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  • Writer's pictureThe Mentorship Spot

Defining Success in University

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Written By Apaar Vijay

Hi! My name’s Apaar, and I’m going to be entering my second year at Western University this upcoming fall. I’m studying BMOS with hopes to progress into Ivey in my third year, and eventually complete my HBA.

Looking back, I feel like I was in grade 12 just last week — applying to universities, hoping I would get one of my top choices, and hoping for snow days to get me through to midterms without having to complete too many assessments! As stressful as it was, the journey was nothing short of a rewarding experience, which brings me to my first learning point: use yourself as a metric for your own success. As cliche as it may sound, it’s easy (and detrimental on your personal development) to compare yourself to how others are doing; there are way too many external factors out of your control to use your peers as an accurate measure of success. Do your best, and compare yourself to your historic self.

In high school, you were a goldfish in an aquarium who saw the living room and assumed that was the reality of life. The moment you step into university, you’ll come to realize that you’ve been released into an ocean. There are a lot of ways to get involved on campus, and by virtue, there’s a lot more opportunity to grow personally and professionally. This brings me to my second notable point: getting involved with what YOU have a passion for, and diversifying your experiences. I was extremely excited to be going to Western, and I knew I had to take part in extracurriculars to maintain my AEO status over the course of my first two years, so I made a list of 13 clubs I wanted to join before I stepped foot on campus. Paying for that many club memberships was a mistake on my end, but we live and we learn! I only had time for two or three executive roles and took part in a few clubs as a general member. If you decide to get involved on campus, it’s in your best interest to get involved with a breadth of clubs in order to make the most of your experience. I got involved with one business club, a cultural association, and got some work experience along the way. The greatest byproducts of being part of any organization are the relationships you build, and the diversity of people you meet. Try to step out of your comfort zone — you have (at least) four years to make the most of your university career, so use it to your advantage!

The most successful people I met this year, aside from academics, were those who challenged the status quo. Going to a school in Canada where reputable programs attract top talent from across the country can definitely be daunting; I often found myself asking, “What can I do to help myself when I’m surrounded by the best of the best?” The answer is simple: you have to do what everyone else ISN’T doing. Speaking to my experiences as a business student, the majority of people that you’ll surround yourself with will have similar skills and backgrounds as you. It’s important to assess what the status quo is, and take it one step forward in all your endeavors.

If you have any program-specific, university-specific, or career-specific questions, I’m more than happy to help out! As my final learning point, don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone you want guidance from, even if it feels intimidating. Everyone older than you has been in your shoes, and chances are that we asked the same questions as well! One of my favorite qualities about Western is the pass-it-forward mentality of our upper-year students. I have yet to meet someone who wasn’t willing to help out and make time if I asked for it. I hope you decide to come to Western (shameless plug ;)), but be sure to reach out regardless of the school you choose. I’m more than happy to be a resource for you or find someone who is! Good luck with everything

Instagram: @apaarvijay

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