Commentary – From a former student’s perspective

Commentary by Katrina Owens

This time of year has always been an exciting one for me, firstly because my birthday is soon approaching (my mom makes the best cheesecake) and secondly because school will be back in session within a few weeks. Although I graduated college two years ago, I still find myself ogling over all the back-to-school products; especially the stationary (methinks it must be the writer in me.)

Education has always been pretty prevalent in my life, from a young age my mom drilled into my head that I would complete elementary, high school and then some sort of post-secondary course. And I’m happy she did because I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now if she didn’t.
However, I often think what series of events would have occurred if I took a gap year after high school. Where would I be? What would be different? I’m not too sure, whatever the case, I think taking a year off wouldn’t have killed me. So for those working, traveling or just taking a breather – don’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong.

Now for those freshman college/university students – I have some advice for you, choose to listen to it or not. I’m no guru but I’ve been through the whole overwhelming process of moving in and being thrown into a new social setting. First I want you to know that if you’re feeling anxious it’s completely normal. Second I want you to know that you don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not – there’s going to be people who like you and people that don’t. Third, college professors are completely different than high school teachers, if you don’t show up to class they will not chase you. Fourth, you will need more than three hours of sleep to properly function, so have fun on the weekends and focus Monday through Friday.

As I’m not a parent I don’t know if I’m suited to offer words of wisdom. All I can say is that as a teenager I wanted nothing more than to be on my own, then it happened and all I wanted was to be home again. Two of the things that I pined for the most were security and familiarity. That was just in my personal situation, but I gather most kids will feel similar once they have to start doing things on their own. So mom and dad, although this might be an odd time for you – don’t worry about it too much, you’re still needed!

One major aspect of post-secondary I want to touch on is the dreadful feeling of not liking your course of study. Believe-it-or-not I went into child and youth work my first year of college. Those who know me on a personal level are probably laughing while reading that (I’ve never been the motherly type.)

Half-way through the year I knew it just wasn’t for me. I sat back and reassessed what I wanted to do. I had a knack for writing and telling stories, so naturally a light bulb lit up when I read over a journalism course. Most of you will experience this and you need to know that is it okay! If you have to force something it usually isn’t going to turn out the way you’d like.

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