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Growing During Undergrad


Guest HP

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I've been reading these forums off and on, trying to soak up what bits of info I can. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a lurker, but I promise I'll get into things more in the fall when I start university. ;)

 

Something I've noticed here aside from the great info is the great people dishing it out. You don't have to travel far on the net to find cynical, condecending people who seem to exist only to annoy. Here, they're conspicious by their absence. Everyone is self-moderating, humble, helpful, and noticably mature.

 

Most of that can probably be connected to the career ambitions of all of us (where we've been, what we value), but a fair part must be plain individual character as well.

 

My question is about the transition I'm about to make, and the one most here already have. Were all of you born this cool, or do you think you've really matured or changed dramatically during your pre-medical years at uni?

 

Keeping in mind experiences will be different for each person, and circumstances always influence us, what are your experiences from university outside of classes? Should I expect to change a ton over the next three or four years? Dramatically? Or maybe most here were already levelling off around Gr XII?

 

Forgive the (more or less) off topic post; my aunt described entering university as something like diving into cold water...I'm just trying to get a feel of what to expect I guess. :)

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My undergrad was the best time of my life! I met so many new people (I didn't know one person when I started) that change was inevitable. Living away from home is an especially good way to learn more about yourself and to become more independent. I think no matter where you go you will grow as a person and learn a great deal. This growth may be due somewhat to being in university, but may also be the result of growing older and wiser.

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Guest me maniac

Hey, HP,

 

I like you. No, no, it's not because you think we're "born cool" (ok, ok, it IS because you think we're born cool, buy hey those are your words, not mine!). Ha, ha! :b

 

It sounds like you are already on your way to becoming one of those mature, humble people you were talking about. Yes, you will change during undergrad. Change is good. What I found most of all about undergrad is that you will definitely get to know the things you like (attitudes, people, classes, teachers, careers) and the things you don't like. It also is a time when you really find out what your made of.

 

Yes, at first, university can be like diving into ice cold water, but before you know it, you'll be saying: "Come on in! The water's great!" :D

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Guest ploughboy

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Hi HP,

 

Hey, great question! The fact that you're asking it (and the way you asked it) shows that you've already got a good head on your shoulders.

 

I've kept a diary since grade school [cries of "Geek!" "Wanker!" "Pansy!" from the cheap seats] so I have a fair amount of data on how my personality and thought processes have changed over the years. Short answer: you *will* change during undergrad, and most of the changes will be for the better. You'll be a different person at the end of fourth year than you were as a frosh. Heck, you'll be a different person at the end of *first* year. If I could go back in time and meet my younger self I'd buy him a coffee, but I wouldn't loan him money...

 

For me the biggest single change was my perspective on the world and the way I thought about things. I was very much a "right is right and wrong is wrong" sort of guy. I had trouble seeing both sides of an issue, and honestly couldn't grasp why everybody didn't see things *my* way. By the end of university I was much more a "shades of grey" person. This despite being trained as an engineer (we're notorious for having a binary world-view, especially the EEs). Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of strongly-held opinions, but I can appreciate where people who hold opposite views are coming from (misguided as they might be - grin!)

 

Part (but not all) of the change was simply due to where I started from...I grew up in a socially and ethnically homogenous part of the world (the first non-white guy I ever saw was Gary Coleman on Diff'rent Strokes), in an economic bracket that could be charitably described as "rural lower middle class". I started university and on my left is a guy whose parents live in freakin' Rosedale, while my buddy on the right escaped from Iran in a smuggler's caravan with not much more than the clothes on his back. What really blew me away were the five recent immigrants in another class. They were studying engineering, living together in a small apartment and *sending money back home* to their families.

 

The point of this story isn't "parochial farm boy moves to the big city and has his horizons broadened". No matter where you're starting from, as an undergrad you'll be exposed to a wider variety of political, social, religious, economic etc viewpoints than you ever thought possible. The experience will change you. It's fun to go through, it's fun to watch (I was always amazed how my co-op students had matured when they returned for second/third work terms in my lab), and hopefully you'll never stop growing and changing.

 

Oh ya - as an undergrad you'll also be chronically short of money and time, and have to prioritize endless demands on each. It sucks, but it builds character (grin!). It doesn't matter how busy or poor you are right now, trust me - you'll be busier and poorer in university.

 

Regarding "levelling off around Gr XII": a friend of mine recently ranted for a good half hour about a couple of people in her meds class. She actually used the phrase "They act like they're still in highschool!" They're few and far between, but they are out there...

 

Hope I didn't sound too much like an old fogey.

 

pb

 

P.S. You asked if I was born cool. I was. (Inside joke!)

 

 

Edited for clarity..pb

 

 

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Guest not rex morgan

We've got some fine writin' in this thread. You're going to do well in English, or at least I think you should. I definitely don't have time to write a long message (although I sincerely enjoyed reading the previous ones). I'm actually wondering how much you change in meds. One of the bizzarre transitions you make in university is you get thrown into scary classes with strangers, and that set of strangers is more or less different in every scary class. By the time I got to meds I was half excited to have a set of faces that would soon be very familiar, and remain that way for four years. Half of me was mourning my anonimity. In any case, if you can maintain the attitude you're already demonstrating, you'll likely have a great time in undergrad. Just remember that university is NOT just about learning what's in the classroom. ;)

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Guest Jerika81

HP: Wow, I can tell you right now that you are about 100x more mature than I was when I finished grade 12. I don't think it was untill about 2nd year of university that I started being the person I am today, and that I am happy to be. I was pretty misguided throughout high school and that slowly wore off throughout my 1st year. I changed a ton since high school, and am occasionally humiliated when someone (usually my mom) brings up something I did or thought back then, and even more humiliated when someone who I haven't been in touch with much over the last 4 years still thinks I'm the same naive 17 year-old I was then. These people must be really concerned when I tell them I'm starting med school this year if they think I still have the same mentality I did back then.

Anyway, I'm sure that throughout high school, you look back to how you were last year and think "man, I was such an idiot". This trend continued for me until recently, and I think that this may be the first time in my life where I can look back to a little over a year ago and say "yeah, I am pretty happy with the way I acted then". Here's to hoping this new trend continues.

Good luck with starting University, my younger sister is also starting this year, and you've definitely got a head start on her with respect to maturity. But then again, she's probably more mature than I was when I started.

On a final note, it seems most med schools realize that at least for your first year you are doing a lot of growing and maturing, and they often don't count that year when you apply- otherwise I wouldn't have gotten in, as I had a 2.7 GPA in 1st year.

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Guest Jerika81

Ploughboy:

Just wondered if you did engineering at U of C?, because there is a fast food place in the engineering area called Ploughboy, and I wondered if that's where your name came from.

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Guest Hilde

I can't speak for most people. I have just recently finished my 2nd year of undergrad. Sorry to sound depressing, but the first two years of university were the most miserable years of my life. They weren't anything as I had previously expected. But then again, the majority of people think otherwise and it probably all depends on the people you surround yourself with, the kind of professors, the atmosphere etc. All these factor into how you are going to remember your undergrad years when you look back.

 

But I do wish you the best in getting the most out of your undergrad years.

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Guest seonagh

I'll be 30 in a few months and I can honestly say that the one thing I've learned is that as long as you are alive, aware and willing to question yourself, you will grow.

 

Someone on the thread said:

~~Anyway, I'm sure that throughout high school, you look back to how you were last year and think "man, I was such an idiot".~~

 

In my experience, if you continue to get yourself into places where you are able to be challenged, you will be able to say that every 6 months of your entire life. Happier, calmer and more accepting of the "idiot" inside perhaps but always a little wiser and "cooler". I'm not ashamed to say that I've acheived 30, but wow what an acheivement 35 will be.

 

I'm waxing philosophical, all to say that, yes!!! you will grow and all the faster if you are willing to truely examine the progress.

Sheena

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Guest tirisa

Hilde brings up a great point. Life does not always happen according to your plan. But what's important to consider in that situation, then, is what you can learn from your experience. As many people have already mentioned, learning is what growing is all about.

 

So if your first two years of undergrad were miserable, think about what you need to do to make it better. If it is about friends, then join some different groups to meet different people. If it about courses, then think about what you don't like about the courses or your program and consider changing to a different major or a different university. It could be millions of different reasons, but you really need to be introspective about where the problem lies and then take action to make a change. If you can do this, not only will you be happier, but you will also have grown up a lot. The critical thinking skills you use to be introspective and the action you take to make change are going to be positive steps forward on your path to getting into meds.

 

Good luck Hilde and HP.

Tirisa

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Guest ploughboy

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Hi Hilde,

 

Sincerely sorry to hear that you aren't enjoying your undergraduate years. Why do you think that is? You don't have to answer that here, but as tirisa suggested, please do think about it. The person ultimately responsible for your happiness is you. In order for you to put yourself into a situation where you will be happy, you first have to understand why you're not happy now (warning: could be painful). Just some friendly advice from somebody who's been there...

 

 

Jerika81 - nope, Waterloo.

 

pb

 

 

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Wow, thanks for all the replies everyone. I agree a lot with the 'shades of gray' idea you posted Plough, and am glad I guess that not everyone posted the same thing (Hilde).

 

Anyway, thanks again for sharing - I guess I'm just nervous. It's a good kind of nervous though :)

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