It’s hard to believe I’m already done the second year of my university degree. Heck, it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly June!
Looking back on the past year, I can see that I have grown immensely in many ways. I feel like first year was for dipping my feet and testing the waters and trying to get comfortable in a totally new environment, whereas this year has been about exploring and expanding in my now-familiar community in Vancouver.
I have become a much better harpist and musician this year; pieces that would have given me headaches trying to learn before I can pick up in a few weeks! I learned a lot about how to practice properly and how not to become sabotaged by stage fright. I successfully played an opera (and the maestro said we were the best student harpists he’d ever worked with!) and greatly improved my ensemble playing skills. I was also able to join the Gamelan Ensemble and experience the music of another country while learning from of the best gamelan players in the world.
Academically, I learned a lot about the various subjects I studied and kept my grades high, and also about myself. For example, I realized that I absolutely detest writing papers. I would rather go learn Wagner’s Magic Fire Music with a bazillion pedal changes than write another paper! I rejoice at the fact that I don’t actually have to write any more for the rest of the degree! (This is also a reason why I feel that pursuing a Masters degree might not be for me…)
This year I also gained a lot of responsibility and maturity while living on my own. I can buy my own groceries, cook, clean, pay my hydro bill, set up home internet, and unclog the toilet all on my own, while also balancing school and my social life! I’m quite proud of myself for this, actually. I really enjoyed having that kind of control over my daily life, and it feels a bit weird being at home where most of that control is in my parents’ hands. Not bad, exactly, just kind of strange.
The friends I made in first year became even closer friends this year. It was slightly more effort to see each other since I had to hop on a bus to see most of them instead of walking down the hall, but we made it work. My friends and I also started playing Dungeons and Dragons in second term (because yes, we are nerds, although I prefer the term “awesome”) and it was a blast – it’s like playing pretend for grownups and it meant that we got together regularly to hang out!
One of the best things I did for myself this year was take Mindfulness classes through counselling services in Brock Hall. It helped me a lot in how I deal with stressful situations (no more meltdowns!) and has actually improved my general outlook in my day-to-day life.
In terms of involvement, I feel like I slacked a little. I was part of the Knitting and Sewing Club and I also joined the Yoga Club (which has helped my fitness in no small way), I took part in some promotional photo shoots, and attend the Student Leadership Conference, but I feel like I could have done more. I didn’t feel quite as connected, so next year I plan to try to find another involvement activity that will make me feel more of a part of the UBC community.
Overall, this year was amazing. It passed in a blur that simultaneously felt like an incredibly long time and just a few weeks. It was not without challenges, but when we are challenged is when we grow the most and realize how strong we actually are. This year was rewarding and special, and I can’t believe I only get two more of them.