Editor’s note: On graduation day

It’s that time of year again.

Another crop of well-adjusted and — hopefully — qualified individuals will make their way into the working world.

Simultaneously, another group will step up to the plate and fill their shoes, gearing up to prepare for seminars, capstones and final projects.

It is a period of reflection for many people, particularly those graduating — myself included.

Upon receiving my degree — and that fancy hood thingy — I found myself awash with an array of emotions. How, after four years of discovery and childish wonder, will I continue to learn and grow as a human without the guidance of my professors?

Good question.

While I credit my teachers with providing me the tools and information I needed to succeed, I have to say that I learned more from my peers and my friends than I ever could have expected — and I mean that in the most purely positive of ways.

My fellow students provided me with the discussion and discourse that I could only dream about taking part of in a large classroom.

I mean, let’s be honest, no one wants to experience cognitive dissonance in a lecture hall filled with 200 other students.

Maybe the fear of being put on the spot kept a lot of my personal feelings and opinions at bay; I couldn’t count the amount of times I buried thoughts deep in my mind, only to have them erupt the second I entered the safety of my best friend’s apartment.

That is why I am so grateful for the experiences I had — both inside and outside of the classroom. The discussions often started in lectures; the real learning happened once I engaged the material with peers, each of us slumped knee-to-knee on generic, fire-proof dorm furniture.

Those are the experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I mean, there are definitely some classes I could have done without — taking psych 101 as an elective almost cost me my degree — but there isn’t a single individual I met, teacher or student, that didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

They often did so in such a way that challenged both my own interpretations of the world as well as the status quo.

If I learned anything important in university, it would probably have to be that people are never going to fully agree on anything — and that’s totally okay. You can disagree with something without being an asshole, and you can still be friends with someone if they hold a different set of values than you.

At the end of the day, if there is one thing that I hope everyone takes away from post-secondary education, it would definitely have to be something revolving around this.

University is the perfect time for you to get out of your comfort zone. Chill with people from cool places, find friends with diverse opinions and backgrounds — political or otherwise. You may never have the opportunity to be around so many interesting and talented people again for the rest of your days.

It may seem tempting to hunker down and keep to yourself a lot of the time.

On the flip side of that, maybe you just came to school to get away from your parents and let loose — not really my style per se — but it’s your life and no one can tell you how to live it, especially not me.

What I would personally recommend however, is that you just take a couple minutes to reflect on the things you love most about going to school — everybody is different.

Sometimes what seems important at the moment really doesn’t matter in the long run and sometimes what seems important long-term isn’t as huge of a deal as you think.

The only solid advice I can leave you with is to just enjoy all of it while you can.

You’ll be shocked at the things that go through your brain as you walk across that stage.

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