10 Things I Learned at University

Eek! This month I'm completing my Bachelor's degree. Whilst I'm really excited to pursue other things for now (and start my Master in September), it's also a teeny tiny bit scary. I've been working towards this diploma for three-and-a-half years and then all of a sudden, it's done. No more deadlines, papers and classes for the next 8 months. I will leave a lot of memories behind, and I think that deserve its own blogpost. I really feel like from the moment I started studying at university, I have learned so much and grown up a lot. So here it is, 10 things I learned whilst studying at Utrecht University. On to new, exciting things!

1. Perseverance pays off.
Not all of the courses I took were much fun, but in the end, it's important to keep the greater goal in mind. Just get through that textbook or utterly boring novel (yes, there were some of those!), because in the end, it will be worth it.

2. Experience comes when you are ready.
Life comes at you when you least expect it. When I started uni, I was worried I was still too much of a 'kid' compared to my future classmates. After all, I was still living with my parents and never really fancied someone (in that way, yes). Looking back on it, how much is to be expected from an eighteen-year-old? There's still plenty of time to experience things such as living on your own or the idea of love.

3. People can like you, for you.
I think for me, uni was the time that I learned the true concept of loyalty and friendship. No more trying to fit in, or pretending to be someone I wasn't. At uni, I started to feel free, appreciated and loved by people who were much more like-minded than most of my highschool class mates.

4. You won't always excel.
And that's okay. Putting 100% of my effort into a project, essay or revision for an exam is the best I can do. And if that means getting a 6 instead of an 8 (out of 10), then that's fine.

5. It gets messy sometimes, but it's always a good lesson.
You can only fully experience things by trying, failing and succeeding. Life is not always about rainbows and butterflies, but the rough times made me grow and develop as an individual. And in the end, that's never a bad thing.

6. Some people come in your life and change it for the better.
Both the positive and negative people. Whether they stay or go. Everyone and everything is a lesson for the future. And in the end, the toxic ones taught me where I stand in life, and allowed me to be open to some of the best things that have happened to me.

7. Balance is key.
Studying is great and all (or wait, no, what?) but you can only analyse so many poems a day. I have learned to plan certain days off in between stressful periods. Having some free time, whether I spend it watching series in bed or going shopping with my mum, always refreshes my mind and gives me new energy.

8. You won't be able to avoid negativity.
Even if you try and keep out of drama, it's not always possible. I often got frustrated because of that, but I've learned that I need to view it as a lesson and an opportunity to prove to myself I can be the bigger person. Staying close to myself allows me to handle situations likes these a bit better, and it makes me feel stronger as well.

9. Don't be afraid to throw yourself in things.
Falling on your face is part of the process. I try not to let fear guide me in a negative direction, but rather, I try to see it as an opportunity to prove the opposite. After all, I like to believe I can do anything if I set my mind to it (right?).

10. You don't have to have everything figured out yet. 
Uni has taught me a lot, but of course, not everything. As an individual I keep growing, learning and trying, probably for all of my life. I can't wait.


I have realized that the importance of a safe and tranquil environment is not something that should be underestimated. Personally, I have been experiencing a fair amount of stress and disruption in my mind because of a shift in peacefulness, both in my living environment and in my head.
I see now how the two go in conjunction.

When I compare my mind to my living environment, the parallels are uncanny. Since I occasionally have difficulty breathing, my body and mind are always in a bit of extra need of oxygen. So is my living space. Whenever I go to my parents and breathe in the fresh air of the outdoors, trample in the muddy soil with my dog and spend time with my family, I feel free. Not only do I have more oxygen around me, but I also recharge my brain to cope with busy city life. Especially now I'm just one month away from graduating, these deep breaths are much welcomed.

As we are just a little over a week in into the new year, I feel a strange tranquility coming over me. I blame it on the fact that I just spent four days in the country side, away from the rushed chaos that is my life. A distance that has allowed me to catch my breath and relax my mind.
Breath in, breath out. Personally, it's not always as easy as that, but with this newfound serenity, I feel as if every breath helps me clear the space in my mind. On to better things in 2016, with full lungs of fresh air, a clear mind and a happy heart.