I graduated from college last Saturday. Wait, what? Yeah. After three wonderful years in Wisconsin, it was time for me to leave the beautiful dairy state with two-degrees in hand and big plans for the future! College didn’t just teach me about advertising and psychology (my two majors), it taught me about life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get a higher education, and here are 5 lessons I learned from my time as a Warhawk.
1. There are a lot of different kinds of people, and they’re all great
College really opened my eyes to all the different kinds of people there are in this crazy, cool world. I grew up in a large suburb of Chicago, so my school was pretty diverse, but honestly, I was ignorant. I didn’t know much about other ethnicities, genders, or sexualities. My all time favorite college class was sociology of gender where we openly discussed the problems behind a binary gender system, and the importance of acknowledging and accepting people who don’t fall into this weirdo binary system we have. I didn’t know much about transgendered, intersexuals, or any other variant before this course and it really opened my eyes. I also met a ton of people that had such varied backgrounds, it really helped me understand and appreciate other people.
John Green *the best author/vlogger ever* does a way better job at summing up this point here
2. Failing is actually ok, and probably better in the long run
I’m not talking about failing classes, because that’s definitely not better as you’ll be stuck at college for 100 years if you do that. I’ve always been a big goal setter, and it wasn’t until I went to school that I started failing at goals I set for myself. I had my heart set on being an RA after my freshman year, but didn’t get it. I wasn’t good at ultimate frisbee. I didn’t get the first internship I applied to. And I didn’t make 1 million BFFs. BUT THAT’S OKAY. Even though I failed at a lot of things, I still graduated as a happy, healthy, employed 21-year old! I learned a lot from those failures, and they ultimately shaped me into the positive go-getter I am today.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other people
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it super simple to make you feel like you’re a loser by comparing yourself to your friends. Wake up buddy, you aren’t a loser. It’s easy for people to portray their lives as fabulous, but it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for them either (they get pimples, gain weight, and get stressed out too). Think about how you portray yourself online, and realize how glamorous your life appears to outsiders.
My problem was that I always compared people’s social lives with mine. I realized I was an introvert after one of my first psychology classes, and it all made sense to me. I have amazingly strong, and wonderful relationships with BFF #1 and BFF #2 (Kayla and Logan). I don’t think anyone else can really compare when it comes to those two people, and that’s okay. I don’t need a lot of social stimulation to be happy, and college taught me to be okay with chilling in my room alone, watching Netflix, and texting Kayla non-stop. That’s just my thing.
4. Stand on your own two feet
Every year of college was really different for me. For example: my first year I was a part of my university’s Ultimate Frisbee Club Team, my second year I was the event planner for my dorm’s Leadership Involvement team first semester, and I was hired as an RA second semester. My third, and final, year was spent as an RA, and a social media intern. I took all of these positions on my own and without having guaranteed friendships on the other end. I remember walking up to the first ultimate frisbee practice all by my lonesome not knowing anyone. It was terrifying, but also super liberating! All of those experiences taught me l could be outgoing with people I had never met *small victories, people*!
It’s so so so important to be able to motivate yourself, and not be dependent on other people. So stand tall and do something crazy all by yourself.
5. Be willing to change
If you ask me, “high school you” and “college you” should be totally different people. College should question your beliefs, values, and ideations. It should challenge you to think about life, people, and experiences in a totally new and exciting way. It’s so important to be open to learning about other ways of living! Try a new food, switch up your style, or befriend someone who’s totally different than you. At 18, you are way too young to be set in your ways, so stop being a stubborn teenager and open your eyes to all of the possibilities your life has to offer!
Although I’m done learning vocabulary and theories, I’ll keep these lessons I’ve learned near and dear to my heart for the rest of my life. Cheers to constantly learning, changing, and evolving.