500 Words On Life's Surprises

500 Words On Life's Surprises

Here are my thoughts on life's surprises as we move into a new year.
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Life is full of surprises. I know this — we all know this. We all know that we cannot foresee every single thing coming our way. Even considering the fact I cannot predict the future, I still wonder about it and, sadly, this is not a normal amount of wondering. This is full-blown worrying about every single thing that happens or might happen to me. I want to know if someone will stay in my life or why they’re not in my life anymore. I wonder if I'll end up in a relationship with this person or if I'm wasting my time. Why is it that I always need to know the answers? Am I just not a fan of the unknown or am I scared of being alone?

For one, I actually love the excitement and anticipation of the unknown when it comes to surprises on my birthday and Christmas. Two, I’m working on being alone sometimes and being okay with it. I grew up with three siblings, so my house was always full and in college I've hardly been alone. There are almost 500 people living in my dorm complex, so there’s always someone to grab coffee or lunch with. My suite is always buzzing during the day. I do need my hour or two of "me time" every day, but, other than that, I’m happy when I'm completely surrounded by others, talking to people or doing something fun.

Back to my initial question: Do I really need to know how my future will turn out? I need to chill — I know that. I need to stop worrying about what will happen and just be. I’ve been saying “I’m living!” a lot lately and I really am. All the changes in my life over the past few months have brought me to this moment and I’m happy — I’m living! I feel like 2016 came along with so many happy memories. I grew very close to so many of my high school friends. I got my first job at a restaurant and figured out how to balance my life. I visited colleges and got accepted to my top pick. I graduated high school and had one of the best summers of my life. Then, my favorite part of 2016: I completed my first semester of college!

I have met so many great people, passed all of my classes and made it through my first semester. I am truly happy in Charleston. When my family left me after move-in day I was very uncertain about being (sort of) on my own and not knowing many people. A week later, I had fallen in love with everything about The College. I became fast friends with one of my roommates, found a group of gals that like going out as much as I do and I made friends with people who look out for me and have my back no matter what. So when I look at the big picture, I’m thankful for all the surprises because I would’ve never expected my first semester to be as great as it has been. Many people couldn’t wait for 2016 to be over, but I think I’m happy with everything that 2016 brought — the ups and the downs.

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Ocock

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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To The Girl Who She Thought She Was Ready For Something But Isn't

Sometimes things don't work the way you want them or do they?

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There could be a multiple of things that you thought you were ready for. It could be that first trip that you planned on going alone, a higher job position, a new relationship. Just know that when you take that first step, you technically are ready for this new transition. It's a matter of running the whole journey with it. Its okay to give up if there is no other option, but don't give up so easily when things get rough. Whatever situation that you are going through, there is always someone to help guide you through it. Just know that you don't have to make that journey alone. I am in a new part of my life and my journey wasn't easy but I know that I can't fight what the universe wants.

Its okay if you're unsure of yourself but there are parts of the universe that wanted you to take that first step. Whether it's a manager or a friend that believed in you to give you the opportunity or the idea. If you start to feel like that this journey wasn't a good idea, you should assess yourself and see if this is what you want. If the answer is yes, then pursue it with all of the power that you have. I've noticed when something new is in my life isn't working out how I thought, it's normally how those surrounding me react to it or if I start to negatively self-talk myself to go back into my comfort zone. You can't stay in your comfort zone forever and not rise or fall. We are all scared of the fall, but you haven't lived if you haven't taken that leap and ended up fine on the other side.

There are multiple ways to hype you up for this next stage in your life. You can combat the negative self-talk with positive stating that you can do this. If you find that you aren't getting anywhere, go on another project that will bring you success so that you can come back to this one with a clear head. If you are going into a new role at work, watch videos of other leaders that can inspire you to combat through their journeys. There are multiple ways to make sure that you succeed, but it all comes down to you because you are the one willing or unwilling to make the journey. If you don't have your full heart in this then what's the point?

All of this comes down to if you are willing to believe in yourself or not. I say if you weren't willing to make this leap yourself with a full heart then you need to reevaluate yourself. I am going through a new journey in my life right now and it tests something that I'm not good at naturally. I normally go about things that I'm naturally good at, but it's time for me to fly rather than walk. If you are struggling with something new in your life, don't let it ride but surf the tide. You got this!

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