As my final days of college come to a close, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic. College is the craziest four years of your life, and everyone’s experience is different. I came in my Freshman year naive, scared, and full of self-doubt.
As this chapter closes, I know myself, my talents, and my values better than I ever thought I could. My relationship with my family is stronger than ever, and I have friends whom I will never be able to get rid of (and I mean this in the best possible way :) )
College will break you, but when you glue the pieces back together the structure is anything but weak.
Here are few lessons that I have obtain admits the chaos
1. Adults don’t always know best : This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. Growing up I was taught to “respect authority” and to “listen to your elders.” In my first year, I was told by two separate professors that I should leave that I wasn’t cut out for this school. They didn’t tell me how I could improve, but one did ask if I had a learning disability. I told her “I think my parents would have had been tested if they felt I had a learning disability.”
I also had an incident with the Housing Office, where I was told that the information was to remain private. I found out later that the incident was the new “hot” gossip around the office, and it eventually got back to me. I was more of an adult in the situation than them. That was a turning point for me. It’s important to treat everyone with respect but what they say is not the end all be all. Just because you are a younger doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a voice.
In life you have to realize that just because some is older doesn’t mean they know better.
2. Learn to take criticism: This goes hand in hand with #1. Learn to take criticism. I would cry my little eyes out when a professor ripped apart my work. You should cry, it’s cathartic, but don’t let the criticism dictate your work or who you are. Listen, accept what they say, apply it, and move on. At first I didn’t understand my professor’s criticism, I thought it was a personal attack of some degree but it wasn’t.
You have to compartmentalized.
Separate what they say from personal feelings, and unfortunately you are going to have do things that you don’t necessarily agree with. You are not going see eye-to-eye with every professors or boss. I have personally butt heads with a few of my professors. They didn’t like my writing aesthetic, but that wasn’t something I was going to change just for them. I would however take half of what they say and apply it to my work. You don’t have to agree, but you will have to compromise in life. At times, it challenged my stubbornness but in the end with the professors I butt heads with I produced my greatest work.
3. Take a mental health day: This is something my mom instilled in me and my sister very early on. Everyone needs a mental health day. School is important, but it isn’t everything. Your mental and physical health takes president over any class. I had to learn this the hard way. My first two years of college I focused solely on my work. I didn’t go out on the weekends, barely saw friends, and pushed my body to the brink with stress. When I injured by sciatic nerve, it was my body telling me enough is enough!
I had no balance in my life.
It is important to take a day off once in a while. Go to the park. Veg. Watch TV all day. Whatever you chose to do, but you have to promise me NO WORK! Mental Health days are for you and you alone.
4. Everything in moderation : Balance is key. Work in moderation, play in moderation. It is important to do things for yourself. This where yoga and meditation have really benefited my life. I was consistently worrying about work first, which only lead to the deterioration of body and soul. There is satisfaction in doing well at your job, but it will only take you so far. The most successful people are those who balance work and home life.
5. Never lose sight of who you are: Always be open to growing as a person, but never lose your core.
6. Money is just paper: Paying for college is a daunting task. My family and I have struggled, but have been fortunate in the fact that I didn’t have to have three jobs and a full class load to get my education. The worry of finances will never go away, but only saving and never doing anything for yourself is an extreme. Balance is the theme of not only this post, but of this entire blog. You have to treat yourself. Whether it’s going out to dinner once a week, a new shade of nail polish, or that book you’ve been dying to read. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, it just has to be meaningful.
7. Be organized: Learning how to manage your time will only benefit you. My freshman year, I pulled an all-nighter to write a three page paper. This is an incredibly sad statement. Fast forward to senior year, when I juggled my senior thesis paper, full class load, on-campus job, and a social life. It can be done. Scheduling and knowing your habits are key. If you work better at night, take a nap in the afternoon. If you work better in the morning, go to bed earlier. Just promise me, you’ll get some sleep…please?
8. “You don’t know how dumb average is” : Something my mom has told me my entire life… don’t settle for average.