There’s a lot I could say to sum up the last four years, but I by no means think I’m qualified to give life advice. Especially, when you consider the fact that in a single month I changed my major more times than I did laundry (and I am a clean-clothes fiend). The one thing I do feel unofficially qualified to talk about though is change, and that changing your mind in college is not only normal, but good.
There’s a lot of physical changes that happen to you during your first year of college whether you realize it or not. You’re likely moving away from home for the first time, meeting new people, and truly experiencing what it means to not have a parent on hand when your sink won’t drain. You have to learn to fend for yourself in an unforgiving environment. And no, I don’t mean the Sahara, I in fact mean a college campus.
It’s the first time you meet people who didn’t grow up in your same small town; who have a different way of not only looking at academics but life as a whole. My freshman year was one of the hardest mentally in my life; if not the hardest. And if it wasn't because I made a wrong choice of college or anything like that, I simply just didn’t understand how to adapt to these changes. I don’t have any special advice on how to fix that because to be very honest, one day I really just woke up better. But I will say it’s normal to not adjust the moment you arrive somewhere new — and there’s nothing wrong with you for taking time to adjust.
The idea of taking four years to graduate and having done college the “right way” because of it is a lie. It’s better to be happier and secure in your choices and take an extra year than it is to be done as fast as possible and unhappy.
If I can leave you with one piece of advice that I truly hope resonates with you, it’s that one day you will be happy. And if college isn’t the best four years of your life like it’s advertised that it should be, that is completely normal. Having graduated just a few days ago, I can confidently say that while college and its experiences were amazing, the long story short is that I survived. It is a grueling handful of years in your life filled with great times and lots of laughs, but it isn’t going to be the end of the fun or memories you’ll have in life. And in that, I feel 100% qualified to say.
To all the new graduates out there, congratulations — we did it! And to anyone out there who still has a bit to go, you’ve got this. Never forget to be kind above all else — you’ll always go far with a kind heart.