The four years spent in high school are supposed to teach you the things you will use to prepare for the rest of your life. However, despite what they tell you, countless formulas, Law of Conservation of Mass or knowing every detail of American History doesn’t do much to prepare you for college. I remember sitting in my room the night before I moved into my first college dorm. There were countless suitcases around me filled with stuff I collected throughout my past 18 years. But none of that helped me plan out the next four years of my life either. I was trying to remember some type of class or curriculum that prepared me for this time of my life; but the harder I thought, the less I came up with. You’re supposed to move away from your family, share a room with someone you’ve never met before, and learn how to live on your own… with what? The advice I got most frequently was don’t flunk out, don’t get arrested, and make sure you get to all of your classes on time. Well that was all true but it didn’t really tell me much about how this college thing was supposed to work for me. So here’s a list of things that have helped me be a better and happier me.
1. You must learn to be comfortable with your quality alone time.
I was the girl in high school who had lots of friends and loved to be around people. Although that has not changed, I do value the quiet time I spend in my bedroom with my scented soy candle, listening to Jill Scott and writing in my journal. Honestly, I find myself often looking forward to that time where I can just sit alone with my thoughts and allow myself to evaluate who I am and where I want to go. And that is very healthy for any human to want. So make sure you always have some time throughout your busy week to spend time with yourself. You should use this time as an opportunity to reflect, to be completely honest with yourself and to think about your past. A part of growing up and maturing is finding who you are as a person. That can only be done when you take the time to know and learn yourself.
2. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to be good at everything.
As sad as it is to say, life is all about finding the things that you do well and doing them. Especially in school, you have to accept that every class will not come at ease for you. The things that you work hardest for are usually the ones that you will value and take pride in the most. So with everything you do, do your best and be proud of yourself for it; even if no one else is. You have to learn to celebrate your own success because you are the only one who can evaluate your effort. Make sure you are honest with yourself. After completing an assignment, think about the things that you could have done better or differently and use that as a lesson for the next time. There will be people around you who will succeed at the things you failed. But don’t compare yourself to them because you don’t know what they had to go through to fight for their success. I always tell myself, “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” That means, take your own experiences and learn from them instead of comparing yourself to someone else’s progression.
3. Learn to be your biggest fan.
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Many times, people will doubt you, judge you, betray you and even criticize you, but you have to learn to ignore all of that and keep going. College is the first place that you may be forced to learn the importance of having a thick skin. You can’t allow a bad day, a bad grade or a rude comment break you. If someone doubts you, instead of reacting with sharp words, prove them wrong by doing the exact opposite of what they said you couldn’t do. Be humble, but expect great things for and from yourself and you will rise to the occasion every time.
4. Do more of the things that make YOU happy.
The little things in life end up being the ones that we value and appreciate the most. Sometimes it‘s not always about the material things or all the expensive things we acquire, but it’s those small things we really hold dear to our hearts. While in school, things tend to get a little stressful and out of control. So it is important to find those things that will bring you back down and help you regroup. Take time for yourself and go get your nails done, go to a jazz concert or go for a walk. We spend too much time trying to satisfy and make other people happy that we end up forgetting about what’s important to us. You are all you have so why not do things to make yourself smile?
5. Be okay with knowing that your prince may not suddenly appear during your college years.
I admit, I wanted to say that I married my college sweetheart. But, in reality, that may just not happen. And just like all five of these points, you have to learn to be okay with that. It’s been said that college is one of the best times of your life. And it really is. You have freedom that you have never experienced before. So don’t try and force yourself into a relationship. Study abroad! Go greek! Join a club or organization! Do things that will make you a better person to fall in love with.
“There’s a blessing in every breath you take. Even when it’s hard to breathe you have yet to suffocate. I commend you for your endurance even when the air is thick– keep breathing, keep loving, keep going.”