College is a Journey but It's Not the Same for Everyone

As I sit here writing my final article, I am thinking of the many ways I can start it and the many places I can take it. As a graduating senior, the thoughts inside of my head seem to be as jumbled as a box of assorted munchkins. Half the time I don’t know what I am feeling. Sometimes I am scared, sometimes I am excited, but mostly I am thankful. Becoming a writer for her campus was one of my better choices in my college career. It has given me an outlet to share my thoughts with all kinds of people, strangers and friends. I feel that it has given me the opportunity to use my words and share them, conveying to people who are typically afraid to stand out, that there are people who feel the same way as they do.

 

I begin with a lyric that struck me just the other day- “Crowded hallways are the loneliest places for outcasts and rebels and anyone who just dares to be different.” College is different for everyone. Some relish in the social life, drinking, partying, and creating a large network of friends. Some are there for the academics, studying hard for hours on end, to land the best possible job with a promising future. Some come in not really knowing what they are doing, where they plan to go, or why they are even here. Some are here because they have to be. And some experience it more quietly. They find things they enjoy and stray away from things that make them uncomfortable. They do not follow a group because they never truly fit in. They instead prefer a smaller group of close friends who share their interests and passions. I am that girl. However, I believe that no matter how you choose to experience college, you are being successful by doing what best suits you. You are finding your place, becoming aware of your fit, and learning so much in every environment. I think it is important to get your feet wet in every area so that you can truly say, “no that is not for me”. No matter what you choose, as long as you are doing what is best for you, you are getting an irreplaceable experience.

 

College is our first chance to experience the world outside of the confines of what we already know. We discover different personalities, build relationships, and create new ones. We come in as strangers, into this big overwhelming place that at first feels so daunting. Yet when we leave, it suddenly feels so small. It doesn’t seem as scary as when you first started and in fact you cherish it in a way that you never expected to. College for me has certainly been an experience. I am happy to say that I am thankful for all that I have experienced here at UNH. I discovered what makes me tick, what makes me happy, and most importantly who I am. This past year I have learned that it is ok to follow my own path. It is ok to recognize when the original familiar path isn’t working for you. It is important to surround yourself only with positive people who support you- people who you can laugh with about absolutely nothing. Put yourself in circles with people who share your passions and are willing to help you make yourself better. I am happy to be able to walk away knowing that I have those people in my life, whether I met them here or know them already. I know who they are.

 

As scary as it is to be a graduating senior, knowing I have big shoes to fill and that soon enough I will be responsible for the education of the young children that sit before me, I would not trade it for anything. In fact, if I had to go back to freshman year, I would never do it again. So my advice to those who we leave behind as we embark on our new journey into adulthood is this:

Surround yourself with positive people who support you no matter what.

If your current path is not working for you, do not be afraid to make your own.

Never let the judgments of others define you- their words and their actions will only give you material to work with in the future.

Give all that you can because you get what you give.

Don’t assume that people know how much you care for them. Let them know that you are there for them and that you stand by them.

Have as much fun as you can possibly have. It may not be with the people you originally pictured yourself to be with, but that is ok.

Relationships change; that is a part of life.

It is ok to be different.

It is ok to be weird- it makes you a more interesting person.

Sometimes things just don’t make sense. You’ll figure it out eventually.

Don’t succumb to the pressures you feel around you. If you don’t feel that it is making you a better person, then remove yourself from the situation and find what works for you.

Don’t let college be a competition. Don’t make decisions based on what other people think, and try your best not to let the opinions of others guide you.

If there is one thing I can tell you that I hope you take with you, it is that all the crap you deal with when you’re twelve never truly goes away. There will always be people who put you down, and who want to see you fail. As John Lennon once said, “you don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are who you are.” It is up to you to make college the best experience for YOU. Find your confidence and follow it. As long as you believe in yourself and trust your instincts, you will find the path that works for you- and that is what college is about. Lastly you must always remember that there is so much more to life than what you’re feeling now. I believe the most important thing to leave college with is knowledge, truth, and acceptance of yourself.