Some of the things I’ve learned in college that completely changed me.
I give credit to these things for all the changes I’ve undergone in college, as a person, student, friend, and young adult. I thought sharing them might help you anticipate all of this and more on your adventure. Happy Holidays!
1. Taking the initiative is worth gold. In high school, friendships were defined by the amount of things you shared in common with a person. And in a way, that is still true in college and throughout life in general, except that now sharing a classroom or growing up with someone isn’t a factor as to how strongly you click with someone. In college, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re an animal science major and your best friend is an apparel and merchandising major. After all, now it’s not about sharing all your classes with someone or sharing the same environment all the time. At the same time, now that friendships aren’t as accidental, they take more work and initiative. You’re probably not going to be running into each other throughout the day in classes and such, so now is the time to exercise your planning skills and organize your time better to support time with friends, as well as work, and classes. Those friendships that will remain in the end, are the ones you actually dedicated some time to, and took the initiative to maintain.
The same rule applies in anything career related this four years. You’ll be doing a lot of resume updates, internship applications, job interviews, etc. And that work is not getting done by itself unless you take that initiative and decide to make things happen for yourself.
2. It’s all about quality over quantity. And this, I learned, applies to just about anything in life. First, I learned that as the years pass from the time you graduated high school, friendships start shrinking more and more and molding themselves into a small number of really good friends you can count with one hand. At first, I struggled a little bit with this and was convinced it wasn’t supposed to be a good thing. However, now I feel much more accepting of the fact that people’s lives changes throughout college, as we are all launched into more adult-like roles and can’t benefit of all the free time we used to have in high school. Making time for everyone is so much harder now, so I’ve learned to appreciate and put time into those friendships that really matter and that build you up, instead of bring you down. Something really valuable I learned was telling the difference between the two.
Similarly, the rule applies to how to eat, and dress yourself. It’s really easy to have those nights of total collegiate behavior and feast on pizzas and junk food. Also, what about all those frappes and mochas to try to get you through your night of cramming? I’ve learned that those binges never get you far. Eating better foods instead of bigger quantities of food make a big difference in how you feel about yourself!
3. Being independent. I never knew how well I could fair by myself until…well, I just had to, or else. 😉 It’s one of the biggest, and best, lessons I’ve ever learned in college. This is the time to go after what you want for yourself in life. Join that club you’ve always wanted to join, befriend the people you want to befriend, etc. But always remember to be true to who you are, and that you don’t really need to be friends with a certain person, or go out to certain places, or be a certain kind of someone others want you to be. This is the moment to be yourself, and be independent (responsibly, of course). This is the time to learn what works best for you in terms of routines, finances, and all these things you need to start learning while becoming an adult. So, I say…embrace it. 🙂
4. Chase your dreams. Before I came to college I held a much stricter view of how I was supposed to go about choosing a career. I guess it’s easy to be that way when all you ever hear is how much money doctors make, or how well engineers fair in the job market, etc. However, I never expected to learn how much passion and dedication it takes to choose a career that lifts you up, and allows you to wake up in the morning feeling like you contribute something worthy to the world; that you thrive in and enjoy. I never expected to learn how important that is, either.
It’s so important to like what you do to be able to be successful at it, so choose a career that allows you to be yourself and use your best assets. If you’re a writer, write! If you’re an humanitarian, choose accordingly! But be true. Because all it takes to succeed is dedication and hard work. Passion alone gets you nowhere, but if you’re willing to put in the hard work for that dream, then you’re well on the way of getting there.
5. It’s never too late. Some of us don’t come in to college knowing exactly where it is that we’re going. But in retrospect, all the little chapters I’ve been through in my years here are important and relevant to the place I am in today. Do I wish I would’ve known I wasn’t going to like biology as much as I thought I would when I was a freshman? Yes, of course. But at the same time, those little detours I took helped me realize life is not always traveled on a straight road, and those curves and loops one takes always contribute to who you become. Therefore, it’s never too late to change your mind, or change your major and start all over again. I chose to add a design studies minor in my senior year of college, it’s never too late!
I hope this can help you put into context all the things that you’re learning about yourself this four years. There’s this and a ton more. Enjoy your adventure! 😉