arrow_back Back To Stories

Caps Off, Dreams On: 5 Takeaways from 5 Years of Undergrad, By Courtney Crites

Jun 23, 2023 06:20 PM
Click to go to article

Graduation marks such a significant milestone in our lives, filled with so many emotions and especially a sense of accomplishment (if you’re not there yet, don’t worry, it’ll come!). As I sit here, a proud graduate of McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce, a successful internship term, and a minor in Innovation, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey that has led me to this point. Through my reflection, I’ve become compelled to share five invaluable lessons that have shaped me and that can hopefully inspire others in their own journeys. 

Let’s dive in: 

  1. Embrace Setbacks and Failures as Opportunities for Growth 

In life, setbacks and failures are inevitable. However, something I’ve learned is that what’s most important is how we respond to them. By reframing challenges and allowing them to fuel my determination, I’ve witnessed firsthand how they can propel me forward. Remember, every setback (or failed first year calculus course) is an opportunity to learn, adapt, and become a more resilient version of yourself. 

2. Experiential Learning is your Friend 

While classroom education provides a solid foundation, it is through practical application that knowledge truly solidifies. Internships, projects, case studies, and other experiential learning opportunities are the best way to solidify your classroom knowledge. By actively engaging in real-world scenarios, I have not only built my confidence but also gained a deeper understanding of how concepts translate into tangible outcomes. Don’t underestimate the power of applying what you’ve learned in class to real-life situations. 

3. Find Your Community and Foster Belonging 

When you become a part of a club or community, it’s often like finding your people and feeling a real sense of belonging. During my undergraduate years, I discovered the immense value of diving into extracurricular activities that excited me and aligned with my passions, interests, and future goals. These commitments not only provided a sense of belonging but also created opportunities for personal and professional growth. Embrace the chance to connect with like-minded individuals who share your enthusiasm, and watch how it enhances your overall experience. 

4. There is Power in Asking Questions and Seeking Help 

Never be afraid to ask questions or reach out to your support system for help and remember that most people are in the same boat, navigating unfamiliar territory. By doing so, you open doors to knowledge, collaboration, and support. Embrace uncertainty, embrace the adventure that comes with the learning process, and know that others are there and willing to help you just as much as you are there and willing to help them. 

5. Trust in the Process

Let’s face it: nobody has all of the answers, and that’s absolutely okay. While it may feel like we should have everything figured out, we actually have plenty of time ahead of us. Life’s about the journey, not just the destination and I’ve learned that you will always end up exactly where you’re meant to be, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. 

Final Thoughts 

As this special chapter of my life comes to a close, I feel so appreciative of McMaster University for all of the people, experiences and opportunities brought my way. I look forward to carrying with me the lessons I’ve learned to my next chapter at Humber College in the fall (and beyond!).

Here’s to our dreams taking flight and us fearlessly embracing the possibilities that await us! Cheers and congratulations to the Class of 2023!