Lynn Cheikh Moussa
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve made it past applications, orientation, and stress to finally stand in what is praised to be one of the greatest universities in the Middle East. It also means that at least one person has told you “Run, don’t even think about it.”
Yes, it’s true that AUB is one of the most highly praised universities in the Middle East, but it’s also a living hub of stress and anxiety. You walk in with the naïve mentality that everything awaiting you is great and wonderful, only to be told to run within the course of your first week.
For the next few years, so much of your effort, time, and emotions are going to be invested here. There’s not much we, as continuing students, can warn you about, but we can always offer a few words of advice.
All of what you are going to experience here, in some way, will affect how you go about your life for the next few years. Besides the courses, classes, and grades (painful as they may be), there are multitudes to indulge in on campus.
The best piece of advice here, useless as it may sound, is: savor it. Undeniably, there will be many moments within the course of your education that will make you want to do the exact opposite.
Confusion will cease to be a temporary moment of panic, but will instead become a familiar feeling. Stress and work will become daily parts of your life, and so will worry. It all sounds terrifying, but in one way or another, these experiences are only there because they should be.
It’s absolutely normal to not feel completely at ease within AUB. It’s even more normal to be nervous about beginning an entire new experience. First semesters are the absolute best time to doubt everything, despite the fact that you’ve just started.
It’s okay to question your major, grades, and relationships with people. They set the stage for how you can later on lead the coming years. They give you an idea of how you would like to alter your life or even yourself for the better.
First semesters are the hardest, yes, but they are the only semesters where you can observe and assess your environment and surroundings. The best way to do this is just to look at everything with wide eyes. You’ll be able to figure out so much just by observing from the outside. Yet, do give yourself a taste of everything.
Take it as a chance to go out of your comfort zone, and wander through your new daily life. Silly as it may sound, try everything. Do join clubs and talk to people even though you aren’t comfortable doing so, because it is a chance for discovery. The worst that can happen is awkward small talk and disinterest.
You’ve made it this far, but this is only the beginning of a few years to be spent within the university. So yes, while it may be an accomplishment in itself to be here, your greater accomplishments have yet to be done, and they are the results of your own actions. If you don’t go all out, you won’t get the best of it.