As I sit down to write this blog post, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the fact that my 1A term has finished. It almost doesn’t feel real. Correction: it definitely doesn’t feel real. My first term at university has been characterized by page counts, deadlines, and frantic coffee induced writing. All in all, I’d have to say it was a pretty successful term. So, as I sit down with my third coffee of the day (and it’s only 10:30), and take a deep breath, I’m ready to reflect.
University is everything and nothing like I was expecting. As I type those words, I realize that they don’t make sense, but let me explain. I expected so many aspects of university: the workload is as much if not a little less than I had anticipated; writing came with both successes and not so-successes; sleep became a beautiful commodity that I realized the importance of. Despite the objective facts being in line with my expectations, I can’t help but feel as though my life in university is nothing like what I believed it would be. I learned that my writing has some vital flaws that I hadn’t noticed before, let alone addressed. I learned that my paragraphing is mediocre at best; that my diction is okay but it could be better; that I am not nearly as smart as I thought I was, but also not nearly as dumb. Evidently, I’ve learned this term that I am chalked full of contradictions.
If I could go back and tell my past self something that I didn’t know before, it wouldn’t be to fix my paragraphing or diction or contradictory self-image before university starts. Not in the slightest. If I did that, what would I be able to learn through experience in English 109? What fun would there be if in September my writing was where it is now? That would be no fun.
No, if I could go back and tell Grade 12 me one thing about transitioning to university, I would say to go in with a blank slate. I don’t mean going into university forgetting previous knowledge or perceived strengths and weaknesses. Instead, go in with the mindset of a blank slate. Full slates are stuck in their ways, even when faced with glaring problems with themselves. Full slates believe they are who they are, in life and academics, and they don’t need to change. Even though I walked through the doors in September thinking that I was open to change, thinking I was so ready for growth, I’ve realized now that I was stubborn and stuck in my ways. I have been shocked, upon reflection, how much I both wanted to be better but also not change (once again, contradictions seem to be pervasive in this blog post and I genuinely apologize).
I came to university thinking that I knew who I was as a writer when, in fact, I had no idea. University, specifically English 109, has actually taught me that I still have no idea who I am as a writer, but that’s actually okay. It’s okay because I’m learning about myself, and it’s a process. I write and edit and revise and hand in, and each time I repeat the process, I get closer to figuring out what my voice is. The longer I spend in university, the more I realize that before you can figure out what your voice is/who you are/who you want to be, you actually have to realize that you have no idea. As absolutely terrifying as this realization is (thinking about it actually makes my coffee cup shake in my hand, but that may just be the caffeine), it’s kind of exciting too.
Okay… I’ll get off my soap box now. This post was not a funny one, when I had full intention to make it that. Sorry about that. Happy finals to all and to all a good night.