10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In College (So Far)

I’m only halfway through my college career right now, and I feel as though I've learned a decade's worth of new lessons, almost every single day. The beautiful thing about being in college or university is that there’s always an opportunity for reflection, growth, and experience. Here are ten of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far:

1. What’s meant for you will come.

There’s a time for everything, and what’s meant for you will come when it’s supposed to. My first semester I was overwhelmed with a feeling of inadequacy as I saw my friends getting cars, jobs, internships, relationships, and everything else I thought I should have by that time. After some reflection and thoughts of gratitude for what I did have, I accepted the reality that there’s no need to stress about what you don’t have or the things that you want. Focus on doing your best and working hard towards what you want. The rest will work itself out.

2. Your growth will come from your discomfort.

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Whenever I’ve done anything that’s scared me, or that I was hesitant about, I always found myself thankful that I did it. You cannot and will not progress if you don’t challenge yourself. To get what you’ve never had before, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done before. Being uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable. So of course, we avoid it at all costs. The tragedy in doing so is that we block ourselves off from opportunity, from expanding ourselves, and from getting to know who we are. Discomfort in challenges breeds growth in results.

3. You have all the resources that can help you succeed, in anything you want, NOW.

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Adelphi has a good amount of resources when it comes to academics, health and wellbeing, and professional development. More than that, we live in a golden age of knowledge where you can learn almost anything for free online or a small fee. There’s nothing you can’t learn or do. I’ve made it in my best interest to soak up as much knowledge and help as I can from college and the school of YouTube. The only limitations we have are the ones we create for ourselves. We have everything we need to succeed now, and to build ourselves up for success later.

4. You need to be honest with yourself.

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Are you honest with yourself? Truly honest, I mean. Sometimes we tell ourselves things what we want other people to believe so that we can believe them too. Like, have you ever convinced yourself you were okay with something when you really weren't? Same. Being honest with ourselves is a crucial pillar of loving ourselves fully. We deserve to figure out what our truth is, what resonates with us. Otherwise, we’re wasting time. We deserve to ask ourselves: How do I genuinely feel? What do I like, and what do I not? Do I feel satisfied? And if not, why not?

5. You need to be honest with others.

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Another pillar is being honest with others. This is another expression of self-love, of vulnerability, and of the respect that you have for another person. No one is going to read your mind, and no one should have to. Let your boyfriend know when he pisses you off. Respectfully end the friendships that are no longer serving you. There comes a time when the fear of confrontation has to bow down to the respect we have for ourselves and others. Free yourself and build stronger connections by being honest with others.

6. Listen to your gut. Always.

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Last year I decided I was going to switch my major, which at the time left me in a state of incredible confusion and shame. However, I knew I had to do it. Whenever I would tell someone my former major, I got an odd feeling in my stomach – as if I was lying to them. When I finally decided to let go and talk to my advisor, a weight was lifted. I’m never disappointed whenever I’ve pursued a project or made a connection based on my intuition. Sometimes we know without knowing. Listen to what your gut is telling you.

7. The world needs you to be you – the loudest, boldest expression of you.

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As cliché and simple as it sounds, there is only one you. You are not meant to hide in shadows and be a sub-par version of yourself. Anyone can do that. It’s much more fulfilling to be your fullest self, and the world needs you to be. The individuals we consider to be great are great because they are individuals. It is a disservice to yourself and to others to not be the most you that you can be. I learned this from a friend of mine, who is the brightest and boldest version of himself. As a result, he’s confident and comfortable with himself, and those that cherish him are able to love him in his entirety.

8. Prioritize. Set your intentions, and let go of what no longer serves you.

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You can’t do everything every day. That’d be pretty taxing on our brains, anyway. You have to identify what your priorities are, set your intentions, and let go of what no longer works or what’s just extra fluff. When we take the time to focus on what matters, we’re able to put more of our energy into it and reap the benefits from doing so. I usually have a full schedule during the school year so it’s become necessary for me to identify what’s important to me, set my intentions with what I decide to do, and cut the fat.

9. Comparison is the thief of joy, relationships, and time.

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Unhealthily comparing ourselves to others is a waste of time, and it can be very damaging to our self-image and relationships. You can’t fully love your best friend if you’re constantly comparing yourself to her. Constantly worrying about being desirable or well-liked, especially against others, isn’t what’s going to fill you. Instead, it will drain you. I’ve come to learn that there is beauty, and power, in being different and that it should be celebrated. Everyone is on their own path, has their own look, and lives their own life. Cut out comparison and build grounds for gratitude instead.

10. Be open to receiving, as ready as you are to give.

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A lot of us give in a heartbeat. Acts of love, gifts, advice, time, care – you name it. However, it’s just as important to be open to receiving those same things from others. My belief is that being open to receive comes first from understanding that we are deserving of love and beautiful connections. We are deserving of receiving the same affections we give out, and more. It’s about time we start getting comfortable with that in order to deepen our relationships and enjoy being taken care of.

As much as we learn from college in the classroom, we learn so much more outside of it. I’m grateful for how each of these lessons has and continues to help me grow. I mean, what’s life without lessons? With two more years to go, who knows what else I’ll learn – I’ll make sure to keep you posted!