When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to graduate and get the hell out of town.
I was ready for life. I was ready to get my life together, to continue my education so that someday I could have a job I love, and I was ready to be on my own. Or so I thought. What they don't tell you is that college is hard. Life gets harder when you are in college and I am sure that it is going to be even harder once I graduate.
You realize that everything costs money and that you can no longer throw your money away on useless crap. You realize that some people are shallow, selfish, and only meant to be in your life temporarily. You realize that it is completely unrealistic to have your whole life together at the age of 22. You learn some hard to swallow things when you move on and grow up.
So, here are 12 hard to swallow lessons I had to learn when I came to college.
1. Not everyone is going to like you.
I've met a lot of people since coming to college. Some became my best friends, some were the ones I merely sat in class with, and some didn't care for me at all. People will come in and out of your life and it is not worth dwelling on the ones you got off on the wrong foot with. Leave that shit behind and move on. No one needs that kind of negativity in their life.
2. Not everyone is going to care about you as much as you care about them.
There were times I became invested in people who I came to realize didn't give a shit about me. I invested my time and my emotions into people who only hurt me in the end. I learned quickly that not everyone gives a shit about what they do to you, they only care about themselves. No one deserves to hurt and go through that. If you take anything from this article, let it be this- if you think someone in your life is bad news, leave them behind. Save yourself from the heart break.
3. Unfortunately, some people are going to use you.
People are selfish and will do anything for their own personal gain. There are going to be people who will tell you exactly what you want to hear just to get what they want. In the end, the only one who ends up hurt is you.
4. Not everything is going to come easy. Sometimes, you have to put in a lot of work to see results.
How often have you come across something that just came easy to you? Maybe you never had to study for school. Maybe it didn't take much effort for you to learn a new trick or to pick up a new hobby. When I was in high school, school came easy to me. I didn't have to study for a test, I would do well with minimal effort. Let me tell you, that was NOT the case when I came to college. I would study for hours on end and then still not get the grade I wanted on a test. I would work so hard on a project and then not get the A I was hoping for. But you know what? I learned that sometimes, you have to put more effort in. Sometimes, you have to keep working at it to see those results.
5. Plans change. You have to learn to adapt.
When I was 18, I had my whole life planned out, or so I thought. Once I got to college, I realized that I did not have it all planned out. And here's why – PLANS CHANGE. Things come up, shit happens, and you just have to learn to adapt and go with it. You might find interest in something that used to put you to sleep, but now you think that is what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. You might decide that you need to do some traveling before you jump into a job you might spend the next several years of your life doing. Or hey, that job you thought you were going to love? Turns out, you hate it. So, you adapt, you find something new, and continue to figure yourself out along the way. And honestly, that is okay.
6. Don’t put up with bullshit. You deserve more than that.
Sometimes, we put up with bullshit because it comes from the people we care about. I get it. I do it too. But there comes a time when enough is enough. Does someone in your life constantly cancel the plans you two made? Does someone in your life always try to one up you and make themselves sound better than you? Does someone in your life not put in the same amount of effort that you do? Does someone in your life make you feel like you are being taken advantage of? Cut them off. You do not need to put up with that kind of bullshit in your life. You deserve better than that and if someone cannot see your worth, they sure as hell are not worth your time.
7. Some people are only meant to be in your life temporarily.
The cold hearted truth. Some people are just a temporary figure in your life. They come into your life and just as quickly they can leave. No matter who it is, sometimes people are only meant to be there for you for a brief moment in your life. Maybe it was the person you thought was going to be your BFF who no longer responds to your texts and is no longer your BFF. Maybe it was the girls you thought were going to be standing by your side on your wedding day. Maybe it was someone you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. No matter who it was, sometimes they are only meant to be in your life temporarily. They were there for you in that time frame but now you have outgrown each other and have moved on. You learned from them. You experienced life with them. It takes a lot of time to realize that not everyone is a permanent part of your life. The ones who stick around with you through thick and thin are the ones worth keeping anyways.
8. It is okay not to have it all figured out.
I cannot tell you how many times I get asked "so what do you want to do with the rest of your life?" Well, you know what? It is unrealistic to have your whole life planned out at the age of 22. I'm sorry, but dammit Becky, I don't know what I want to spend the next 45 years of my life doing, so quit asking me. There is unrealistic expectation that when you are in college, you are supposed to have it all figured out. I hate to break it to you, but that definitely doesn't happen. I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. What if I went to college for 4 years and graduated, but now I can't find a job? What if, after loving my classes for the last 4 years, I end up hating the field I go into? What if, my car breaks down and I have to put a ton of money into that even though I was saving that money for something else? What if tragedy strikes and all of a sudden I have to go home, can I make it there? Can I afford it? So often, we think that we have to have our life laid out like puzzle pieces on the table. Perfectly fit together to create a larger picture. But, sometimes, we lose a piece here and there, or the dog eats it. Trust me, it is okay to not have it figured out.
9. You make time for people you care about. Not everyone is going to do the same.
Ouch, this one stung a little. People are going to make time for the things they care about. And if they don't make time for you? Well, there is something they would rather be doing more than seeing you. I learned that the hard way and that's okay. You live and you learn. I cannot tell you how many times I set aside time in my day to see my friends only to be let down when they bail or change the plans. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone home and expected to see my friends back home only to realize that they already have plans that don't involve me. And don't even get me started on the number of times I have gotten the "sorry can't hang out today" text. As hard as it is, people have their own lives and have other things to do. And even if you care about them so much, that doesn't matter when they don't want to hang out with you or if they don't really care to hang out with you.
10. People can be selfish.
As you saw in #3, some people are selfish and will do whatever they can for their own personal gain. Making promises, telling you exactly what you want to hear, no matter if it's a lie or not. There are people who don't care if they hurt you or not. Save yourself. Protect yourself before you end up hurt. Sometimes you have to be the selfish one and get the hell out.
11. Money doesn’t grow on trees.
When you are a kid, you don't exactly realize that everything costs money. You don't realize that there are bills to pay, that gas costs money, and that you have to pay to put food on the table. When I came to college, I realized that yes, you do have to budget your money. You have to think about what you can afford and you have to prioritize. Money doesn't grow on trees. You have to work for your money and then you have to be smart about how you spend it.
12. You can’t help everyone.
This was the hardest pill to swallow. No matter how much you want to help someone, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. So, as hard as it is, you just have to step back and let them figure it out on their own.
Whatever it may be, we have to learn that not everything is as easy as it seems. We have to learn that yeah, life is tough, but you are tougher than you realize. You can handle the mess that life continues to throw at you. I am still learning how to handle it all, but hey, I am stronger than I was yesterday, and I will be stronger than I was today. Life is hard, but just take it one day at a time.