And Like a Flash of Lightning, It Was Gone…
My first year of college that is. It seemed as if it just began. I clearly remember my parents dropping me off at school and starting my trek to my new home worried about what the next year would bring. What I was given this year was much more than I had expected. I was given freedom, opportunity, and new experiences. I gained so many lifelong friends. I broadened my horizons in ways I had never anticipated I would. I had struggles that I overcame with the help of my supportive family and friends. I made my first large transition in my life and realized that everything truly would be okay. I made crazy memories and had long talks. I joined new clubs and learned new facts. I started the journey to my future career. Here’s what I learned my first year of college. Everyone has different stories and experiences, so here are mine:
It’s okay to tell people no.
This is something I am in the process of learning. Many people are going to tell you what you should be doing, ask you for favors, and argue that you should be doing things differently. I am very much of a “yes man” rather woman, but you know what I mean. I do not like to disappoint people or have them put out, even if that mean I am. Yes I know, I need to stop this and I’m trying to! At one point this past semester I realized I was not happy. Here I was attending about seven meetings a week. I only thoroughly enjoyed about five of them, still a lot, but I did not like one of the meetings I was in. It was for a club that I did not fit into and I was not doing anything for and it was doing anything for me either. So I left. I realized nothing was interesting about it. It was not helping my future and was wasting my precious time. It took me a while to leave because I felt that I had to stay and help for our fundraiser, but after that, I was gone.
I have had other experiences where I have told people yes, even when I had other plans because I want something they have, experience. At this point in my life, I need to start networking and gaining skills I may not have previously had. Included in those seven meeting, three were for committees I found myself on. While I had applied for all three, I did not think I would actually be on all three. I grew up learning to apply for everything then I could tell people no if I wanted to. Unfortunately, that is not how my brain works. I like to commit myself to what I have said I will do. Thankfully the three committee’s were fun and gave me some much needed experience for my future.
My point being, you can say yes to everything, but if you do not want to do it, or do not absolutely love it, leave it! Nothing and no one is saying you have to continue with something you dislike. Many people, including myself have a tough time understanding this as we all love to be “people pleasers”. However, how can you be successful in pleasing others, if you are not pleased yourself? Food for thought.
Yes, this sounds like it will be cheesy, but that’s okay! I can honestly say I became more independent and confident this year. For the first time in my life I was able to call the shots on what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it 24/7. Let me tell you, that was the best feeling ever! I was able to sleep in (or not), stay out late (or watch movies with my friends), study when I wanted to, and go walking around when the mood hit. What I am saying is, when you’re used to having a set schedule like you do in high school, there is not much room for doing what you want in between family obligations and extracurricular activities. With the freedom of college, you can do what you want, when you want essentially. There were so many times I would go get coffee and sit in the library, doing homework/ people watching. Having the option to do this or not is so nice. At least having the option to do what you want is way nicer than not having an option at all! A big part of college is finding yourself of sorts, I believe that I did start some sort of “journey to finding myself” this year and cannot wait to see what else I find out!
Surround yourself well
This can be taken many different ways. I’m talking about two different one’s: people and living area. I surrounded myself with people who I had the same interests as. We had similar backgrounds so getting along was easy. Finding people who you get along with so well makes you more excited about what you’re doing. Going from high school where you know everyone pretty well to college where you don’t know many people at all is scary (I was lucky to have one of my best friends go with me)! I know that had I surrounded myself by people who were toxic friends, my year may not have been as successful, I may have dropped out, or done poorly in classes. There is no telling where I would be without the amazing support system I had through my friends at school. They made this year absolutely perfect!
Something else I found immensely helpful was surrounding myself in an environment that I felt like I could study in (or I tried…I had good intentions!) They were better last semester honestly. If you do not like the area you live in, change it! Just like I said earlier, if you do not like something or the way it is going, you need to change it to something you do like! It can be slightly distracting if you have a mess and you are trying to study. So that is what I tried to prevent as well as I could!
Anyway, the past year has been a blast. I had so many great memories that I was blessed with and good friend’s who I could count on. i’m not sure what I would have done without any of it.
I’ll be back soon,