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Top 5 Things I Learned as an Undergrad, Outside the Classroom

It’s really surreal to say that I am a college graduate and I can’t believe it’s really over. The past four years have been a whirlwind to say the least, and if you had told me my freshman year how everything would have played out, I probably wouldn’t have believed you at all! To be honest, though, I feel like everything I learned about life up until this point, I learned outside the classroom and my classes. So here are the top 5 things undergrad has taught me:

Social Media Paints a False Reality About a LOT of Things:

This is a BIG one. The media teaches us that college is “the best four years of your life.” This may or may not be true. Social media always has pictures of everyone constantly looking perfect and having so much fun, but this just isn’t the case all the time for anyone even if it looks like it. In fact, I think social media was overall a very toxic thing for me in college looking back. It created a lot of anxiety and unrealistic expectations for me, and I think going into the “real world” now I will definitely cut back and try to find ways to use social media in a better way. 

Everyone Goes At a Different Pace, And That’s Okay

This one was actually one that I didn’t learn as much until this past year, with getting jobs and making plans for after graduation. At the beginning of the semester and even in the fall, I saw so many people in other fields like business and engineering getting jobs, and I was getting frustrated. However, some career paths work at a totally different pace and time format, and if you think you’re falling behind, you’re probably not (if you work in the media industry, you understand that it’s a very “last minute” and fast paced field!). This is also true with academics. Everyone completes and goes through things differently. You might find a class easier or harder than someone, and that’s ok. You may need an extra semester, and that’s perfectly ok!!

Some People Just Won’t Be Able To Get Along, And You Might Not Be Able To Change That

The older you get, the more you realize with this one. I have some really good friends that for a while I tried to have all be friends and get along, but this year I realized that I was pushing that too much and it wasn’t going to happen. You can’t change people, you can’t ask people to be best friends. It’s just an unfortunate reality. Believe me, there were some people I did not like that I met along the way as well, you’re never going to like everyone. I also do think it’s taught me a lot that in your future and your job, you probably will have to be in groups with people you don’t love, and it’s the way that you handle it that will either harm you or benefit you in the long run. 

There Are A Lot of Things You Can’t Control

I think we all learned this BIG TIME with Covid!!! Of course, I NEVER expected a pandemic in my college career or my lifetime, but it happened! Being an extremely type A person, that’s the thing that made many of us so anxious about covid; there was nothing we could do to control the situation. We couldn’t control if we got the virus,we couldn’t control whether we got a job/internship or not, and we couldn’t control how long the pandemic was going to last. It really did put a wrench in a lot of people’s plans. But it was a big learning lesson for that sometimes we need to adapt and go with what life throws at us. 

You Don’t Have to Settle

I think that this is true with a lot of things. Even when I was going into college, I was told I had to go to a state school because going to a big city was too expensive and not worth it. However, I worked my butt off and made it here because I didn’t listen to what anybody else said!! And it’s the same thing with so many other things. With a job or internship, you don’t have to settle. If it’s making you miserable and not right for you, you shouldn't have to do it. You also shouldn’t not go after your dream career just because people say it’s not realistic or too difficult. If you work hard, it’ll happen for you!! And don’t settle with people in your life,  either. Don’t settle for toxic friends or a relationship that makes you feel inadequate just because it’s “safe.” You are worth so much more and surrounding yourself with better people will make you feel like you can do anything!!

Molly Prior

Manhattan '21

Molly Prior is a senior at Manhattan College studying communications and journalism. With a passion for women's empowerment and lifestyle, she hopes to write for a magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Women's Health.
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