The Five Most Important Things College Taught Me

As my undergraduate career rapidly comes to a close, I've been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about what I've learned throughout college. After much contemplation (and a few mental breakdowns at the thought of graduating in a few months), these are the most important lessons I've been taught over my four years at Clark. 

1.       The importance of having reliable friends

Photo: Personal Facebook When you go away to college, you leave behind the entire life you had in your hometown. Your family, your friends and almost everything you associate with home are gone and you are in charge of starting this new, amazing chapter of your life on your own. It is up to you to define who you will become and, believe me, there will be some extremely hard times while doing so. Not having a solid, dependable group of friends makes this much harder. College has taught me there are people who you can have a great time with, but when push comes to shove and the party’s over, you can’t count on them. The friends who stick around when times get hard are the ones worth keeping.

2.       The importance of being your own advocate In high school, I was used to my teachers telling me what to do and how to get help if I needed it. For those of you who are in/have graduated from college, you know that is nothow it works. If you need anything from anyone, it is entirely up to you to take action and get it. It is a hard but necessary lesson I learned during my freshman year and it has made an incredible difference. I’ve learned not only how to be assertive, but it has also made me more independent. 

3.       Organization is essential to success.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a pretty organized person. However, college will throw a lot at you really quickly and, as I mentioned above, it is up to you to get everything done. I have found that keeping a detailed planner of all the things I need to accomplish makes my life a lot easier and ultimately helps me save time figuring out what tasks I should be getting done.

4.      Being selfish is okay (sometimes)

Throughout my childhood I was taught that you should be selfless instead of selfish. It’s something I’m sure most of you were told as well and it is something I still listen to today—most of the time. Being in college has helped me realize that sometimes you need to be a little selfish because it will benefit you in the long run. Ultimately, you attend college to prepare yourself to enter the real world fully capable to do what you were trained to with the skills necessary to do it. If you let your peers seize those opportunities because you think it won’t be “fair” if you do, you’ll have lost an amazing chance. Plus, you’ll get screwed since I can assure you others would pounce at that chance getting passed up.

5.       You are in charge of your own happiness

I cannot stress the importance of this last one. Though college is, as a whole, an amazing experience it is still possible to get caught up in the little things happening in day-to-day life which can take away from that. Every person needs to realize that if some thing or someone is making you unhappy, you need to remove yourself from that situation. Life is too short to be surrounded by people or things that cause you more sadness than joy. And, more importantly, being in that type of situation will only make what’s supposed to be the best four years of your life the most stressful instead.