assignments. This applies to writing assignments in particular, you’ll be more tempted to procrastinate, and the $10 allotted printing balance will not last the whole semester with a load like that. While you’re at it, think about the spaces between as well; do you want several courses back-to-back, or do you want a break in-between? How late or early are you willing to come in?

It may seem like you have a lot of time left before you graduate, but that time won’t last forever. The end will sneak up on you, don’t let it catch you unprepared. Have a plan laid out for what you’ll do next, even if it’s just a general guideline. Some questions to think about: What kind of job do I want when I’m done? Will I need further education? How much debt do I need to pay off? Those kinds of questions are important for you to consider.

That’s about all I have to offer at the moment. I’m probably missing something, but it’s no fun if you don’t solve some of the problems yourself, so I’ll stop here. Not forever, mind you, I’ll still continue to write after I graduate, just in new places. Life goes on whether you want it to or not, so prepare yourself for the next chapter. It’s been a great experience to write for The Bolt News, and I wish all those who read this article the best of luck in their future endeavors.

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