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Jordan Auzam

Dear First Year Me,

One word… balance. You can’t do it all – I am not entirely sure that you have completely accepted this yet, but there are only so many hours in the day and only so much energy that can be exerted. You did great in high school (yay you!) but university and an engineering course load is a whole new ball game – start preparing yourself for many hours spent being stressed and frustrated because you do not understand something. Get used to asking for help, because you are going to need it – whether the assistance comes from a floor/classmate, professor/TA or paid tutor, your pride is not worth your sanity. You are going to need to work your butt off to even think about earning a mark of 80%+… but I assure you that when you do, it will be worth it.

I cannot stress to you the importance of extracurriculars – first year would not have been the same if you had not decided to do some intramural sports (to make up for all those times you blew off the gym) or the dozen of clubs that you joined. The reality is that you are most likely not going to be able to make every meeting or event, but you will figure out what you enjoy and are most passionate about and will focus on those activities – you are also going to meet some pretty cool people along the way!

One thing that you need to know sooner rather than later is to prioritize… one way that will help you do this is by creating copious amounts of lists. But it doesn’t stop there, try using the Eisenhower Box method by separating your actions based on the four possibilities: important & urgent (tasks you should do first), important but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later), urgent but not important (if possible, delegate to someone else or if in the case of schoolwork, get er’ done to the best of your ability and then move on), and lastly, if a task is neither urgent nor important you should probably skip it all together. This will help you accomplish everything from “What should I do this weekend?” to “How do I not fail this course?”

The main things that I want you to know are that you rock and to remember to balance – begin by scheduling time for schoolwork, social outings and family. Always schedule “me” time. Learn from your good and bad experiences, and from others. Never regret your mistakes. Choose your battles. Establish ways to maintain your balance.

Smell ya later,



My name is Jordan Auzam and I completed my third year of Green Process Engineering at the University of Western Ontario – I am currently doing a 12-month internship at Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. in Toronto, ON. This summer, I took 10-weeks off for golf lessons and am trying out hot yoga during the cold winter months! Please feel free to reach out to me at

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