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Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Four silhouettes on a beach with a sunset behind them.
Courtesy of Terae Walters.
Sometimes letting go of the desire to control every aspect in your life will make you feel so much more at ease.

Finding a university that is right for you is one of the most complicated decisions you will ever make. You may be thinking, “What if I’m not sure that this is the right decision for me? What if I fail? What if I decide to switch majors? What if I’m wasting my time?” These were all questions that crossed my mind at some point within the last few years. 

The number one thing you must remind yourself is that these hesitations are completely normal. Being young and questioning your path is something almost every single one of my peers have experienced at one point or another. Especially being surrounded by technology and social media, we are constantly comparing our lives to others and therefore obtaining a warped perception of what we think we should be doing. The truth is, we all move at a different pace. The sooner you come to realize this, the sooner you will be at peace with the ways in which you approach your life.  

If I had given in to my negative thoughts, I would have been stuck in the same spot and never moved forward. Failing or making mistakes doesn’t mean you have to go backwards! Instead, you can learn from them and rebuild yourself a new path. Some of the best experiences of my life came from things I never expected or planned. Sometimes letting go of the desire to control every aspect in your life will make you feel so much more at ease. 

I am a perfect example of taking the time to figure out where your desires lead you and not rushing yourself. You are not failing if something doesn’t work out exactly as planned. The truth is that you are a collective product of all your experiences; building and learning from things as you go. As a former International Baccalaureate student, I was involved in high intensity learning for most of my high school experience. I was also an avid photographer/ videographer with a passion for creating personal creative projects and I was constantly seeking new and exciting things. 

When it came to my Grade 12 year, it felt obvious as to what I wanted to pursue in terms of my post-secondary education. I made the decision to apply to Capilano for the Motion Picture Arts program and successfully enrolled. After two years of studying film, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me anymore, and that’s okay. Initially I felt very lost. I felt as though I had wasted two valuable years of my life and disappointed my parents. Although my plan didn’t go as expected, I am grateful for my years spent at Capilano because it allowed me to realize where my true passions lied. I met amazing people, learned valuable lessons and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. I am extremely grateful for where my experiences have led me thus far.   

After the spring of 2019, I decided to take my first semester off school. This was an extremely tough decision because ever since I was five years old, I have had a consistent routine of always going back to class in the fall. In the beginning, it was difficult to adjust but I knew that I needed those months off to really figure out what my next moves were. 

The truth is that many of your life experiences (especially your education) will be non-linear. It’s not fair for any young person to be expected to have everything figured out right away. Take the time to find what you desire in life, what you want to pursue and how you want to do it. Be realistic but never be scared to take risks. Without any planning, I decided to take my first solo trip outside of Canada and travel to Bali for a month with my best friend. I needed something new, I needed to see the rest of the world. I was scared to travel that far without my parents, but I was so excited to be creating new memories and life experiences. While I was halfway across the world on a tropical island surrounded by the ocean, I realized that the problems consuming me back home were so much less significant than I thought. Sometimes you need things that help you put your life into perspective. Once you find them, you’ll feel much more stable and therefore less hard on yourself. 

After quitting film school, travelling for a month, starting a new seasonal job, and saving money, I decided to enroll at SFU as a Communications student! You may be wondering how do you possibly decide what you want to study or major in? For myself, I really thought about what my passions were and where my talents lied. If you are pursuing an education and taking courses that you enjoy or know you will thrive in, your university experience will go much smoother. Do your research, read blogs about other experiences, and ask around. For myself, I looked at the variety of programs that SFU had to offer and when I found one that interested me, I looked at all the career possibilities that could follow. If you are struggling to decide, SFU academic advisors are an extremely helpful source that help lay out your options and help guide your decision-making. Before my first semester, I sat down with an SFU advisor and they explained to me how my program worked, how many electives/ credits I needed, which of my courses transferred over, and  led me to the decision of what I wanted to major in. One of the best parts is that you don’t need to declare your major right away. You have the flexibility to take courses, learn new things, and decide what is right for you. 

Being a young adult, I have had my fair share of mistakes and let-downs. The best part about life is that you must build on these experiences to keep living. Look at something you consider a failure and see how you can twist it to your benefit. As part of my journey with battling against anxiety, I’ve learned to step back and look at my life objectively and accept that I cannot control everything. After feeling extremely defeated when I stopped my education at Capilano, I am proud to say that I am happy and confident in where my past decisions have led me. I am no expert when it comes to figuring life out, but it’s the fact that I embrace my mistakes in the healthiest ways possible. By doing so, I can allow myself to let go of any apprehensive feelings and trust that I will achieve great things. 


Terae Walters

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Terae is a second year Communications student currently employed in her first co-op work term here with the SFU OLC team. With a history studying Motion Picture Arts at Capilano University, her interests surround creative storytelling and inspiring those around her. For this podcast she aims to initiate conversation about important and valuable topics that can be useful for all different types of people within the SFU community.

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Oct 18, 2021

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