As summer winds down, I've been reflecting on the fact that I am no longer a freshman. It's crazy.
This past year has flown by, and I cannot believe that one year ago I was a ball of nerves as I waited to embark on this new adventure. Within this last year, I have learned some very important things. I honesty wish that I knew these things before I started college, but hey, life is all about growing. Take these five lessons to heart as you head into college this year.
1. Be kind to yourself.
As my second semester of freshman year started, I felt grounded. I was a part of two organizations and I had made so many friends, but the thing that I realized is that you have to be kind to yourself. This means different things to different people. As for me, I had to learn how to care for myself. Again, this also sounds crazy, but it is true. You need to be able to do something for yourself. I learned to treat myself to something on my Amazon list every so often. Every few weeks, I would purchase something small (no more than about $13) to celebrate something. Sometimes, I purchased a piece of jewelry to celebrate the fact that I had gotten my all of my work done before Thursday. Other times, I would celebrate the fact that half the semester was over. Either way, it is important to do things for you, whether that is buying yourself something small or taking some time to do something that you love to do. These small things allow for you to be kind to yourself.
2. There is so much joy in little moments.
Life is full of little moments. The unfortunate thing is that we forget to savor these moments. We often focus in on the big things things, like the things that take up the most time and the things that mean to most to us. This mentality often makes us chase these big moments when we really should be focusing on the small things. When we chase the big moments we miss the small moments, or as I like to call them the seemingly insignificant moments. These moments can be filled with so much joy if we stop and slow down. Joy is not about being happy all the time - it is about choosing to be happy even when life gets crappy. When we slow down and choose to enjoy the small moments, we find joy.
3. You cannot chase peace.
I love peace. In fact, I spent so much of my time trying to find it because I hate feeling anxious. As one of my friends pointed out, peace cannot be found in the chaos. When we try to chase peace, we will never find it because peace is found by being away from the chaos. It is so hard to step back from things, but I knew that I needed peace and because of that I knew I was able to find peace when I slowed down. When I decided to take time to just sit and to be still, I found the peace I craved. Now this is a hard lesson to learn, and it took my a whole year to learn this. If you are also struggling with finding peace, take some time to just be still. I like to just sit in my car and listen to music. I also like to sit on the outside of a room and watch everyone else. These are only some of the ways that I find peace amidst the chaos.
4. It's ok to not be ok.
You've probably heard this one before, and if you are anything like me, you've completely disregarded this. I'm here to tell you to be broken. This has been one of the hardest lessons to learn because I believed that I had to be perfect. I thought that if I told people about the messy things in my life that I would end up burdening others. However, being in community with others means walking with them and allowing them to help you when you need it. It is ok to show up and not be ok. There is something truly wonderful when you are able to let others help you. One important thing to remember is that they will not know something is wrong unless you tell them. When you show up to your community be honest and if you are not doing well, make sure that you share that with them.
5. Do not do everything.
College is a great time to get involved and to try new things, but don't do everything. I love to hang out with my friends and every time that they want to do something, I always said yes unless I had another obligation. I also was a part of two organizations that took a decent about of time each week. Since I was alway saying yes to my friends, it caused me to say no to other things like my school work. Doing this landed me in a very rough spot. I ended up almost failing one of my classes. The other thing that I found out was that I did not have enough time for everything. It is super important to try new things and to hang out with your friends however sometimes you will need to say no and that's not bad. Also don't forget to take time to rest and to do something that fills up your cup.