Congratulations! You made it. Yes, this is university, that paragon of excellence which society has always told you to strive for, and that you thought you would never achieve due to your different education. But that doesn’t matter any more. You are here! And you’re going to be awesome. At least, you think so.
Truth is, I am a little sorry for you right now. You really don’t know what is coming up in the next three months and it’s going to be a completely different experience for you. Learning in a University environment is going to be almost as far removed from your previous educational experience as it could be, but after a week or so you are going to find it strangely comfortable. It really won’t take you long to feel at home and safe amongst the like-minded individuals surrounding you. But of course that first week will be slightly terrifying, as you navigate a completely new world that includes a large campus, numerous bus trips, and that bewildering sense of simply have no idea of where to go.
You will learn so much in your quest for knowledge and shared wisdom, but at the same time you will learn plenty that you never needed to know in the first place. You’ll learn that just because someone has a few degrees up their sleeve doesn’t mean that they know how to successfully teach, and that those whom society might pass over for lack of education are actually extremely intelligent and caring. The average level of humanity’s intelligence will unpleasantly surprise you, and you’ll feel slightly betrayed by the amount of those who simply give up after the first couple of weeks. Most painfully, unlike your world of vibrant ideas that still has solid absolutes, you will learn that the masses of humanity around you, for the most part, float in a sea of fluid reality.
But there’s going to be so much that you will learn practically! Your writing will undergo a major over-hall. You’re going to find out that the colourful, descriptive style you have favoured all your life is not academically suitable, and that will initially make you feel robbed, before you learn to rejoice in the sharing of researched opinions. You’ve always been a highly organized person, but that will have to rise to a whole new level as you enter university life and consequently juggle the demands of family, work and social life. Your understanding of time management will become invaluable as you learn to fit in university study by all kinds of creative means, such as studying in the slow periods at your work, or reviewing literature on the bus. Uni will give you a variety of useful skills that transpose into your everyday life, for example the use of critical thinking. You have always been a judgemental person who likes to weigh every option, but a certain lecture will open your eyes to the underlying currents around you. You’ll learn how to pick apart arguments and chose academic sources to give an informed opinion. I promise you, you will be in your element.
You’ll never forget the feeling you had when you received your first assignment back. That poor, precious assignment of yours that you stayed up late the night before submission desperately adding finishing touches to, terrified that it wouldn’t be good enough and that you’d be branded a failure. You will never forget the smile in your tutor’s eyes as it passed between you. And when your shaking hands will have calmed enough to text your family the good news of how you have passed – indeed, done far better then simply passing – you will know, for the first time, a deep security and faith in your own ability.
If I could say one thing to you, it would be to remember that feeling. Realize that yes, you can do it! University is going to feel so right for you. Your initial worries will soon be eased, and the depth of information you will have access to will make every experience worth it. This is a crazy carnival ride of words, opinions and literature, but hang in there. You will enjoy the ride.
A summary/personal letter I was required to write in the final weeks of the semester. By the way, I made it. :) Ready for the nextsemester - after I have some time off.