College is a place where people discover themselves, seek out new opportunities and change. After stepping out of the dependent lifestyle there were many things about myself that changed. The longer I stayed independent and learned in my new environment, the more I saw my opinions about simple things change. Now, the difference between child me and current me is unimaginable. Everyone sees the big changes that happen to someone in college, but there are a few small changes that go unnoticed sometimes
Advice from parents
I cannot count how many times my parents gave me advice without me even asking when I was in middle and high school. It did not matter if they were talking about school, boys or even my future; my response was always sighs and eye rolls. I used to hate the idea of my parents being right all the time and me having to listen to them. I used to get irritated when small discussions turned into lectures, but now I value it. I call my mom and dad when I need advice about a class, a friend or any other current problem. Being away from my parents made me realize that only my mom and dad know the perfect answer to calm me down. Their “words of wisdom” are uniquely constructed for me. College made me realize that their advice does not come from the top pedestal, but from experience.
We all know how much we cried in day care, preschool and kindergarten when we were forced to put down our toys and take a nap; we cried and we threw tantrums because we hoped we would be allowed to play more. Now, I wish someone would force me to nap. At least once a week, I imagine how great napping stations on campus would be. College has taught me how to fall asleep curled perfectly next to my textbook and laptop. Twenty minutes of sleep sounds like a bite of heaven. When I was a child, I could not fall asleep without my stuffed teddy bear, but now I don’t even need a pillow, because my arm does the job just fine.
Remember being young and finding a couple dollars? We usually just folded it unevenly and stuffed it into the piggy bank. We did not see those dollars again until it was time to make the coins in the piggy bank into cash. Now, if I find a couple dollars I think of the food I could get or the groceries I could get. The smallest amount of money has become valuable. We were always told before spending money at the school book fair that money is valuable and we should be smart about it, but I did not truly understand the concept until college.
I can completely and honestly say that before college, I rarely picked up free things. When I was a child, I always considered how much the product actually was and told myself I could just buy it if I really needed it. Now, it does not matter if I will use it or not, I will still get in line for the free shirt or sunglasses. One of the first words of advice I was given at orientation was that if I saw a long line of students I should join without thinking, and at first I decided that I will only get in line if I need the product, because I did not need the junk in my room. In less than one semester, I have more than ten free shirts, about 15 pens and a measuring tape. I will never wear some of the shirts, some of the pens do not work and I do not have anything to measure, but free is free, right?
Before college food was just food; a home cooked meal was a regular thing and eating healthy and organic foods was worth it. As a child, I did not think about the effort and specialty behind my mom’s cooking, because it was a normal, scheduled thing. The organic foods my dad stocked in the fridge seemed like a great idea to help the whole family stay healthy. College has taught me that a home cooked meal is nothing to take lightly and organic foods are not worth it. Repetitive meals from the same couple places on campus really do make you miss home and the cost of textbooks and classes really do make you question if five dollars extra on kale is worth it just because it’s a greener green.