what college has taught me
i hate to admit it but i’ve been avoiding writing this blog. what has college taught me? i don’t even know how to begin to answer that question.
a lot of this is going to sound cliche and you’re probably going to roll your eyes but i promise it’s all true. allow me to share some of my wisdom in no particular order.
first and foremost, i have learned that time really does fly. there’s not much you can do to change this but you can try to enjoy the time while it lasts. when i look back, it seems like more than anything i was doing homework. i was constantly making sacrifices in my social life because i had school work to do. i know this isn’t a bad thing but i wish i had been more present. even when i was out or hanging with my friends, my mind was elsewhere. even before college, i was the type of person that told myself i had to finish my homework before i did anything else. sure, i made exceptions to that in college. as i got older, i became more comfortable putting off homework to have some fun but it was never easy.
when time changes, so does your outlook on life. don’t feel bad for growing out of things; the things you liked in high school might not be the things you like in college. as long as you are staying true to who you are, then there is nothing to feel ashamed about. you might even grow out of some of your friendships. if a friendship or relationship brings no value to you, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. your thoughts when you were 18 are very different than when you are in your twenties, after four years of college. throughout college, i have met a lot of people; some have stayed friends, some have not. no matter what, these people along the way have changed my life in some way. the people that you surround yourself with will have a huge impact on your attitude; i’ve learned it’s important to surround yourself with positive people who support you.
in college, there is a lot of comparing. comparing grades, comparing style, comparing lifestyles - you name it. as a woman, it’s hard to not compare. i’m guilty of spending too much money on clothes just so i could look as cool as the girl next to me in class. not that i ever tried to be someone i’m not, but there was a point where i didn’t feel good enough. there are so many cool and beautiful girls that i see every day, on campus and online. with social media, it becomes hard to accept your life and not feel envious of someone else's. but you have to remember - things aren’t as glamorous as they seem online. like i said, there’s also the comparing of grades. around me in the business school, there are honor students who work while they aren’t in class, there are full time students who also own a business, there are students who excel in classes while participating in every extracurricular possible, you name it. there were so many times when i made myself feel badly because i was struggling with my course load while the people in the same room as me were more involved and were smarter than me. the truth is - everyone is struggling. everyone works and moves and lives at their own pace and you can’t beat yourself up because of how long it takes you to get to where you want to be.
try to do something for yourself as much as you can. in college, i realized that sometimes you really do have to be selfish. being selfish doesn’t mean that you don’t care about others, it just means that you are your own priority. i didn’t understand this in high school; i’ve always been someone that has put my friends or family before myself. college has taught me that you need to put yourself first. i heard this great analogy a couple days ago: imagine you are a tall glass vase under a non-stop flow of water (aka love, nutrients, mental wellness, etc.) pouring into it. every time you do something for someone else (friends, family, classmates, roommates, etc.), the water tips out and eventually your ‘vase’ just keeps tipping and tipping until it shatters. let’s not forget that this is a non-stop flow of water; if we just focused on ourselves before giving so much to everyone else, then we wouldn’t break. this is so important but also can be very difficult.
making yourself a priority also means that you don’t have to be so worried about relationships. i think there is a lot of pressure in college to find that one person but, obviously, that doesn’t always happen. there’s definitely a different and confusing dating culture once you are out of high school and my advice would be to just go with the flow. i know it can be hard, especially when all your friends have boyfriends or you’re lonely, or bored but you have to just let it happen. i’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk to boys, but i think people forget how big a commitment dating actually is. once you’re in a relationship, the time you have for yourself and the time you have for school becomes smaller and smaller. for some people, this is no problem; they are good at balancing school, their social life and their wellness. once again, that’s not always the case for everyone. i think it’s really important that you don’t start dating until you are comfortable in your routine and you feel confident enough that you have time to focus on a relationship also.
it’s okay to try new things! actually - i encourage you to try new things. i loved to write my whole life but i had never written a blog until i got to college. my freshman year, i joined a club that none of my friends were in because i really wanted to meet new people. that club was her campus, an online magazine for college women. this organization gave me so much in college; i found my voice, i became comfortable sharing personal stories online and i met so many empowering women. if i didn’t join her campus, i don’t know if i would have had the same passion for blogging. along the way, i tried a couple different clubs and organizations but her campus was always the one that i stayed with. trying new things might be something different than just joining clubs on campus. throughout college, i have met so many different kinds of people who have shared their interests with me. i finally learned how to ski, i started practicing yoga, i hiked more, learned how to (kinda) cook, tried a lot of new food. you get the point. basically, it doesn’t hurt to try something new.
i could probably go on forever about the things that i’ve learned in the past four years. to me, the most important thing to focus on is being present. might as well enjoy the ‘best four years of your life’ while it lasts! but seriously, a last few thoughts: don’t ever compromise who you are, don’t forget where you came from and don’t worry - you’ll always get back up.