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3 Lessons College Taught Me Outside of the Classroom

As I power through my final few weeks of college, I can’t help but reflect on the last four years. When I first accepted my offer to attend Purdue University, I was excited to know that the possibilities here were endless. Would I join a sorority? Become a pharmacist? No. Actually, my college experience was completely different than the way I’d imagined it, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the twists and turns.

One of the greatest lessons I learned at Purdue is that rejection is redirection. During freshman orientation, I nervously anticipated sorority recruitment. Little did I know that I would end up rushing twice and eventually decide not to join a sorority at all. At the time, I was confused and frustrated. After meeting genuinely awesome girls in my favorite sororities, I couldn’t understand why they chose not to invite me back. Years later, I was interviewing for internships with the utmost confidence. Yet again, I felt defeated as the “We regret to inform you-” emails came pouring in. Now, in my final days at Purdue, I am able to look back and see what good came from those situations not working out. Because I didn’t join a sorority, I lived in the dorms for an extra year, made Tik Toks about dining hall food, and met an amazing group of internet friends. A few weeks after I received an internship rejection letter, I was directly messaged by Purdue Marketing & Communications on TikTok, urging me to apply for the internship I’d later find myself to adore. Rejection is redirection.

Lesson #2: pursuing a degree that you are passionate about can lead to great success. As a 17 year old in high school, I had no idea what career path I was truly interested in. I knew that I wanted the ability to support myself financially down the road, but no college major seemed to check all of my boxes. Due to my passion for helping people, I settled on majoring in pre-pharmacy. It seemed like a smart path to take. When a couple of STEM academic hiccups led me to a minor in management, I realized that marketing was the field for me. At first, I was hesitant to tell my friends and family. Would they call me nuts for taking such a giant leap? Would my friends in pre-pharmacy think of me as a quitter? I later found that no one else’s opinion of me mattered. No one would be living 100 years in this body but me. I had complete control of my destiny, and it was time to stop allowing the thoughts of others to keep me from being happy. As a result of changing my major to something I was passionate about, I finally found myself excelling in school & extracurriculars.

The last lesson I learned throughout college is that it is perfectly alright for some friendships to end. Before coming to Purdue, I was a people pleaser. If I disagreed with someone, I rarely spoke my mind. I forced myself to be bubbly at all times, and believed that any kind of conflict in a relationship was avoidable and unnecessary. As some college friends have come and gone, I have found the beauty in temporary friendships. Someone once told me that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. There is no need to force connections to stick around, as not all of them are meant to. We can, however, appreciate the good times and move on in peace. With lost friendships, I have learned to hug the forever friends even tighter. To put my phone away and soak up the laughter. To say “I love you” more often. And to never take a moment for granted.

Lauren Beck

Purdue '22

Lauren Beck is a senior at Purdue University, majoring in marketing. Originally from Bartlett, Illinois, Lauren loves to film YouTube videos, drink horchata and play Fortnite. You can follow her on Instagram @Sillysnorin
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