Being in university, or any post-secondary education is a big milestone for anyone entering the next chapter of their lives. The crossing of the stage in high school represents the culmination successes, failures, struggles and triumphs of over a decades worth of work. Something really to write home about. For some, this simple act of walking across a stage to get their GD was a simple, smooth path filled with athletics, clubs, math tests and biology labs, all-in, not a whole lot of complaining. Others worked jobs, made dinners, volunteered or went to supplemental sessions, just to keep their grades.

The point is: we all end up in the same place at more than one point in our lives, how we get each got there is the difference.

Personally, I’m not naturally smart, and I’m perfectly ok to admit this. When I was in primaries, I needed extra help to learn how to properly read and write. Going to extra tutoring sessions like Kumon or specialized classes so I was better equipped to know the difference between, “definitely” and defiantly”. In high school, I required an immense amount of tutoring to understand basic mathematics, even being directly called “not smart” by one of my teachers (by accident) in high school because I couldn’t figure out an equation. It’s not something I’m happy about, but not completely debilitating as I know if I work and focus a lot of my energy into understanding it, I will ultimately understand what I’m doing.

Being in a place like Laurier or the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, I’ve come across people from all different backgrounds, cultures and abilities – partially why I chose the school. This unique blend of individuals, all brilliantly smart and driven for perfection, quickly creates an environment of competition and comparison which, at times, can be both positive and negative in their own rights. Because of this, students who are both naturally smart, naturally hard-working, or both constantly look at the previous achievements and abilities of their peers; constantly wondering if they belong in the ecosystem.

For example, I make it a goal of mine to meet five new people each week that I’ve been on campus. Simple, but effective, and I’ve been so humbled to have met so many amazing people from across the country, studying at Laurier. On one occurrence, the person that I was meeting with discounted an offer to my dream school, the Ivey Business School at UWO, because they didn’t feel it was their “specific vibe”. Little did they know, I was crushed when I wasn’t extended the same opportunity that they had brushed aside, spending almost a week in complete depression knowing that I would be joining that class in the fall.

My point: don’t discount what you’ve been offered and utilizing it as an opportunity to brag in an attempt to create a hierarchy. You may not be aware if that opportunity or experience that you’ve just discounted meant everything to another person around you.

I’m not speaking from personal experience, however, I feel that in the high-stakes and competitive engine that is “university”, students often get in a rut trying to perform against peers that may be outside their wheelhouse.