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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Words of Wisdom from a Fourth-Year Student

February 26, 2024

Dearest Ontario Tech Student,

As my university journey comes to an end, I cannot help but reflect on my experience. University is a learning curve, and adjusting the academic and personal demands takes time. Now that my time is almost up, I would like to share some words of wisdom for how to make the most of your university years.

Lesson #1: Your university experience is what you make it! Get involved!

One of my biggest regrets in university was not getting involved sooner. I was extremely nervous to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone. I eventually convinced myself to join the Ambassador program, and this was truly one of the most fulfilling experiences of my university career. Becoming an ambassador opened the doors to many meaningful connections and experiences. I was inspired to continue my leadership journey and have gone on to hold multiple leadership roles, including Peer Leader, Level 4 Ambassador, Peer Mentor, and Senior Leader for the Faculty of Health Science roles. I have also developed many transferable skills, including leadership, communication, teamwork, public speaking, facilitation of events, time management, and professionalism, all of which I will certainly use in future endeavours. Let’s also not forget how great getting involved looks on your Student Experience Record!

I promise you, if you have an interest, there’s a club or society for it! In the odd chance there is not, you can make one! Getting involved adds substance and significance to your university experience. We all need an outlet to manage the stress and rigour of university. Why not find that in activities you enjoy and with people who are just as passionate as you are? I challenge you to join at least one club or society this upcoming semester and watch your university experience flourish that much more!

Lesson #2: Embrace your failures

Don’t sweat the small stuff; easier said than done, trust me, I know! A bad test, assignment, or exam can seem like the “be all, end all” at the moment. I remember in my first year of university, I failed my first test. I was devastated and shocked. I allowed this failure to taint my perception of my abilities and struggled to look past this fault. A lesson I’ve struggled to learn is that my failures do not define me, and in the grand scheme of life, these failures may not be so bad! I used to associate a bad grade with my worth as a student and as a major factor in my future success. I have come to learn this is false!

Failure is not the end but rather the genesis of new knowledge and opportunities for growth. You have the power to use your failures as a means to grow stronger, or you can allow them to affect your ability to move forward. With this, putting yourself in challenging situations where failure is a possibility allows for the most meaningful life lessons. In the grand scheme of life, one, two, or even three failures do not define you or your ability to succeed. Failure is a key piece needed to achieve goals. With the correct mindset, you can use your failures to fuel your success! I challenge you to welcome failure and embrace the learning opportunities that come with it.

Lesson #3: Enjoy the process

I cannot believe my four years at Ontario Tech have come and gone this quickly! It’s easy to succumb to the stress of university demands and forget to stop and enjoy the process! I regret not actively and mindfully enjoying each lesson, assignment, group project, or task. I found myself dreading upcoming examinations and assignments. I wish I had appreciated the journey of being a university student and embraced the highs and lows that came along with it. Next time you’re in a lecture, studying hard for your next exam, at a club event, or a sports game, think about where you started and where you are now. Consider what you have overcome to be where you are now and how you are perceived.

University is undeniably challenging. It may be easy to let the demands of your degree affect your ability to stop and enjoy the moment. I challenge you to mindfully stop and appreciate each step, especially the difficult ones. Now that my time at Ontario Tech has ended, I look back fondly on my experiences, though I wish I would have done so in the moment.

Lesson #4: Take care of yourself

Self-care is essential to meeting your goals and performing your best. With many lectures, assignments, extra-curriculars, and other commitments on the go, self-care may not seem like the biggest priority. Although it is easy to neglect, I would argue that strong, consistent self-care practices are key to academic and personal success/growth. Early on in my university career, I was solely focused on my academics and fell scarily close to burning out. Although we are all different, and our abilities to cope with stress and manage university demands vary, we all need an outlet. I highly recommend you find a few sold self-care practices and integrate them into your schedule as if they were as important as studying for a big assignment or attending a lecture because they are! Consider activities that rejuvenate your mental, physical, and emotional/spiritual self. Self-care is necessary for maintaining the balance between school and wellness. Make self-care a priority in your life, and I guarantee your mental, physical, and emotional self will thank you for it!

Lesson #5: Help is available, it’s up to you to seek it out!

The demands of university can be a challenging weight to bare, but you do not have to carry it alone. Help is available, and a lot of it! Seeking out support has genuinely changed my university career for the better. Ontario Tech has so many incredible supports and resources for students: the Student Learning Centre (including the Writing Room, PASS and Peer Tutoring support, Study Skills Specialists), Mental Health Resources, Student Engagement and Equity, Campus Health and Wellness Centre, Peer Mentorship, Academic Advising, NOOL …, wow, the list goes on! From being a student attending help sessions to becoming a Peer Tutor and Peer Leader/Mentor myself, I have seen the impact of these resources firsthand. I challenge you to seek out support when and before you need it. Being proactive and adding resources to your “toolbox” will help set yourself up for success, especially when times are tough. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strong self-awareness. Plus, these supports and resources are already covered in your tuition!

As I move on to my next chapter, I pass these words of wisdom on to you. I hope these five lessons from a fourth-year student help you make the most of your time at Ontario Tech. Best of luck on your university journey. I know you’ll make it a great one!

Goodbye for now,

Sophia

By Sophia Fischer