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How 315 Minutes Changed My Outlook on University

When I signed up for LEAP’s mentorship program, I expected a few messages per week sent back and forth between me and my mentor. I would be awkwardly asking seemingly random questions, and my mentor would be responding, probably thinking, “Who is this person with so many questions”?

In reality, it was much more than that. We exchanged a few messages over Slack to set up a call, then talked for about an hour about anything and everything! My mentor was excited to talk about whatever I wanted, and I appreciated the opportunity to shape our conversations. From more typical topics such as university to unexpected topics such as comparing the weather; we got to know each other quite well. At the end of the call, we scheduled a time to call each other the next week. This repeated for the duration of July and August, and by the end of the summer, I had learnt a lot about everything in just 315 minutes.

Before this program, I had thought of university as a daunting place full of stress and competition. I imagined students pulling all-nighters every day, having no time for a social life, and being ignored by uninterested professors.

However, hearing about the personal experiences of my mentor showed me that university was not what I thought it was. It was a place to meet lots of new people, discover who you are, and find out what you enjoy. Professors (at least most of them) were happy to help you, and studying with friends could make studying fun. While stress was definitely present, taking initiative of your learning and being proactive could help mitigate the stress.

I also learned A LOT of general information about university. I learned about the length and frequency of classes, how credits worked, Honors Vs Majors Vs Minor, summer school, teaching styles, and so much more! I left the summer feeling a lot more educated about university, and even excited for that stage of my life.

Of course, we discussed what was happening in our lives, too. Even though we lived in the same country, we were both shocked by how much our provinces differed! We were surprised to find out about the different graduation requirements, extracurricular opportunities, outlook towards university, etc.

As a current high school student, I have always had countless questions about life after high school. This was an excellent way for me to finally get answers to everything I had been wondering about. I was able to debunk myths I had believed were truths, and get a more accurate perspective about what university really was like. I have learned so much through LEAP’s mentorship program, and it has positively changed my outlook on university.

Alexandra Chow


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