College: the entrance to the Great Beyond of Independence; and debt, and homesickness, and awkardness, and hard work, and new adventures. Sounds like a blast right? Moving out is a huge step, and trying to adjust to a completely new setting while figuring out how school is going to work is a huge struggle, but college teaches you more outside the classroom than it does inside the classroom.
I've always been a mature, strong headed young woman. I thought I could do anything with the snap of my fingers, because that's how it was in high school. Well, not the case. College is a TOTALLY different ball game. I figured out that my strong suites had to become a lot stronger to be considered "strong", and my goodness did I have some work to do.
The first thing college did for me was teach me how to be comfortable in my own skin. I was always conforming to other people and their ideas to fit in, stepping around people's toes to not hurt their feelings, and standing for things I didn't believe in to fit in with friends. College is a whole melting pot of different types of people, cultures, and ideas, and the way I thought on my own fit in perfectly with my new home. I learned that I didn't have to fake who I was to fit in with people in order to be loved. To my surprise, there are people out there that love me for who I am, and wholeheartedly. There's not many of them, but quality, not quantity, right? I was finally able to be myself after years of being silenced and it felt nice to not be a round peg being shoved into a square hole.
College has taught me patience. People don't think the way I do, and I need to remember that more often. To the people walking slower than snails up the stairs, maybe they had a hard practice that morning while I was still sleeping. To the lady talking on the phone instead of checking me out at the store, something might be wrong with a loved one. College has also taught me to be nice to everyone I meet because I never know what their story is what they're going through. Chances are, more often than not, they're just like me and trying to find their place.
College has taught me that it's okay to be boring. In highschool, I was ridiculed because I never stayed out late, partied, experimented, or did anything "crazy". You could find me with my family on a Friday, or at a basketball game on a Saturday. I knew I had to play it safe for the sake of my future, and for me, that was more exciting than fitting in. That mindset has followed me, except I go to bed at 11:30pm now instead of 8:30pm, and I'll stay up with friends even later on the weekends. I pay too much to be here to forget the whole thing!
Lastly, college has taught me that I've settled in the past, and there's no way I'm ever doing that again! Once you get a dose of what it feels like to be truly LOVED and APPRECIATED by the people around you, you realize that you've never had anything this awesome and that you never want to let it go! I've met my life long best friends and that life is fun on your own, but it's more fun with people you love.
The lessons in the classroom are valuable, but the one's taught outside hold the same value.