Everyone tells you university is the best time of our lives. The friends we make, the experiences we have, the goods, the bad. And everyone tells you, that once you graduate, it will never be the same.

On a personal note, I transferred from York University in Toronto, to Concordia University in Montreal, and this was not an easy decision: I left behind all my friends and networks (at least, physically) and all the things that I had going on for me. Yet the move was the best thing I ever did: I am about to graduate from the most prestigious undergraduate Communication Studies program in Canada, and I picked up a lot along the way. In all, I spent five years in University.

Here’s a few thoughts I want to share that I am convinced will be of benefit to you, whether you’re graduating, or just about to enter university. The gist: Building Yourself, Building Connections, Re-building Societies

Friends will come and go

We make friends within our communities, which are bound by shared social interests, values, and goals. Maybe you’ll change your major, or maybe they will. Maybe you’ll change your dorms, or maybe you will move into off-campus housing. Maybe one of you will change religions. This is okay. While some friends stay forever, some are transient, and it is equally important to give great value to transient friends. They are in fact the only few who have completed teaching you a lesson. Others are still in the process. Thank the transient ones.

Stay in touch

Whether or not you are in the same communities, keep connected. Send an email. While Facebook is more convenient, I feel it is still less personal. Keep in touch with an old TA, send an email to a professor, the VP external of a student group, or even your College Master. Trust me, they will remember, and they will be happy. And this isn’t just about getting a letter of recommendation or a lead. You may cross paths again in the future, and it’ll be great to pick up where you left off.

Don’t sell yourself short

Especially to yourself. Be a meritocrat. Our societies, whether in Pakistan or in Tanzania, in Finland or in Montréal demand the best. We are just beginning to catch up with the meaning of life, and one of the meanings of life is to grow. Learning to grow is as important to growth as growth is itself.

Look to the past

In order to confidently tread future waters, it does us well to look to the past. Observe not only yourself, but also others. Learn from their successes, and be humbled by mistakes. Whether you apply this to the corporate world, or your personal lives, I am convinced that you will draw benefit from this practice.

Meditate

Social media is still young

Our societies have progressed much too rapidly for evolution to keep up. This is why we will still get social media wrong at least for the next 5 years. But it’s an important relationship to develop. And we will play an active role in shaping this terrain. With this responsibility, it will benefit us as individuals, and as communities to contemplate on how media are extensions of our nervous systems. Utilize these technologies, but don’t be afraid to get back to the real social media: your five senses.

Tell stories

and learn to tell them well. These will be motivation for others, and if you master this skill, it will be as fun, as effective in informing opinions. Wrap your facts in emotions (words of wisdom by Patti), and don’t just tell them with words. Tell them with your body language.

Volunteer

Volunteering is the best way to network, and to gain skills. My own involvement with the World Partnership Walk and the CUTV has taught me lots. It has made me more acutely aware of local and international communities and their problems, and it has equipped me at the same time to address those problems. I have also met some of those who I work with presently, and who I will work with in the future to improve our society.

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