As the fall semester comes to a close, many students use this time as a break from school to prepare both mentally and physically for the next semester. However, for fall graduates, the end of the semester signifies the beginning of the rest of our non-academic lives. While closing this chapter of life can be frightening, it’s always exciting to take a look down memory lane. In doing so, I noticed a few lessons that I’ll take with me from college:
1. Say yes: There are very few times in life when it is socially acceptable to try out new things without the risk of being judged. Fortunately, college is one of those times. Create new memories, try new things, and be open to the opportunities that college presents. As I like to say, “I’ll try anything twice.”
2. It’s never too late to be what you might have been: If you walk up to a random student on campus and ask if they ever changed their major, chances are they probably have more than a few times. We are constantly told that we must have the answers when we get to school; that we have 4 years to get in and out of there. Do not believe this. I have had several classes with people twice my age, people younger than me, and everyone in between. If you’re working toward your goal, you’re doing it right. You have a lifetime to get it right—so if you get it wrong the first time, try, try again.
3. Make your life an open door: You’ll meet lots of people in college: Some will be friends for a semester, and others will be friends for a lifetime. Regardless, be open to meeting new people, but also be open to letting people go. Friendships run their course and new ones are bound to replace these. Take each person as a lesson and a new experience, but don’t hang on to toxic people, and don’t let potential friends pass you by.
4. Sometimes self-love means being selfish: At a certain point, I realized that people make decisions with their own best interests in mind. This realization allowed me to analyze whether I was doing things with my own best interests in mind. I needed to make myself happy, and although it was never at the expense of others, sometimes I couldn’t do exactly what other people wanted me to do. If it didn’t make me happy then why should I have to do it? (Especially during what should be the best years of my life!)
If making someone else happy comes at the expense of your own happiness, then is it worth it? In the end, someone in the deal is getting the short end of the stick, so why give it to yourself? There is a time for selflessness, of course, but in the words of Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
This is just a snippet of what I learned during the last four years because there is definitely more to tell. I want to thank everyone that contributed to my college experience including Queen Lis; my family; friends; teachers; classmates; teammates; coaches; coworkers; students; the loiterers who spew their vitriol by Cooper Hall and give the rest of us a show; and even people I’ve just seen in passing.