All Things Academic, Student Life

Making the most out of your McGill degree

In two weeks, I’ll be submitting my last assignment of my undergrad. In two weeks, it’ll all be over. I can’t help but think back to the anxiety and the stress I had at the beginning of my first semester, four years ago. I was worried that I wouldn’t make friends, or that I would fail. Two years ago, I almost dropped out. But through all my ups and downs, I think I’ve finally grasped what university is all about, and more importantly, what I could have done differently to make the most out of it. 

There’s more to school than school

If there’s one thing I wish I had done, it’s saying yes to all the social events that came my way. The hardest pill I’ve had to swallow is that having a stellar transcript and a CV to match isn’t an entry ticket into my dream graduate program and that I might find myself thinking about the sacrifices I’ve made in my social life with sorrowful regret. If you’re starting your degree this fall, or even if you’re entering your last year, take advantage of the social scene at McGill. Befriend the people around you in class, and go to events in your department. It’s worth missing a few hours of studying. 

Find joy in your time here

The only thing that makes time go by more slowly is thinking about how slowly it’s going by. We have all had to take courses we don’t like—personally, I hated most of my prerequisites—but that doesn’t mean that everything else has to be dull. It took me seven and a half semesters to learn to get creative with the classes I take and get out of my comfort zone, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Joining clubs and student societies in your department can also give you a way to truly enjoy going to school. Choosing my classes based on pure interest and being part of a community is the part of my time here that I cherish above all. 

Your profs are your friends

I’m a keener. I’ve gone to random lectures for the pleasure of learning, I’ve crafted all my schedules to maximize my enjoyment, and I’ve written an honours thesis just because I wanted to. Above all, I’ve loved going to office hours, mostly to discuss assignments or class material, but sometimes simply just to chat with my professors. I’ve formed a rapport with people who are experts in their fields, which has helped me to understand what aspects of my field of study I want to explore. You don’t have to bury yourself in your books to succeed in college; sometimes, talking to your professors every once in a while is enough to guarantee you’ll do just fine. 

Find beauty in the mundane of your everyday life

Not every day is going to be good. Some mornings, you might wake up and feel like the last thing you want to do is go to your lecture. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you have to juggle the problems in your personal life, impending midterms, and assignments that won’t write themselves while the weight of the world feels like it’s resting on your shoulders. But sometimes it’s worth putting everything on pause if only to appreciate how beautiful life can be. I’ll miss walking around a foggy campus after leaving my 5:30 lectures in the fall or looking out the window during an intense study session just to see the first snow peacefully drifting by. I’ll miss the relaxing feeling of repotting my plants just because I didn’t feel like thinking about my midterm anymore. I’ll miss the small things about McGill that I took for granted. Romanticize your degree––you’re only here for so long. 

Share this:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Read the latest issue

Read the latest issue