It's October, which means all of us college students are smack dab in the middle of midterms and what is arguably the hardest part of the semester. Deadlines are fast approaching, and assignments are piling on thick with no end in sight. Times are tough, and if you're like me, you're focused on giving your all to making it through and giving your best effort to each assignment and test that comes along.
But even as my days become increasingly centered around school and checking things off my to-do list, I want to provide some encouragement to my fellow college students (and hopefully challenge myself). Here's the thing: yes, doing well in school and dedicating yourself to learning and accomplishing all you can are important things. College is a huge investment, and you have to work hard and sacrifice a lot in order to get the most out of this experience and prepare yourself for the real world.
There's no sugarcoating it: college is difficult, and it requires much of you. Slacking off, not taking assignments seriously, and putting in little effort will only hurt you in the long run (in terms of both getting your degree and learning important skills and character traits).
However, at the same time, don't get so bogged down in getting things done and completing assignments that you start to lose your appreciation for where you are. In college, life can quickly become about checking things off a list; then you blink and the next thing you know, you're a junior. Where on earth did time go?
Yes, it's true that college isn't easy and that you're here to work. Strive to get a good job and have a desire to learn as much as possible. However, don't become so bogged down in the drudgery of day-to-day tasks that you lose sight of the bigger picture. I always try to remind myself that I'm majoring in something I love at my dream school. Not everyone can say that. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take a step back and appreciate the beauty and grandeur of it all. My school's campus is beautiful, I have amazing friends, and I'm learning to navigate my newfound independence as an adult.
Things have changed throughout my years at college, but I don't want to lose the joy, awe, and excitement that I had going into my freshman year. I know that things change, and it only makes sense that I won't feel the exact same sense of enchantment and eagerness that I felt in the beginning. However, I don't want to lose sight of how amazing my life really is. I don't want the next two years to fly by without taking the time to appreciate just how much I'm blessed. Yes, I know I'll still be busy. But I also want to take the time to slow down and appreciate where I am. I love my school. I love my friends and my major. I have opportunities to go hiking, grab ice cream at midnight, and stay up until the wee hours of the morning on weekends watching movies with my roommate. I'm getting to live and experience life in an amazing place with amazing people.
So to all my fellow college students, I urge you: stay dedicated to school and work hard, but don't forget to appreciate where you are in this very moment. Things can get tough, and life can quickly slip into the mundane as you struggle just to stay afloat and accomplish what needs doing. But don't forget to take a step back and be thankful for how amazing it is that you get to experience this life. Before you know it, college will be over – and if you're like me, you don't want to live with the regret of not having appreciated the wonderful life you have.