Tuesday, May 15, 2012

College Lessons

As I have closed the chapter of my life titled “College,” I have looked back on my four years and smiled. I have learned so much – much more than just what I paid to be taught. College is a time of independence, self-discovery/solidification, and adventure. In this post, I’m going to share some of the things that I learned in my college career but first, I need to lay out a few details: (1) I went to a “party” state school, (2) I chose a difficult curriculum and a medium level of extracurricular activity, (3) I was not a part of the greek system in any way, and (4) I don’t do drugs (never have, never will). That being said – these are a few of the lessons I learned outside the classroom and the lab. The first few are reality-check-type lessons and the last two are life-is-beautiful-type lessons. Enjoy!

·        This ain’t high school
And it’s fabulous that it isn’t. In my experience, friendships and relationships are much simpler and much easier in college. I think it’s mostly because we’ve grown up, we’ve moved on, and we’ve “been there, done that” with the drama. And for those poor souls that don’t learn this lesson early on, they’ll find that many people simply let them go and move on to “chiller” friends who have learned it.

·         The best fun is not the college party.
This is a lesson that I had already kind of expected to be true before I got to college but after going to parties and having their “fun,” I found that it is much too overrated. Too many a college student can’t hold his/her liquor or dignity. I honestly don’t relate to this, “I don’t remember it, so it must have been a hell of a fun night,” mentality. Logically, it doesn’t make sense. But don’t get me wrong, I’m of age and I enjoy alcohol, really I do. Ha! But, I don’t enjoy the college culture that involves it – it’s immature.

The best fun is simple fun. The kinds of activities that bring you back to the things that really matter, the things that you neglect most of the time. Things like your friends (and their glorious, sober personalities that made them your friends), childhood innocence, delicious food, relaxing, and hobbies. The best memories I made in college were going to concerts, having movie nights and marathons, playing video games, and cooking and eating great food with great friends. This is the true fun – not that drunken daze b.s.

·         Some people are ready for independence and some are not.
I saw this everywhere throughout my college career – not just freshman year, though frosh was probably the worst for most people. I was ready for independence. Freshman year, I had high grades, had a job on campus, balanced my checkbook like a good girl, went to all my classes, had my brand of fun, and kept my life, studies, and room in order (organization and cleanliness). But there were examples of people who were not ready: girls who drink too much and get hurt or taken advantage of, people who eat unhealthily just because they can or because that’s “what college students do,” people who skip their classes all the time, and people that don’t know how to even do their own laundry. Even as college wore on evidence of those needing a little more guidance was everywhere – dishwashers are apparently very difficult to run and load properly. :P

Now on to Life is Beautiful :)

·         Get involved!
Even a big school has unity and getting involved is the best way to tap into it. Go to the sports events, attend the free social events put on by the school, join a club, do intramural sports, go to the gym, partake in fitness classes, go for the free food and free t-shirts, learn your school fight song (and love it!), wear your school colors with pride, get to know the people you see in class often, participate in community events put on by the city/town in which your school is located, donate your time, donate blood – Get involved!

WSU is bigger than any school that I have gone to, though it is small for a state university. But no matter how big or small you see WSU, it is undeniable that the school spirit is strong – it’s verging on cultism, if you ask me! :D But I went to football games (Apple Cup!), basketball games, concerts on campus, bbqs, and more! I know my fight song like the back of my hand. I was part of a club for ChemEs and also a part of the multicultural students group for a while. I went to the gym often (though not as often the last year…). I knew my class well, did intramural sports, worked on campus for a dining hall, donated blood, attend the annual Lentil Festival in Pullman and so much more. Doing these things connected me to my school, my community. I urge everyone to get involved. It’s a beautiful way to have fun, stay active, and give back.

·         It’s all about the journey.
I’ve grown a lot since I was a wide-eyed freshman – I have solidified the person that I developed in high school into a stronger, more confident version of myself. Though I have changed a lot, I am still very much the same person that left my high school four years ago. It’s been a beautiful journey through college and it’s important to remember throughout the adventure that is higher education that it’s all about the journey. In the grand scheme of things, one bad grade is just a blip on the radar. Bad weeks, bad semesters, hard classes, difficult projects, late nights, and the multitude of challenges that students face are finite – they will end and give way to better, brighter, and happier days – especially when you persevere and succeed. Take the ups with the downs because without the rain, we’d not appreciate the sun.

Enjoy the ride and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remember to have fun.

Life truly is beautiful.

- Jenny -

I didn't make this - don't remember the name of the person who did (found it on Facebook during Apple Cup week). If anyone knows, let me know so I can give him/her credit! Thanks! :)

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