I’ve finished my last exam and man, does it it feel sooo good. Those two weeks full of exams were a whirlwind and yet it felt like they would never end. Semester one as a whole, literally flew right past me. I’m 1/8 done with my degree, however, I’m supposedly not meant to think about it like that. Anyways this semester was definitely one of transition and learning. So here are a few things I learned while living the uni life, Sem 1.
Read the readings, but not every single line.
Okay, so this is definitely something I wish I knew before starting semester one. Before every lecture the lecturer assigns you with certain chapters to read before or after that class. The readings go along with the lecture to help further your understanding. For more than half of the sem, I thought that I needed to be reading every single word and noting every bit of “important” information. While in an ideal world it would be awesome to have the time to do that… Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I used to take hours to get through a single reading because a) I didn’t understand every second word and b) procrastination. Thankfully, I found a ‘shortcut.’ The lecturer usually posts the PowerPoint slides of that lecture beforehand, so my advise is to read through the PowerPoint and then do the actual reading. This allows you to know what your looking for in the reading so you can quick read the rest. Obviously it takes time to get used to quick reading scholarly articles (it still takes me time too), but once you get a hang of it it’ll speed up your reading time.
I have awesome family and friends.
Now this is something I already knew before coming to study in Auckland, but these past few months have reaffirmed how amazing they are. Even though my family aren’t even on the same continent as me, they still support me and fill me with so much warmth from far away. My friends are the same way. Even with everyone’s hectic schedules we find a way to check in on each other. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
As for making friends here, so far it hasn’t been easy but I’m grateful I’ve made a couple of friends that I genuinely vibe with.
Self care, self care, self care
Self care is a huge part of social work practice, but it applies to everyone and everywhere. Being away from family is tough, transitioning from high school/a gap year to university is not easy, and moving to a completely new city is hectic. Breakdowns are inevitable so you have to take care of yourself. Whether it’s taking five hours to do nothing but binge watch The Office or treating yourself to something sweet, DO IT. There’s only one of you in this world so make sure you take care of yourself.
You have to choose to be here.
Every single day is different. There are days where I feel on fire about my dream of being a social worker and studying abroad. Then there are days when I wake up and go to bed in tears wondering if I made the right decision. There will always be doubt and fear that you’ve made the wrong choice, which is why you have to choose to be where you are. I choose to be here every single day. I could easily hop on a plane and go straight back to California where I feel comfortable (and warm lol). Instead, I make a decision to be here and work on my dream. You have to do the same.
This transition through Semester One has been a toughie, but I’ve lived and learned so much already. I’m very excited to see what Semester Two holds, but before that, I’m gonna enjoy not having any assignments due.
Until next time,