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I met a countless number of people in University who reasons and motivations for being there were circumstance at best. Popular ones included “I liked doing X subject in school” or “everyone else is doing it”. While it is certainly understandable why people get swept up in these ways of thinking, it is no surprise that a large majority did not enjoy their experience. I think a large part of this is a result of a poor framing of the opportunity being in University present.

For whatever reasons, being able to say you are a University student is like a free-pass for failure. This applies for almost anything you can do. When students apply for professional work experience o If r opportunities, part of the expectation on the opportunity-giver is for the to provide mentorship and learning. If a start-up or venture or project of yours fails, you can just say that you started it when in University and people will just accept that as part of your learning experience. Try to do the same things without the ability to say you are in University and people are more unforgiving, their expectations become a lot higher. So for the three, four, or five years at University, it really should be thought of as a free-pass to take a lot of risks. If it doesn’t come off, then you have the automatic backup of saying you are in University.

In high school, my teachers often reminded me us that that we would forget almost everything we learnt in classes but only remember the people we met along the way. The same applies to a University environment. My framing of University was that it was an opportunity to find and meet the people that I would venture into the rest of life with. My approach for doing this was to get involved in as varied a set of projects as I could including building a satellite, starting a magazine, and joining a science scholars program among other things. There is no other environment better built for exposure to such a diversity of opportunity.

The common thread that binds my arguments is that what you study is not that important necessarily. I don’t mean to say it’s inconsequential, the appropriate amount of effort still needs to given since it costs a lot. But one’s attention should not be solely pre-occupied with curricular concerns. It is the extra-curricular opportunities where the true value of University is hidden.

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