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College Reflection: 12 Things I’ve Learned Over the Past 4 Years

With my senior year of college quickly coming to an end, it feels like it is time to reflect on what I learned from the past four years at West Chester University. I had my ups in meeting incredible people, bettering myself each day, participating in organizations that mean the absolute world to me, but I also had my downs like friendship breakups, mental breakdowns from stress, and disappointment with myself for not doing as well as I hoped on exams. Overall, I felt all the feelings. College has opened doors to things that I never imagined getting the opportunity to be a part of and gave me a “home away home” that I will always remember. Without the support of friends and family but also the dedication and effort that I consistently put forth; I would not be where I am today. That said, these are 12 things that I learned over the last four years. 

You Know What is Best for Yourself More Than Anyone Else

In life, you have to make decisions that feel best for you. No one knows you better than yourself, so it is important to follow your heart and choose the path that is for you. During my first semester in college, I found myself unhappy with what I was studying and knew I needed to take action to boost my spirit. I spent countless hours worrying, doubting myself, questioning how I should fix this dilemma. Friends and family told me to wait it out and those things would eventually get better, but I knew it was not going to get better. I went with my gut feeling and changed my major from Early Education to English which was the best choice I ever made. Do not rely on others to figure out what is best for you. You are your person who is capable of recognizing the correct choices that will benefit you in the long run.

Not All Friendships Will Last but The Ones That Do, Never Let Them Go
Anna Schultz-Friends On Hike
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

This is one thing that everyone tells you to remember at all times during your entire life, but college taught me that it is 100% true. People come and go in life and you have to accept it. You may think that someone will be a part of your life forever but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Communication is key in relationships, so do not rely on the other person to keep it up. It is a two-way street. College was the place where I found the most amazing individuals that I get to privilege to call my friends. I will do everything in my will power to keep that connection with them because they are people that I truly, never want to lose.

Self Care Isn’t Being Selfish

I always thought that I needed to put others before myself, but college has taught me that is not always the case. You are your priority and it is important to take care of yourself before others sometimes. Not always, but occasionally. College is a hectic time, and no one ever knows what is going on or what day it is. Assignments, social life, and work consume your life and it feels like there is never an ideal time for you to focus on yourself and take a break from the stress evoking elements in life. Treat yourself from time to time, stay in instead of going out, have a lazy day in bed, and take care of yourself and do not overwhelm yourself.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Will Open Up More Opportunities

If you know me, I’ve always been quiet, shy, and scared to be myself around others. Sometimes, I still am that way. However, comparing myself to who I was before college to now, a graduating senior, I’ve changed dramatically. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone with people and created those friendships that I vow to do everything I personally can to keep those close, but I’ve always learned to be myself around others. I don’t hide who I am, I’m comfortable with showing who the real me is. I’ve also stepped out of my comfort zone when joining Her Campus. I’ve never been a part of a group like this and never imagined I ever would be because I’ve always felt rejected by everything and everyone, but this organization gave me hope and sense of pride and happiness. It’s given me the experience that I’ve been searching for, allowed me to meet the most amazing women, and gave me an outlet to voice my opinion. Stepping out of your comfort zone may be scary, but it is what needs to be done to reach the opportunities that the world holds for you.

Being a Broke College Student is Not a Joke

This one is pretty simple – when people “joke” about being a broke college student, they are the furthest thing from lying. All of your money gets spent on food, textbooks, trips, unnecessary purchases, drinks – literally anything and everything, you name it. As the years went on, I still spent a lot of money, but I also learned how to save the majority of my money instead of blowing it all within hours. It really shows how poor most students handle their money but opens the opportunity for improvement and teaches us the responsibility that we need to have.

Your Professors Want To See You Succeed and Will Be There When You Need Them

I always knew professors would be there and have your back through college, but I never thought they would genuinely care about you and how you are physically and mentally doing. I bounced from advisor to advisor until I finally landed with someone I felt comfortable with to talk about anything and was never scared to voice what was bothering me in classes. My advisor was hands down, my favorite professor at WCUPA. She was there when I needed help and guidance, understood my goals and what I was working towards, believed in me when I did not believe in myself, and never let me leave her office feeling unsure about myself and my studies. When people tell you that your professors will be one of the most important people in your college career, believe them. I will forever be grateful for everything my professor/advisor did for me to help me get where I am today.

Dining Halls Are As Gross as People Say They Are

Now I cannot lie, there was the occasional meal that I always got excited to go to the dining hall to grab dinner with friends. However, it did not happen enough to make me a fan of the food. I used my meal plan at other places on campus and went to the dining hall as the last resort or if I was low on meal swipes.

Organization is Essential for Success

People see me as a very organized person when they look at my folders, notebooks, and even my room, but I must admit, I may look clean and organized, but my life is a mess. Well, it feels like it. College taught me that to succeed in my classes and stay on top of all of my assignments, I need to dedicate time to planning out a schedule and organizing my papers for each of my classes. If you do not organize your documents, you will quickly overwhelm yourself with your responsibilities. By keeping your materials and belongings in neat order, it motivates you to do your work and keeps your mind focused because it is not flustered by a huge mess. The organization aids a happier, more relaxed state of mind which is necessary to succeed in life.

Anything is Possible if You Believe in Yourself

There are so many things that you are capable of doing but you just don’t know it. You need to believe in yourself and trust yourself that you have the potential to anything you put your mind to. It all depends on your mindset. Instead of immediately doubting yourself, have faith in yourself, breathe, and just do it. Reach for the stars, build up yourself up by reminding yourself of positive affirmations because anything is possible if you believe in yourself. I have always been the person to doubt myself and put myself down with negative thoughts about myself, but I learned I will not go anywhere in life doing that. By changing the way I view myself and the potential I hold, I opened myself up to many opportunities that I never imagined having.

Each Day You Will Become a Better Version of Yourself

I learned I will not always be who I thought I was. I changed a lot over the past four years from someone that did not care in the world to someone with an extreme amount of passion for spreading positivity, working hard, and being the best person I can be. Self-growth has been an important part of my life during college and I know I will not stop becoming a better version of myself anytime soon. Every day is a work in progress.

Spread Kindness Around Like Like There is No Tomorrow, Even on Bad Days

College brings on a lot of tough days for students and faculty because of all of the craziness that happens in classes and outside of classes. Everyone has bad days and I had my fair share of them. I realized that when I am having a crappy day, I need to spread kindness and positivity to others. Although my day may not be going as I hoped it would, I do not want anyone else feeling the same way. To prevent that, I will give out compliments like candy, text or call friends and family to tell them how grateful I am for them, or pay it forward, such as paying someone’s parking meter or buying someone their coffee in the Starbucks line. Our world needs more kindness in it, so by spreading kindness on your bad days, it will be sure to help others that may also be feeling down. Frown less, smile more

Don’t Take Your College Years for Granted; Hold On and Cherish Them

With the Coronavirus forcing everyone to do online classes for the remainder of the semester, I had to leave my home away from home without saying goodbye. I did not get to say goodbye to friends, roommates, professors, and the campus. While the class of 2020 will be going down in history, it goes to show to not take anything for granted. You never know when something so important in your life will be taken away so quickly.

Hi, I'm Marly! I am a senior at West Chester University, majoring in English (Writings Track) with a concentration in Digital Writing and Rhetoric. In my free time I love to practice self care, which includes: listening to my favorite music, cooking/baking, journaling, and (of course!) obsessing over my dogs.
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