Who is Beedie Luminary Hannah Kazemi, and why should you listen to her advice? Scroll to read more.
Hannah Kazemi, Cohort 2019
As a part of the inaugural cohort of the Beedie Luminaries Scholarship program, Hannah will be graduating from SFU in the Spring semester of 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English. In this article, she gives insight into five key pieces of advice she wish she had when she was in first year.
HANNAH KAZEMI—I’m in the midst of my last semester and it still feels like I’ve barely finished my first year. The way time moves is crazy; I feel both severely unprepared and very ready to close this chapter at the same time. Looking back, there are a few things I wish I would have known when I started university four years ago.
Advice #1: Be confident. No seriously, own it.
Confidence! Cheesy but true. The most vital part of succeeding at university is being good at taking charge of your learning and advocating for yourself; it’s one of the first lessons I learned. It feels really scary at the beginning. Going to office hours for the first time made me so nervous I almost started to shake in the AQ hallway and called my mom to walk me through what to say. I’ve certainly become more sure of myself since then, but I wish I hadn’t waited so long to take that first step and start to develop more of a secure confidence in my ability to succeed, and also in my ability to pick myself back up when I struggle. Do the things that scare you if they’ll benefit you in the long run.
Advice #2: You won’t remember that bad mark.
Bad grades happen! And that’s okay! I am a ✨perfectionist✨ and actually used to get anxiety-induced stomach aches when I thought I might not get an A- minimum on an assignment or in a class. Having standards for yourself is great and you should always do your best, but also understanding that it’s okay to struggle or even fail once in a while is important. It’s like skating – the key is to not be afraid of falling. My motto when studying has become this: I know what I know, and that’s all that I know. The rest ultimately doesn’t matter.
“Do the things that scare you if they’ll benefit you in the long run.”
Advice #3: Keep yourself fueled. Always.
Don’t show up to class without a snack or a fun drink. I love grabbing something from Renaissance Café on campus – it’s become my go-to spot for lunch and snacks!
Advice #4: Listen and bring a jacket… Trust me.
Bring a jacket always. You’ll need it even if you think you won’t – listen to your mom and the weather forecast when it predicts snow on Burnaby Mountain because they’re right and you’ll freeze.
Advice #5: Everyone always says this, but do stuff that scares you.
The most important thing I’ve learned over the last four years is to do the things that make me happy and that make me feel the most myself. The COVID-19 pandemic really put things into perspective. I was forced to re-evaluate where I was in my life at that moment in time. We moved to remote classes in March of my second semester, and by the time I hit third year I felt so emotionally exhausted and stagnant. I needed change; I craved adventure and wanted so badly to get out and experience something.
My sister and I decided to spend three weeks in Europe in June of 2022, and then I went back and spent another two weeks there six weeks later. I became really good at talking to strangers and putting myself in unfamiliar social situations; I explored six new countries, which helped me realize that I want to do more of it, in whatever way possible. After this, I now dream of living in Europe and taking my career abroad, at least for a little while. I want to give myself even more incredible experiences and build memories that I can share with my kids when they ask what it was like to be 22 and fresh out of university.
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