College: The Factory of Life Lessons

College: The Factory of Life Lessons

You Live to Learn and Learn to Live

No one lied when they said that college, or life itself, is a learning curve. I feel like there is always two options when a curveball is thrown your way. You can use it to better yourself and learn, or you can let it take over you and shut down. Don't worry about if you'll ever have enough experiences to become a well-rounded person because college will provide you with more than a few to go out into the real world with a bag of tools in your hand. Here are a few lessons college has taught me so far:

1. If you stress about having stress you'll end up more stressed.

There is a lot more on your plate than you're used to having and it's entirely normal to get overwhelmed. It'd be a little peculiar if you didn't get a little stressed from time to time. However, you can't let the stress consume you because it will only make the situation worse. You may have three tests this week, two papers due next week and a lab report to hand in by Friday, but I promise you will be okay. You have to take one assignment at a time, one day at a time, and one week at a time before you take one year at a time. Stop thinking ahead and running yourself into a wall with all the work you have to do and make a list, and cross each task off at a time. Trust me you'll feel like you're conquering the world with each "x" you make.

2. Take time to make yourself happy.

This goes right along with numero uno. If you feel down, stressed, or just "blah, take the time to make yourself happy. No, you're not being selfish, you're doing something healthy to make yourself feel better. It is not wrong to take time away from all the craziness and not care about making others happy to make sure you yourself are in a positive place. Go get your nails done, go get a wax, go get a random tattoo, put on a face mask, go to a spin class, hey streak across campus if that's what it takes to put a smile on your face. Just make sure to make time for YOU.

3. College is a lot different than high school, but it's also pretty similar.

No one was wrong when they said that college is definitely an adjustment from high school. You have never experienced a workload like this and it will it like a train at full speed. It's the first time you don't have your mom or dad to help you write an email or help problem solve or make an appointment for a tutor, you're on your own. But you know what, you'll learn quickly. What has to be done will get done because you will get it done all by yourself. That's right, you can adult. College also isn't too far off from high school because there will still be the "jocks", the "band geeks", the "cheerleaders", the "nerds", and everything far off and in between. The difference is, you learn to not care. The people who support you and accept you for you will be the ones standing next to you when you marry the love of your life and the ones who don't, you'll see on Facebook occasionally and that's perfectly okay. But no matter the people you meet, you will have memories to last you a lifetime, laugh so hard your abs hurt, dance down the halls in fuzzy socks, slide down the stairs on your butt on the way to get food, jump in the elevator, and go on spontaneous adventures to tell your kids about. You will find your 2nd home.

4. Learn to have some fun and put positivity back into the world.

Learn to laugh a bit more, smile a little big bigger, hug a little bit harder, and live life to the absolute fullest. God didn't give you this life to waste on grudges or sad times or to not think that what you have isn't enough. He gave it to you to be the child he created. You are smart, you are an individual, you are caring, you are loving, you are strong, and you are going to conquer life and everything it has to offer. Never doubt yourself and what you have because you are more than enough. You will pass that test. You will make it through that crummy week. You will do any single thing you put your mind to because you are YOU. Spread that same positive attitude out into the world and let other people know how awesome they are because it takes such less energy than spreading negativity into the world already full of hate. Gandhi once said, "be the change you wish to see."

5. Home will always be where the heart is, or Heart will become your home.

As much as you try to be a strong independent young adult, your family will always have the key to your heart. A call to your mom will always make you feel better. An "I love you" from a grandparent will always put a smile on your face. A hug from your dad will always make you feel safer. And even a slap in the head from your annoying brother will make you laugh. Don't discredit the amazing support team you were blessed with. You'll always have cheerleaders on your sideline and that's pretty awesome if you ask me. And you'll even make a new family full of crazy, loud, loving people just like you. They may not be blood, but a sorority is still family. You now just have over 100 new siblings to be there for you, but you don't have to drive an hour and a half to have a laugh anymore. You can jam to Drake, do some cartwheels, and stuff your face anytime you need with some pretty amazing sisters. Don't forget the original homies who got you through the last 4, 6, 8 years of your life.

Matthew 6:34

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Competition Isn’t Real, So Stop Worrying About What You Think Is Your 'Competition'

When you stop worrying about being better than "your competition," you will succeed.


"What are your plans for after College?" is the one question every college student wishes they could never hear again. After hearing those seven short words, the body of the college student is flooded with waves of irritation, paranoia, and worry.

When you set all your triggered thoughts and anxieties aside and manage to hurl out an answer, you're probably told "That's nice, but how are you going to get a job? That field is so competitive." At this point, you are probably ready to excuse yourself from the conversation for a timely breakdown.

Throughout high school, conversations at family gatherings and holiday parties typically went through this vicious cycle.

A naive junior in high school who was quick to say his major was going to be Musical Theater in college was always infuriated by the response "You'll never find work. That field is so competitive."

After a while, I started to believe it and decided to look elsewhere for a career path. I considered nursing, to where I was told how competitive college nursing programs are, and how little students they accept. I figured I wouldn't stand a chance, so I kept looking.

I circled back to the theater and was reminded by everybody how rigorous the Musical Theater college audition process was, and how they only accept a handful of kids. Surely there were other students more capable than me, and I wasn't going to let the ridiculously annoying boastful comments of theater kids ruin my search for my path in life.

My Dad always reminds me how much money I could make pursuing business, but working a 9-5 desk job dealing with hot-headed businessmen being choked by the tightness of their neckties never appealed me.

I felt fatigued like I was being told that I need to pursue what other people want me to, instead of following my dreams.

At this time I was a senior in High School, and my CommonApp was filled with prospective schools that I might attend, but the "intended major" section part of each application wasn't filled.

The loud "you can't" and "you'll NEVER get work" boomed in my ear until I was convinced I couldn't follow my dreams of becoming an actor, so I caved and intended to pursue journalism. I was told by all my teachers I was a gifted writer, so I figured it would be worth a shot.

"You can always do theater on the side," is what I heard. Now in college pursuing journalism, a field I was told: "will be one I can actually get a job in," some professors tell me after graduation, I will be doing journalism "on the side" because of how "competitive" the field is.

All occupational fields are competitive, whether that be communications, business, nursing, etc. Here is one thing that I learned through this experience and many others…

You have no competition.

In the eyes of someone who is hiring for a job, they are going to pick whoever's work they feel best fits the position. This isn't the product of a cutthroat field, it's solely the product of your work fitting the part.

You can't mash two puzzle pieces together because you THINK it's what fits, whatever is meant for you will come to you. Your puzzle pieces will fit together naturally.

In the end, it will come together to form a beautiful picture.

As for me, I decided to tune out the comments about competitive fields. What used to consume me cannot phase me anymore.

I still intend to pursue my dreams of becoming a performer, and at every audition I will remind myself that it is not the field that is competitive, there is no competition. The performer sitting next to me at an open call is not my competition, but my inspiration to work hard to find the job that will best fit me.

In the words of Cinderella, "there is one thing, they can't order me to stop dreaming."

The reporter who grabs every single story shouldn't turn me into someone who viciously grabs every story they can to build their portfolio, it should make me look for stories I WANT to tell that will progress me as a writer. After all, I am still learning.

I learned that I shouldn't belittle other people that are deemed "my competition" to disorient them, giving me a better chance at getting a job. Kindness will be more rewarding than contributing to the vicious dog-eat-dog world.

"I'm not in competition with anyone except who I used to be, and everything I do now is just an evolved version of something I've done before" -Kali Uchis

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