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How To Live Your College Years To The Fullest – From a Graduating Senior

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

As I come to the end of my fourth and final year here at Chico State, I can’t help but reflect on my time spent here and all of the experiences (both academically and in my personal life) that I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter. It seems as though just yesterday my parents and I were moving me and my belongings into the lovely Whitney Hall during the peak of Covid. Fast forward almost four years later, I sit here today just a few days away from my graduation ceremony and am at a loss for words from just how fast the time has seemed to go by. So many lifelong friends made along the way. So many incredible memories to cherish and reflect upon. So many valuable life lessons learned. So many career opportunities and mentors. So many countless reasons to be grateful. While it begs no question that these past four years have forced me to navigate difficult situations academically and on a more personal level, I can full-heartedly admit that my time here in college has benefited me as a person tremendously. It pains me to know that my time here in my undergraduate years has officially come to an end but I can’t help but be grateful for the overwhelming emotions I’ve been carrying these past few months as it shows just how precious, memorable, and worthwhile my time spent here has been. Had it not been for college and the wonderful group of friends I have made along the way, the life lessons learned from growing independent and learning to make decisions on my own, and the constant support of my family from afar, I would fail to be the person I am today. 

As I embark on this next chapter of my life, I can’t help but think back to the absolutely terrified young Freshman girl who sat in her newly moved-in dorm room, crying for days on end from fear of the unknown journey she was soon to be in for. I wish so badly that future-me could have comforted that young fearful version of myself and reassured her that everything was going to be perfectly okay. I feel for that younger version of myself as I sit here today knowing everything did in-fact turn out perfectly okay. In fact, everything encompassed within these past four years surpassed perfectly okay as it may have just been the best four years of my so far 22 years. The lows and highs all equally included, I wouldn’t change a single moment of my time spent here at Chico State as it has taught me so many valuable lessons along the way.

Seize the Moment

No one expects you to know your every move nor your entire life course so don’t set those expectations and standards your yourself. Assignments will be accidentally forgotten, exams will be imperfect, attendance will fail to be 100% sometimes, mistakes will be made. Accept the irregular and unpredictable agendas of college and be kind to yourself throughout the process, because let’s face it, it’s tough finding a balance. Refrain from lamenting on failures and admire the successes. You have just a few short years to experience your time in college to the fullest, don’t take it for granted. Focus on your studies but find that in-between balance that will allow you to have a social life and most importantly, time for yourself. College is all about finding yourself so take it all in while you can!

Prioritize Your End Goal

Throughout your college experience you will likely be intrigued by a number of unique opportunities made available to you. From clubs, class courses, internships and other extra curricular activities, there is plenty of opportunities made available to students to keep them busy and involved both on and off campus. It’s easy to be influenced by the overwhelming opportunities made available to us because the idea of being involved and apart of something is of course a rewarding feeling.

While finding areas to devote our time outside of class is beneficial, it’s even more important that we remain conscientious of this time we are allocating to allow for less stress and more fluidity in our schedules. I found myself in this exact position many times throughout my college experience as I seemed to take on almost all opportunities provided to me. I constantly saw them as means in expanding my experiences and was always under the impression that they would serve me especially well in the future, career wise. Looking back however, I wish I had allocated more of my time to clubs and extra curricular opportunities that were more aligned to my end goal in working in the health care industry. Having a mix of opportunities is appealing to future employers so I don’t regret any of my involvement in areas that were not aligning to health care, but I do wish I had been more strategic in my pursuits to allow for a healthy mix of both.

Take advantage of the opportunities made available to you but always take an additional second to reflect on your end goal to ensure the idea is realistic for your lifestyle and your pursuits.

Challenge Your Comfort Zone & Boundaries 

If you’re anything like me, you’re stubborn with what’s in your comfort zone and not easily influenced by what is outside of this comfort zone. When I entered college, my actions and ways were highly predictable and I rarely (and I mean very rarely) was convinced by anyone to do otherwise. If I didn’t want to do something, I wasn’t doing it. It was as simple as that. While I still am not entirely sure why I was like that, I can’t help but blame it partially on COVID and me having been so disconnected from society. I had done the past year with almost zero interactions with people of my own age and hardly left the house even when the shelter in place was lifted. I became very comfortable with my routine and being alone and being in the comfort of my own home. Being thrown into a lease with three random girls so suddenly at the start of my college experience forced me to be social again whether or not I actually wanted to be, which in turn I believe made me more stubborn than I already am.

While the initial experiences of college were not what I had imagined, it’s because of these random girls I soon became roommates with and the group of girlfriends we have accumulated along the way, that I have grown to be the person I am today. I have learned to be less weary of the unknown and find joy in the areas of my experience that are outside of my comfort zone. I am so grateful to have met this group of girls I call my best friends as they have influenced me tremendously in being hesitant of the unknown.

Above all else, trust the journey you have before you and remain steadfast in your pursuits. Challenges will be presented to us throughout all of life, not just in college, don’t let these obstacles be the reason you begin doubting yourself and unique abilities.

Payton Davis

Cal State Chico '24

Payton is currently a fourth-year student studying exercise physiology at California State University, Chico! She is a passionate and committed student with dreams of becoming a labor and delivery nurse. As she is nearing the end of her college experience she is prepping applications for nursing schools across the state. Throughout her time at Chico State she has been heavily involved in a number of extracurricular activities and clubs. Her favorite areas of involvement have been through her sorority, Sigma Kappa, and her former position as a research assistant in the exercise physiology department. Payton has a strong love for living a healthy and active lifestyle. In her free time she enjoys long walks in Bidwell Park and attending weekly hot yoga classes. She is surrounded by an amazing group of friends and family and is always looking to make continuous memories with the two.