Monday, 27 February 2017

Is following the herd always the right decision? My friend, Anna's story.

My cousin has started at university. I wish her well. I'm sure she will do excellently. She had a very good record at high school and I have no doubt that she will carry on with her great grades at 'uni' and will have a great time.

I was told that she is also staying in her first year at a university hostel (dormitory). This is normal for New Zealand university students and in their second year they usually (not all the time but usually) go 'flatting.' In other words, they find room mates (flat mates) and spend the rest of their time with those people until graduation.

Should everyone who goes to university go this route? Should they all go to a hostel in their first year and then go out 'flatting' for the remainder of their time at university?

Let me tell you a story about my friend. Lets call her Anna.

Anna finished high school with average grades but she played a lot of sport and participated fully in extra-curricular activities. Anna was a very good netball player and helped her school win the national championship in her second to last year at school.

After finishing high school, Anna spent a year in Austria where she picked up some German and although it took her some time to get used to the Austrian lifestyle she really enjoyed the last half of her time there and was reluctant to return to New Zealand at the end of her time there.

On returning to New Zealand Anna decided to go to a university out of her hometown. She was accepted into a hostel at that university and looked forward to her time there.

A couple of weeks before starting university, Anna went with her mother and her best friend, Kasuni to the university to register and to check out the hostel.

Kasuni, was very excited for Anna and was always good fun to be around even though she threw up in the two hour car ride down to the university.

Anna returned to her hometown for a couple of weeks and then she moved into the hostel. This was the first time that she had lived in New Zealand away from home and she struggled and after only one week in the hostel she knew that, that kind of lifestyle was not for her. She didn't know why but she was just overwhelmed by all of the new people around her. She met a couple of good people but she struggled to join in with the large groups of people.

Anna had struggled in Austria for the first few months but had managed to overcome that but for some reason she didn't want to struggle through the first few months of her university experience so that after only one week she returned to her hometown and enrolled at the local university.

I saw Anna recently and she doesn't regret her decision one bit. She knows that if she stayed at the original university and stayed in the hostel then she would have gotten used to it and probably had a good time but she decided not to and that is fine by her. Her parents were supportive of her decision and that made her feel good that she made the right one.

The moral of Anna's story is that sometimes the route that the majority take is not necessarily the right one for everyone. Sure you have to get out of your comfort zone from time to time, that is how you grow after all but you have to know yourself and tertiary education is no laughing matter and you want to create the best possible environment for you to do well and if you are like Anna and you make the wrong decision then you need to accept that you made the wrong decision and go back. There is nothing wrong with that and you will be happier in the long run.

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