12 things I wish I knew before I went to University

Moving away to go to University/College is one of THE biggest transitions in life.  And since I coach people through all sorts of transitions, well, what better time than to share some of the things I learned while in University.

So kids, let your Aunt Tammy fill you in on a few things before you head off to Ikea for the 10th time today:

1 – You WILL be challenged, frustrated, disappointed, tired, homesick, impatient, anxious, lonely, emotional, scared, heartbroken, and annoyed a lot more than you think.  It’s alllll a part of the process.  When these moments happen, stop, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that ‘this is only a test’ (and these ‘tests’ tend to happen outside the classroom).

2 – Your best will vary from day to day.  Some days you’ll kick some serious ass and others you’ll barely get out of bed.  Or some days, sheer guilt will propel you out of bed for your 8:30am Friday morning class and you immediately get into a car accident and never make it to class (true story).  Take it all in stride and be especially kind to yourself on those down days.

3 – Roommates do not automatically equal friends.  Sure, some can become good if not great friends but manage your expectations going in.  Remember, you share a space together, that’s it.  Be respectful.

4 – For those truly special friends you do find, treat them well.  Have their back.  Vow to never leave the other behind at the bar and also to ask those sanity-checking questions when you’re tempted to make a drunken decision/text.

5 – You will make stupid decisions.  When those happen, take responsibility, apologize if you need to, and then move on.  Tomorrow is a new day.

6 – Don’t feel pressured to have it all figured out by the time you don that cap and gown.  When I graduated I thought for sure I wanted to be a physiotherapist.  Turns out it wasn’t for me.  But I eventually found my way back and you will too.  Trust in yourself and your path – it always works out the way it’s meant to.

7 – Get involved!  Whether it’s rec sports (inner tube water polo…one of my faves), clubs, associations, whatever.  This is one time in your life where you’re expected and encouraged to sample from the smorgasbord of life – so be courageous and get out there and try something new.

8 – Work part-time if your schedule allows.  Get paid, meet people.  Sweet deal.

9 – Never miss out on a road trip with your friends.  Those stories will last a lifetime.

10 – Look good on registration day because you’ll have that ID card the rest of your life.

11 – The ‘Freshman 15’ is real.  Its cousins the ‘Freshman 30 and 45’ also exist.  So take care of your body the best you can.  Invest $100 in a Nutri-Bullet and at least start the day with a healthy smoothie.

12 – Remember that this is a BIG transition for your parents too.  Remind them that there’s various way to get a hold of you (email, text, phone) and that Thanksgiving is only 6 weeks away.  And trust me, those homemade meals that get packed for you will carry you through some crunchy times.

And in case you haven’t heard this classic jam from 1999, there’s some pearls of wisdom in here, so do yourself a favour and hit play:


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