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6 Things I Have Learned This Semester (So Far)

University is a time of growth, and with every semester, I find myself learning lessons I didn’t even realize needed to be learned. There is so much more to college than the classes you take. Not only does university help you grow academically and professionally, but also as an individual. That, in my opinion, is a beautiful thing. Here’s what I have learned this semester (so far):

1. You don’t need to have your entire life figured out right now.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to think ahead, but don’t let your vision of the future get in the way of enjoying the present moment and taking life as it comes. One big mistake I made in my freshman year was having a mindset that was so focused on what I wanted my life to be down the line that I could not fully appreciate how amazing my life already was in that moment. Do not stress about the future too much. Choose a major you are interested in, but do not feel like the path you choose is something you are bound to for life. Consider your major a learning opportunity to gain a skillset that will help you wherever you end up. Remember that life is a journey, and be open to following where your heart and mind may lead… even if it isn’t what you expected. You never know what is out there waiting for you.

2. Don’t stress about grades; focus on learning. In high school, grades were everything. They determined if we got into a university. Although grades are still important in college, for maintaining scholarships and such, do not stress about being perfect. You are not in college to be perfect, you are in college to learn… and sometimes, when you are doing something new, you stumble along the way. Do not beat yourself up. Stumbling in a positive direction is better than not moving forward at all.

3. Do things that are out of your comfort zone. Live a little. Say yes to new opportunities and experiences. Go to that party. Try that new club. Hang out with someone new. Do not be scared of what you do not know; more often than not, you will look back and be glad you embraced life with an open mindset. While going out of your comfort zone may be scary, it also gives you the chance to demystify what you don’t know, and even EXPAND your comfort zone. Once again, you just never know. Don’t judge experiences before you try them for yourself, and don’t limit yourself.

4. It is okay (and sometimes necessary) to take a break. College comes with a LOT of stress. Trying to balance school, work, clubs, extracurriculars and living on your own for the first time is not easy. Don’t forget the importance of taking time for yourself, and don’t feel guilty for it. Take an afternoon to binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix. Settle down for a quick nap before starting your homework. You deserve to rest. I repeat: YOU DESERVE TO REST.

5. Don’t take the people around you for granted. I made this mistake in high school, and I refuse to make it again in college. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to fix the bad things going on in our lives that we forget what we already have to be grateful for. These four years are going to fly by, so make sure to embrace every moment you have. Appreciate your friends, professors, roommates and classmates now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

6. Be your own best friend. Learn how to take care of yourself. Being on your own in a transitional time in your life can be difficult, and there will not always be people around to immediately cheer you up when you feel down… but that’s okay. Spending time with yourself and learning how to comfort yourself is one of the most valuable (and yes, challenging) lessons you can ever learn. It is essential to have a support system, but it is also important to not place your happiness in someone else’s hands. Rather than constantly relying on the support of others to keep you going, figure out what you can do to help yourself cope during difficult times. How do you like to relax and recharge? Not only is self-reliance a valuable life tool in its own right, but it also allows you to ultimately be a better friend to others.

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