Cheers to You, Cheers to Me and My Life Lessons from College

Georgia State, Georgia State 

You got on my LAST nerve. However, through all the ups and downs, I can honestly and finally say it was all worth it. Everyone goes through a personal struggle to get to their own definition of success. I ran my race and made it to the finish line. Finishing college in four years and keeping my HOPE scholarship was enough for me. If it wasn't for my mom, grandparents, stressing over financial aid and the good Lord, I never would have made it. I'm so happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thank the professors for inspiring and challenging me. My college life was so fulfilling and it was because of the amazing people I met along the way from events, classes, student organizations and more that made it worthwhile. I took away so much knowledge and learned so many lessons. Listed below are five life lessons I learned from college. 

Believe in Lifelong Learning 

College life can be stressful trying to pay for college, meet new people, make good grades, keep a scholarship or find a job. Through it all, the most important aspect is to study your coursework to pass your classes. Although it was annoying and I always procrastinated, I learned that no matter what, I love learning. Everyone learns in their own way. I realized I enjoy learning topics that I am passionate about or interested in. I found myself reading about the things that I love most or wanting to surround myself around those interests. Believe in lifelong learning. I found myself learning mostly outside the classroom and around the college campus. Colleges offer networking events, workshops, and group discussions with individuals from different walks of life. Lifelong learning creates a better understanding of the world around us. 

Everyone Goes Through "Life"

Everyone goes through ups and downs. Everyone has their own personal struggle. When I was younger, I use to feel like I was the only one going through trials and had to jump through hoops to be successful or overcome an obstacle. That's not true. I'm not the only one to go through struggles. Whether it is an inner or outer struggle, everyone experiences it. Our struggles can include finances, family tensions, body image or self-confidence issues. Never compare your struggle with others. It is up to yourself to overcome and conquer this thing called "life." Keep the faith. Life is not suppose to be easy. Everyone has a story and that's their story to tell. Experiencing life is what makes us who we are as individuals. 

Run Your Own Race

You can be your hardest critic. Never compare your experiences, skills, strengths, or abilities to anyone else. Do you! Nobody can do YOU better than YOU. If you let others define who you should be and what you should do, you will be miserable. A lot of what we see and experience is based on societal standards and what others define as great, beautiful or even normal. Too many people seek validation on social media looking for thousands of likes on a photo, comments, attention that they aren't receiving in their personal lives. Always make a decision for you and utilize your own strengths. Remember, everyone peaks at their own pace. Believe in yourself and trust the process that everything will be okay. 

Seek Balance

Staying in college and focusing on my academics taught me consistency, discipline, and how to seek balance. Whether is was budgeting, making time for social activities, studying ahead of time, or meeting deadlines, seek balance. This was the most valuable lesson I took away from college. I learned so much about myself during the process. I procrastinated a lot. However, once I started a task, I had to complete it. College is mostly about discipline. You have to train yourself and make it a habit to study, attend classes, meetings, or other obligations. Using a calendar and my planner was the best thing I could have ever done to balance my life in college. I will never stop using a planner. I love the feeling of accomplishment and relief once I completed daily tasks to lead up to the main goal. It also taught me how to be organized and meet deadlines. It can be so easy to drop out of college due to frustration of not having balance in your life. Life can hit any of us, HARD. However, with the right support system, faith, and self-awareness and discipline, anything is possible. Seek balance. Never overwhelm yourself with things to do. Plan ahead but take those steps one day at a time. 

Take Care of Yourself 

This is the time you take to find yourself. These were the moments when I found myself. Self-care is the best care. Take care of your health, mind, body and spirit. If you focus too much on goals, accomplishments, validation, and making others happy then you will be exhausted. You may even find yourself unhappy and overwhelmed. Seek the best and most comforting self-care practices. Do what works for you. Self-care is not a one time thing. Continue to unplug from social media, exercise, attend church, take a nap or get a massage. Feel free to journal, clean the house, get your hair done, take a bubble bath, eat healthy or listen to music. Simple things like meditation, getting enough sleep and drinking water will always do the trick. I found my peace when I was alone in quiet settings. I'm naturally an introvert so I enjoy being alone. This is the moment when I found myself writing down my feelings, thoughts and ideas. Relax and rejuvenate. Like myself, you will find yourself in silence. Take care of yourself but also practice silence and move your mind away from the noise of the world.

Every end has a new beginning. I'm so relieved that I graduated from college. I'm ready to open a new door and I hope you are too.  Cheers to you and me, Class of 2018! I hope you take these life lessons with you.