Pieces of Peacefulness

A Reflection from my First Year of Uni

Isabella Grandic
7 min readApr 20, 2022


Izzy, you’ve changed. In the best way possible. But I can’t put my finger on it.

After my first semester of uni, I was back home and in my closest friend’s bedroom. Twaddling about our lives now 1200 km apart (instead of 2).

Perhaps it’s just maturity? Living away from home for the first time, you know?

3 months later, in a conversation over South-African spiced chicken, someone else asked me how uni’s shaped me.

I said, comparably: you know, living away from home has been challenging, but it’s matured me.

For weeks afterwards, I felt disatisfied with the answer I gave over chicken and to my friend; they swam too close to clichés.

Am I living an unexamined life?

I realized that over the last 8 months my reflections were made of the same batter. In the chaos of uni, moving to a new country, delving into quasi-adult freedom, I lost my intellectual shovel. An overload of new inputs filled up my time — I wasn’t being introspective.

So, I’ve been showering more.

Showering with uninterupted time to think. Pouring my attention onto how life is affecting me and why; rather than just living through the what.

Now I’ve cleaned my finger and put it on how I’m different: I’ve found a mechanism for peacefulness: unlearning the need for control.

Friends on Franklin St, Chapel hill

My largest lesson: these 3 tactics for peacefulness.

P1: My thinking is not optimal nor universally correct

Coming to school in North Carolina I met a lot of Americans who seemed similar on the surface. Especially with so many students from this state, I found folks’ background stories in the first few weeks very monolithic. However, I got to know them more and I was terribly wrong. They only seemed similar on the surface because the surface was drastically different to my surface. (i.e., a Canadian student, who took a gap year to work at a startup, etc.)



Isabella Grandic

Aspiring healthcare infrastructure designer, technologist and scientist.