A Graduating Senior's Farewell: What I've Learned

Three years. Three years and three months over in the blink of an eye. I thought I’d have more time. I thought I’d have time to do all of the things I had dreamed of doing, crammed tightly into four messy and glorious years. But here we are. Three years later, graduating early and not realizing that time started passing faster and faster. These three years weren’t perfect and they weren’t anything like I imagined they’d be, but I am a different (and I’d like to think better) person because of them. So. for my very last Her Campus article, I would like to bid farewell to DePaul University and my HC fam with some advice for all you youngins! Gather round to listen to my wise words.

 

Take risks. Make mistakes.

I know that college can feel big. It can feel like everything matters and you need to keep up with everyone else around you. But it is okay to mess up. It is okay to do something stupid or to make a wrong decision. Even if it’s really wrong. That’s how you learn. I think it is better to take risks, take a leap of faith, and fail then to not have tried at all. The failures are valuable lessons, and if nothing else, they are awesome stories to tell later. I regret not taking more risks and making more stupid choices, because this is the time to do that. Now I have bills, loans, and jobs to worry about and it is no longer funny or cute to be impulsive. Take advantage of this time to be wild and stupid.

Step outside of your comfort zone.

College is about trying new things. I know it can be scary to do something you’ve never done or go to an event where you don’t know anyone or travel to a new country. But it’s worth it. You know that cheesy saying, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”? Yeah, as much as I hate to admit it, that’s true. The one thing I’ve learned from my time here at DePaul is that true growth happens when you push yourself to do the things that make you uncomfortable. I have learned valuable skills about how to adapt and handle myself in trying times because I pushed myself to do things before I was ready. Do what scares you. You will come out a stronger person.

 

Travel. Do it.

The best—I repeat, the best—experiences I have had in my three years here at DePaul were the two study abroad trips I went on. Studying abroad was always a dream of mine. It was the one thing I was certain of when I came to college. I, unfortunately, did not have space in my schedule to study abroad for a full semester, but I was able to travel to both Italy and Ireland for short-term trips. I made awesome, life-long friends. I saw the most beautiful sights. I pushed myself to do things I never thought I would do. If you take anything away from this, please travel.

 

Don’t assume you have time. Because you don’t.

I assumed I would have a full four years. I assumed that I would have so much time to join all the clubs, have a million minors, and hold several internships. I was wrong. Time did not wait for me to finally get around to these things. It kept moving. Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait. If there is something you want to do or somewhere you want to go or a friend you want to make, do it now. There is never a better time than the present. Cram in every experience you possibly can before you get that diploma.

There is something truly unique about college. It is filled with awkward slots of free time in the middle of the day, weekends that start on Thursday, and an overwhelming amount of pressure to decide your future at 18 years old. It is the best, and the worst, time of your life and I hope you make the very most of it. Goodbye, DePaul. Thank you for everything.