Making the most out of the academic year: Insights from a graduating trailblazer
Navigate the twists and turns of your academic journey with insights from graduating student Marah Mufleh.

Whether you are gearing up for your first-ever university experience or getting ready to toss that graduation cap, we all know that the start of a new academic year is a rollercoaster of excitement and nerves. We all hope to wring every drop of goodness out of the coming months: acing our studies, forming unforgettable friendships, and looking after our well-being. The Medium sat down with Marah Mufleh, a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), to understand one of students’ most pressing questions: how do we make the most out of our academic journey? 

Mufleh, who is graduating in November, majored in communication, culture, information, and technology (CCIT) and double minored in sociology and professional writing and communication. Her program choices combined all her areas of interest. By exploring your passions and crafting an education that best suits your interests, you may forge a university experience as unique as you are. “I always knew that I didn’t want to focus on one thing; I want to learn everything I can about the CCIT field, including marketing, communications, content creation, theory, and graphic design,” shares Mufleh.

Her university journey was marked by a profound understanding of the importance of embracing new experiences beyond academics. She adopted a proactive and well-rounded approach that encompassed her studies and a wide array of extracurricular activities. This approach, she believes, was integral to her personal growth and skill development. Mufleh made a deliberate effort to step out of her comfort zone and engage in activities that pushed her boundaries. “I recognized that my personal and professional growth would be enhanced by actively seeking out diverse experiences,” explains Mufleh.

When Covid-19 threw a curveball at everything, Mufleh found her silver lining: starting Champions of Change. The club aims at educating and reducing international inequalities and advocates for women and children in communities around the world. “The impact that Champions of Change had was incredible, especially since I started it during the pandemic without knowing anyone at UTM,” says Mufleh. “We raised over C$10,000 for local and international communities. Seeing the impact that the club had on communities all around made this club one of the most memorable highlights of my time at UTM,” she adds. 

Mufleh’s adventures prove that trying new things, even if you are going solo, can lead to the most rewarding experiences. She not only developed valuable skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership, but she also built a network of like-minded individuals who would prove to be instrumental in her future endeavours.

Mufleh learned that personal growth and change are primarily self-driven. In high school, students are programmed to compete against one another. However, once students transition to university, they should realize that their only competition is themselves. “Everyone is on a unique journey of their own,” stresses Mufleh. 

During her undergraduate degree, Mufleh juggled several research opportunities, four courses, a full-time internship, and leading two clubs. How did she do that? Turns out, her most helpful tool is a well-planned calendar. Having a schedule that lays out everything while making room for studies and leisure can keep you balanced and, more importantly, sane. On her TikTok page, Mufleh shares several tips and tricks on how to prepare for the semester and how to land internships. “My favourite tip would be to spend the first few hours of the day doing something for you. It can be as simple as meditating, making a yummy breakfast, exercising, or simply reading a book you find interesting,” says Mufleh.  

She understands the significance of putting her skills to the test in real-world scenarios. As such, Mufleh actively participated in case competitions that challenged her problem-solving abilities and business acumen. Notably, she took part in prestigious events like the Young Entrepreneurs Conference (YEC) hosted by the Digital Enterprise Management Association. “YEC gave me a chance to apply the skills I’ve learned in the classroom to a practical business case competition and to network with professionals in the industry,” shares Mufleh. These competitions not only honed her analytical skills, but also boosted her confidence in presenting her ideas and solutions to a wider audience. 

Mufleh emphasizes the importance of taking care of our well-being and shares some advice on avoiding burnout in the middle of the semester. “At the end of the day, your mental health is more important than academics because if you are mentally not okay, you are not going to perform well,” shares Mufleh. She explains how important it is to find what your stress reliever is. Her go-to activities to destress are hanging out with friends, going on walks outside, and yoga. 

Making the most out of the academic year involves a combination of embracing change, stepping out of comfort zones, managing time effectively, and prioritizing personal wellness. The insights shared by Mufleh shed light on how these principles can be put into practice. By taking initiative, seeking growth opportunities, and finding the right balance between academic and personal pursuits, students can make each academic year a fulfilling experience.

Associate News Editor (Volume 50) — Karine is currently completing her bachelor’s degree specializing in Digital Enterprise Management at UTM. She has been involved with The Medium since 2022 as a contributor. She hopes to contribute to society's efforts to provide authentic and factual journalistic media to educate her readers during her time at The Medium. Her goal is to take her interest in ongoing research within the business and technology field and explore ways to share it with others through this platform. In her spare time, she enjoys going on walks, FaceTiming her family, and painting sunsets with her friends. Moreover, she passionately pursues the chase of the Aurora Borealis, seeking to experience and capture the breathtaking beauty of these natural light displays. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


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