This is my last week in my undergraduate degree. Despite all I’ve learned, the material I’ve crammed into my head (I swear, I don’t know what use I will have for the list of all the retroperitoneal organs, but I know them!!) nothing has taught me more than an old childhood classic – Winnie the Pooh.
How, you ask? Read on, and I’ll explain how the characters and quotes are exactly what you need to take away from your undergraduate experience.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering”
It’s often really easy to get caught up in the heat of things – especially at this time of the semester. With the last week looming, exams in the near future, and all the assignments and lab reports in between, it seems that the idea of doing nothing is a cruel joke.
However, I have 7 exam periods under my belt. I can tell you from experience, that when you take time out of a very busy schedule to just do nothing mentally taxing – watching TV, doing some yoga, SLEEPING, playing Frisbee with friends – you feel revived, fresh and ready to tackle the next thing on your to-do list.
Does the idea of taking time out still scare you?
Then schedule it in like any other thing you need to accomplish. If you set aside 30 minutes a day for one episode of Gossip Girl and you write it down like it was an assignment, you can’t just skip it as easily. Your brain will thank you!!
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me”
– Winnie the Pooh
This one is more for the Arts majors out there, with lots of essays and essay exams. I’ve done a few over the past couple years with my French courses, and let me tell you that Winnie the Pooh has is right. Don’t try to use long, complicated words to make yourself sound better. Sometimes, a simply stated argument makes a lot more sense than an eloquently crafted, run-on sentence where your meaning gets lost halfway through.
Need some more advice about those essay and short-answer exams? Come book an appointment with a Learning Strategies Consultant in Stauffer and walk away with some stellar tips!!
“If you want to make a song more hummy, add a few tiddely poms”
– Winnie the Pooh
This quote comes down to your happiness. You can’t rely on external sources to always brighten your day. Yes, external sources (a good grade, a nice phone call from a friend, a hug from your mom) are great mood-boosters, but ultimate happiness comes from within. Make your life happy by doing things you love – everyday. I make a point of waking up to my favourite song and dancing in my pj’s before class. I sing to myself in the shower. I bake amazing chocolate chip cookies because I know that after a long day, nothing makes me (and my stomach!) smile like a glass of milk and some good chocolate chippers.
Because trust me, when you’re happy, everything else just falls into place – marks, school, exams, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, housing, jobs….and everything always has a way of working out. J
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day”
– Winnie the Pooh
This is a big one for me. For us 4th year students, it seems that the last semester of school has all been about where we are headed. So many of my friends are medical or law school bound or headed to graduate schools in the fall. I, myself, am one of them, so I can’t knock continuing with the academics. However, what bothered me was the fact that everyone I spoke with thinks this is THE route. Don’t take time off after 4 intense years, your hard work paid off for you and now you can relax in medical school, right?
Wrong. An undergraduate career is a tough journey. Whether you’re finishing up first year, or completing your degree – you have plenty of time to get where you are headed. Life is a journey, not a destination, so take time to explore opportunities you may not be able to do when you’re older.
If you need some inspiration, think of this story. My Dad, a lawyer back in Calgary, worked with a guy at his law firm for 10 years. This man pursued a law degree, practiced law for 10 years and THEN decided he actually wanted to be a doctor. So, at age 40, he went back to medical school and now practices medicine. Were those 10 years of law a waste? No way. My Dad tells me he’s the most practical doctor you’ll meet, solely because he took his time to get where he ultimately wanted to end up, and has a hugely diverse background to allow him a better chance of relating to his patients.
“To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks”
This is another big one – marks. I’m in Life Sciences, so I know a lot about marks. The pressure we put on ourselves to get them, the competition we create in doing so and how unhealthy this becomes. While I wish I could sit here and say that marks don’t matter (because let’s face it – you and I both know that they do count!) they are not the entire story. It’s taken me 4 years, but I’ve come to realize that marks do not define who you are. They are a stepping stone to get you headed in the next direction, but they will not necessarily predict your success.
Need proof? My mom graduated with the gold medal from her kinesiology class back in the day. She enters law school, and wants to do the exact same thing, but this time in Law. She studies SO hard, spending at least 8 hours in the library everyday. She cut back on extracurricular and fun times. It wasn’t until a professor pulled her aside that she changed her ways. You know what he said to her? “Wendy, you are not going to win that award. There are individuals in this class that are smarter than you. However, they are not going to make as good of a lawyer as you.” This professor was able to see that my mom was an outgoing, extraverted individual who had the interpersonal skills to make an excellent lawyer, despite not necessarily graduating with the top marks.
Think of this story when and if you get poor grades – it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t define you or your potential. At the end of the day, a 6 is just and upside-down 9, much like a smile is an upside-down frown.
So, turn that frown the right side up, smile and realize that you are awesome no matter what letter grade happens to fall next to your name. Best of luck on your exams!!