Are you ready to start your first year of University or College? I remember my first year of University, my anticipation for the new school year was filled with both excitement and stress. So if you are experiencing this “fear of the unknown”, that is normal. Just relax and don’t worry it will all work out and everything will be ok unless of course, you decided to set yourself up for failure. What do I mean by this? We’ll basically, starting a new post-secondary school program is a stressful process to begin with, because it is the first step you are making in the direction of your future career. Also, there are 4 decisions that you must make before you even start school which will impact your post-secondary school experience and your future.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Before you even sit down in your first College or University classroom you would have already have had to make some pretty big decisions. These decisions would have been filled and influenced by your personal interests and goals for the future. But when it comes to huge decisions like choosing the right program or institution to invest years of hard work in, many students don’t set themselves up for success. I am not trying to scare you but your focus on bringing the correct technology to your dormitory is way less important than the program you actually decided to enroll in.
Real Advice From A Student That Has Been In Your Position
I have to warn you the advice I am going to share with you is unconventional because it may be something you don’t want to hear. But I promise you that the advice I am going to pass onto you is advice that many people wish they heard before they started a post-secondary school program. This advice is most likely not the type of “real” or “hard to hear” advice that your parents, family, friends, guidance counselor, and teachers will give to you. This advice is from a student that has had to make these tough decisions while witnessing many other students negatively affected by the consequences of choosing wrong. So if you want to set yourself up for success in University or College while designing the future you hoped for, continue reading this article. On the other hand, if you want to set yourself up for a miserable and unfulfilling future, stop reading now and good luck.
Advice That Will Change Your Life
Awesome, you kept on reading. So as I promised, I am going to give you some advice in regards to four of the toughest decisions that you will have to make when starting a new College or University program.
1. Don’t Choose A Career Path Because Of Your Parents
I know so many people that decide on a career path just because their parents want them to have a prestigious occupation. This is ridiculous but I get it. Personally, I have been blessed with amazing parents that are very supportive and have always supported my decisions, so I have never had to deal with this. But at the end of the day, do not choose a field or career path that you aren’t interested in, just to make your parents happy. When you select a program you are designing your future, your life and investing your time, so be selfish. Your time is the most valuable thing you possess, so why waste it doing a program or career you hate? Also choosing a career path you hate will make you miserable, hinder your performance in that field and make school 10 times harder than it already is.
So be real with your parents and choose and career path that you are passionate about and not the one that they are forcing on you. I can only imagine how difficult this conversation can be but honestly designing the life you want to live and your happiness is more important. If you don’t believe me, just reflect about this because if you think living with regret and unhappiness in 50 years is worth it then feel free to let other people design your life. But just remember you only have one life and as the great Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
2. Don’t Choose A Career Path Because of Money
Don’t not, I repeat do not choose a program or career path because of money. I know so many people that want to become doctors or lawyers solely because they want to make a lot of “money”. But honestly, if you don’t enjoy those field don’t do it because you will either burn out quickly or be unsatisfied. In addition, just because some occupations are known to have high yearly incomes, you will never be able to get your time back for all of those years of school you had to complete. So make sure you chose a course that you enjoy and not one solely because the ending yearly income is lucrative because money can’t buy happiness. Thus, I suggest you do what my dad used to tell me, “do what you are passionate about and if you work hard enough you can make a career out of it.” Basically, I have learnt that it doesn’t matter if you enjoy knitting, blogging or even skateboarding, if you work your ass off you can make a living of it.
3. Don’t Go To A University or College Out of Town For The Wrong Reasons
Once you begin the process of deciding what College or University you want to attend, do not make one of the common mistakes that new students often make. I totally get that you want to move out of your parent’s house, experience the world and enjoy your freshmen university experience. But don’t let “moving out” be the sole reason you choose one school over another. Honestly, I know a lot of people that chose a program at a far University because they just wanted to move out and experience the University dormitory lifestyle. I get it but at the end of the day choosing a program that better suits your goals and interests is more beneficial than a program that is further away from home but not aligned with your goals for the future.
4. Don’t Start A Program Just For The Sake Of Going To School
Finally, my last piece of advice to any new student out there is to not go to College or University for the sake of going to school. If you aren’t sure what you want to pursue, just take a year off to decide, experience new things, learn on your own time and really figure out what you enjoy. Don’t feel obligated to go to school right away because all of your friends are going, take a gap year if you are not 100% certain about what you want to pursue. Taking a year or two off is normal because not everyone knows at a young age what they want to pursue in life, so if your funds are tight and you are unsure about your passions take a gap year and figure it out. This time off of full-time schooling will not only help you save money for school in the future but also help you better understand your goals.
One Additional Piece Of Advice
Don’t Feel Obligated To Continue A Program You Hate
On a side note, some of you will start a program and realize that the school you are attending or program is not the right fit. If this happens to you, don’t feel obligated to continue for the sake of finishing what you started. Personally, I transferred schools after my second year of University and transferring to the Sheridan College Bachelor of Business Administration program (BBA) was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Although I was just transferring schools and not changing my program, this difficult decision changed my life in a positive way.
Design The Life of Your Dreams
So make sure you set yourself up for an enjoyable post-secondary school experience by not choosing a career path because of your parents or money, by not going to school out of town for the wrong reasons and by not going to school without a purpose. Honestly, I have been in your position before and I know that these decisions are very difficult but trust yourself and believe in your abilities because you have the power to design the life of your dreams.
Goodluck on the new school year!
Do you agree with these tips? Let me know in the comment section!
Bradley Thompson is a very Canadian lifestyle blogger, digital marketer and growth hacker from Toronto who is passionate about inspiring people through his blog and vlog. Although he lives a busy life he is dedicated to personal growth, developing his expertise and growing his blog, "Living the Canadian dream"!