Midterm is coming: what about the semesters in our lives?

Copyright: Calvin and Hobbes

It is just one month after school starts, but due to the tri-semester system at McGill, we already start to write our first midterms. Usually with only four to six weeks of stuff in our brain, it seems easy to handle, but due to the joy of the first three weeks (aka housewarming parties, reunions with friends, holiday-lag from summer), our machinery has not been tuned to its optimum. 

After this midterm, you introspect and summarize the test you just went through, hoping to find a better way to study, or to accommodate to university life if you are new. You get your vibe on, continue with your courses, maybe feel frustrated sometimes with hard assignments, and try to get prepared for the next exam. In the meantime, you want to have a life: go out with friends/families, participate events, get pocket money from part-time jobs, or enrich your life with volunteer work. It seems that you have so many visitors in your small heart, and sometimes you cannot host them all. In the end, the holiday season comes, and we are happy to be freed from school for a while. Then the next semester starts – a new cycle begins.

In fact, you can make a good analogy between a semester to our career life. At the beginning, you get excited working in a new environment, knowing new people, and learning things that you have not seen before. Soon after, you need to get on track and try to propose new ideas (innovation is the driving force for an enterprise to move forward), even if you are not fully prepared. It is always a little hard (or not in the optimal condition for you) at the beginning, but if you pass this period and get your pace, everything would turn to a brighter side with happy faces from your bosses or your employees. However, you have endless tasks and your to-do list is always growing, while you try so hard to keep your hobbies and spend time with the people you cherish. The pressure looms, the stress screams, and you manage to hold on. You get a few weeks of holidays free from work, but afterwards you need to come back.

One difference between the semesters and your career is that you will graduate one day, but maybe you are not that fortunate to be able to spend a few years as a carefree bird, or be released from jobs for good before retirement. This means you would have the cycle above for a few decades non-stop. You have no chance to drop out from your life but to trudge on the road.

Same as everybody, I have ups and downs, lucky moments and dark periods. There are so many things to arrange in my daily life, but I also have my dream to take care of. In this case, what I think is worth trying are listed below:

  • Spend some time meditating to find out what you really want to do after your university education;
  • Develop some hobbies, and they can be good buffers when you are exhausted from your work (maybe they can become your next job, who knows?);
  • Be organized, and try to see through the next couple of years – where do you plan to be?
  • Get ready for surprises or accidents, since life is a bumpy road;
  • Learn to relax, because your efficiency will boost up afterwards;
  • Last but not least, never lose your hope.

The bullet points above are generic, because everyone has their own way to handle their lives. It is impossible to make every dream come true, but during your journey, the scenery that you encountered is the priceless part that give colours to your life.

I wish you all the best on your first mid-term of the semester, and on other numerous exams in your life.

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