The first year of college is a whirlwind of books, experiences, all-nighters and new people. It's overwhelming and it's one of the best times in your life. But now, my first year has concluded and my second go at the King's/New Yorker lifestyle is approaching fast. But, here are some things that my first year at King's taught me. Honestly, I don't know if I would've learned them anywhere else.
1. It's OK to say no.
Being able to say no in a gracious manner is a life skill that we all should learn to master. My first year at King's helped me take the first steps in realizing the importance of saying no. My first year was a flurry of different activities, classes and exploring the city. I wanted to do as much as I could. So I overbooked myself constantly and looking back there were some parts of this past year where I bit off more than I could chew. Different parts of my life suffered from this lack of foresight. So, I began mustering up the courage to say no to one student organization and yes to another, decline a Stage Management job that wouldn't pay what I needed for the semester, etc. While saying no isn't always easy (declining the stage management job was not), sometimes it's a better option than yes.
2. A planner will save your life.
Just write it down. Just do it. Your mind will thank you for not making it work double time to remember everything you have to do besides remember those Western Civ. terms.
3. Remain calm.
Even if all hell breaks loose and during your Hebrew literature exam your coffee spills all over your slacks and the floor, remain calm. Continue to remain calm when Dr. Johnson, in an attempt kindly clean up your mess so you can take your exam, bangs his head on the air vent with considerable force (true story). Remain calm even when you are stuck on the A train because it stopped AGAIN and you need to be at your job in 10 minutes. Remain calm even when you have to switch storage companies the week of move out and you are scrambling to find people to take your furniture. If you are calm you'll be able to handle the New York commutes, the hard classes and most everything else.
4. No one cares about your excuses.
Wake up call: It doesn't matter if you are busier than Jack or Jill, you still have to turn in that assignment on time or clock in to work. If you missed setting a prop on the stage, then you missed it. There's no other reason. Being accountable is difficult, especially when you have a fear of failure like I do, but it'll go over better than constantly defending yourself.
5. Comparing yourself is stupid.
</script>New York could be the city of comparison. People are constantly fighting their ways to the top, saying how they are better than x or smarter than y. Then, we always say if I could just be like x, then things would work out. This whole mindset is a lie. Yes, you will be better at some things than others. People will be better than you. But that's all you need to know and any other thought about it is a waste of your time. Just live, and focus on what you need to be doing.
6. Don't take yourself so seriously.
I have a friend at King's who has the skill of being able to laugh at herself. This is a skill that I am still learning. When I mess up, even with the smallest things, I beat myself up and those moments keep me from trying again sometimes. King's taught me that yes, you will mess up, you will do embarrassing things, but learn to laugh at yourself or else you'll go insane. You got embarrassed? So has the rest of the world. Chin up, warrior.
7. Don't believe everything YOU say.
This is a funny one. We always hear, don't believe everything everyone says or don't believe everything on the media. But what about ourselves? I'm talking about the negative dialogues that go on in our heads or the assumptions we make. I have a friend that told me one time while I was wallowing in negativity, "You don't even believe that." She was right. We tell ourselves harmful things that aren't true sometimes and at first, we don't believe them. But, if we keep saying them we will. That's a harmful habit, one King's is helping me kick. King's also helped me see that I am constantly wrong (SHOCK) and while I am the sage old age of 19, I too could use more help or information. Imagine that.
8. Self-care is just as important as your paper due this week.
This is easier said than done. But, if you don't take care of yourself, you get sick. If you get sick, you may have to skip classes. If you skip classes, well, you really can't skip classes, so when you go to class you'll get everyone else sick. When you're sick, you won't do your work as well. Take care of yourself.
9. A nap can work wonders.
Seriously. Take naps, win at life.
11. You can't do it alone.
I have struggled with making friends all my life. This led me to constantly isolating myself and getting the notion in my head that I was on my own even in the presence of the friends I did have, which is a harmful mindset to live with. But my house (Thatcher) and many other people welcomed me and confused my mentality of isolation. I began to learn that life isn't a single-rider roller coaster and while I still struggle with isolating myself sometimes, my friends and my house are always there for me no matter what.