Why University is a less toxic environment

Graduate Corner

Written by: Michelle Almeida.
Picture by: Pixabay.

Secondary school is an essential part of life. While it lays an academic foundation that guides you towards planning your future after basic education, it also teaches us that a secondary school atmosphere can be a toxic place to grow up in.

This may be subjective but in comparison to university, you’ll find yourself in a much better environment once you begin your life on campus, and here’s why.

 You’re finally studying subjects you love

No more math if you love English, no more history sessions if you’re into science. You’re divulging yourself in a course that means something to you and will definitely add value to careers. Yes, university classes are challenging. It’s the same for everyone, and for the most part, the extra work is okay because you’re studying what you’ve always dreamed of.

 Competition is healthy

Having healthy competition is essential when pushing yourself to work harder. But it gets toxic when you are frequently compared to the ‘brighter students’ who are always acknowledged first for anything or when you are put down by your own classmates.  

In university, competition can only affect you to the extent you allow. Your lecturers will never publicly shame you in front of a class for not scoring well, and your course mates will be ready to share ways of performing better. You’re in an environment where things are competitive, but only up to the level you can handle.

Inclusivity

No one is ever made to feel like an outsider. Whether you’re an international student, part of the LGBTQ+ community, a teen mom, or simply have interests in activities you wouldn’t pursue in high school. Your university is a safe space for everyone to feel comfortable and supported.

There are strict measures put in place when it comes to bullying others. More than that, it’s the students’ open-minded thinking and support makes you feel more included and accepted.

It’s okay to not know something

Unlike high school classes, where you didn’t know the answer to a question and were still forced to somehow find a way to answer and then humiliated in front of an entire class because you just couldn’t. Well, your lectures on campus will never put you through such a pressuring scenario. 

Don’t know something, they’ll just move on and explain it to you instead. You’re never going to be forced to speak if you’re not ready, nor are you going to be reprimanded for giving a wrong answer. It’s productive ( and mentally safe) learning that takes place in your classes.

Mental health is acknowledged 

Can’t focus because of anxiety, slipping into depression because of work pressure/ performance or anything related to your mental health, it’s all looked after and given importance to in university. You’re not going to be ridiculed because you want to talk to someone professional, nor are you going to be shamed for being weak when reaching out for any student support. 

You’re not pressured

Be it peer pressure to go for a night out to drink or pressure to engage in extracurricular activities; you are never forced to engage in anything beyond your capabilities. Everything is voluntary, and you are given the option to back out if you’re not ready. Giving students the opportunity and freedom to choose what they prefer helps motivate them a lot more. 

Students want to learn and experiment with different activities but being forced to do something you’re not ready for, puts you off anything in your school. So, once you’re in university, if you fancy ditching sports days for reading all day in your library, no one’s stopping you.

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Every school works differently, and they operate with good intentions for their students’ academic and professional upbringing. It’s just most times, they go about things the wrong way. Mind you that your school’s quality of education should not be confused with the learning atmosphere around you. They are both equally crucial elements and need to be balanced to ensure productive and safe learning. 

University life is not without its challenges. You’re on your own, left with your guts and wits to make a name for yourself. However, it’s a liberating feeling to step out of the confines of a four-walled classroom with students and teachers blocking you from exploring what you wish to do. 

You’ll feel less pressured, be able to reach out when needed, you won’t be required to behave or act a ‘certain way.’ You’ll find yourself comfortable around the people you connect with will never feel left out or alone. More importantly, the university gives you the chance to start fresh and pursue your lifelong ambitions.

Good luck to all those beginning university!

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