Little did I realize that my final article in this magazine would eventually come full circle, with me reflecting on all of my graduate experiences. As I kept reminiscing and filtering through experiences, I realized that I had learned something that had not been obvious to me previously. Now, I am days away from bidding goodbye to an environment that enriched my growth personally as well as professionally. The first of many, was to trust the little voice inside me that is strong and wholeheartedly believes in me. Give power to your being, your opinions and discoveries no matter how insignificant you believe they are.
When I was asked to write a reflective piece as a way to end the column, I was immediately interested because it meant I could sit back and ponder on all the little things I learned along the way that I had overlooked in my rush to move on to the next big thing. How human of me, but aren’t we all like this? In this hushed, fast-paced environment, dependability, truthfulness and transparency is long forgotten. Right before I started this journey people told me about how much I was going to learn, but didn’t mention how tired I was going to be, and how I have to remember it won’t last forever…
So, in this final installment of this series, I’ve decided to be completely honest and transparent, rather than writing myself up, because this isn’t a personal statement, but rather an exit piece, a piece that would officially mark the end of a column that I’ve grown to love and edit and write for. However, it also marks the beginning of the next chapter of my life.
For months, ever since I knew this was coming, I’ve imagined writing about the analytical, critical and interpersonal skills that have surrounded me with every decision I’ve taken ownership of. It’s fair to say that I’ve filled out many applications in the last year in preparation for what’s next in my life’s journey, and one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is to define a massive change rather than a challenge that has shaped me. While it may be the death of a close relative, coming clean or surviving a near-fatal accident for many, for me, nothing compares to living in a completely new country and assimilating to an entirely new culture and environmental space. For many people, their first time away from home is at university.
Have I changed a lot since I started university? Unquestionably. Yet, this is not my first time living away from home. I spent my entire undergrad in a different state, but never a different country. Much of it had to do with the fact that I was venturing into uncharted territory. But that was exactly what I had agreed to. And now, more than ever, it is not the time to whine.
Participate as much as possible on campus. This small but extremely valuable piece of advice cannot be overstated. Academics are important for most people, including myself, but immersing yourself in campus events creates healthier and smoother transitions. We’d all graduate one day and miss the feeling of being in an academic setting, so do yourself a favor and cherish the best years of your life. Sure, I did, and I’m sure you will as well.
When I applied, I was asked how I planned to meet the challenges that awaited me. But, what about when I would leave? What about all the things I promised to be back then? Am I a fixature of the past I said I envision to be? Was I overly ambitious, or did I always get myself wrong?
I realized that this final column and my closing had caused me to reflect and go deep down memory lane, and I found myself looking for unexpected answers. Did I meet my own expectations? I am fortunate in that I write every week, reflecting on the most important aspects of my life that I decide and allow myself to print and share with the student body. What about other professionals? Would they sit down and think about what the university taught them rather than what they learned from their degree or where they would be accepted next? Will they care more about when they leave than when they arrive?
The deeper I delve into this exit piece, the more I believe that every exit piece is grander than a personal statement that gets you into the university. In conclusion, a personal statement is either an offer or a refusal. However, an exit piece is an ode to everything for which you are grateful and humbled. It was a weave that would eventually play an important role in everything that would happen in the unscripted journey of life