How College Has Made Me A Better Person

How College Has Made Me A Better Person

More independent? Check. More interesting? Check. More humble? Oh, yeah.
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I remember it well: that annoying moment during high school winter break when one of my older friends came back home and said, "ugh, everything is so much better when you're in college" or "when you're in college you'll understand." It always royally pissed me off. But here's the thing: what those self-righteous friends of mine were saying was true.

College is better than high school. Much better. Now, I'm not one of those people who stands by the belief that "college is the best four/five/six years of your life," but I do firmly believe that college is providing me with the opportunities to live the best life I can and is turning me into a better version of myself. Here's why:

College is increasing my independence

Just a few short years ago, I would ask my teachers to use the bathroom, ask my parents if I could go to the movies, ask my friends before I bought an outfit, and basically rely on everyone else to do things. I felt the need to validate my every move with someone else's permission, but in college, clearly that is not the case. Not only have I lived on my own in college, I now have to manage my own finances, make sure I get my work done, and make sure I get enough sleep. These things can be stressful, but now I can't imagine life any other way. College is making me responsible for myself, and I must say, freedom tastes pretty sweet.

College is making me more confident

I'll own it, I've gotten better looking since high school (who hasn't?). But that's only a small factor that's increased my confidence. In college, I've applied for scholarships, joined organizations, given 100-point presentations in front of classes of 80 people, and been put in charge of bigger things than ever before. Because of these challenges (and my more mature face, thanks puberty), I feel more comfortable approaching cute strangers, taking on new projects, introducing myself to important people, and looking in the mirror and liking what I see.

College is making me funnier

I know what you're thinking: "What? How is this possible?" It's true. It's probably due to me growing up and surrounding myself with people with actually intelligent senses of humor (there are funnier things than GIFs of people crashing dirt bikes, people). I've always been sarcastic, but the assholes I meet in my classes with their beautifully dry senses of humor have only made me more so. Honestly though, people actually laugh at my jokes now, and I'm not afraid to tell them (see the confidence paragraph).

College is making me healthier

My mom might disagree. I get a lot less sleep and "go out" a lot more than I did in high school, but I also keep busy and spend a lot less time on my ass. Plus, walking all over campus to my classes and a free gym membership does wonders. Remember, the Freshman 15 only happens if you let it.

College is making me more ambitious

Maybe my favorite thing about the college experience is seeing people who have actually done awesome things with their lives. I've met people who have traveled the world, accomplished amazing things in their glamorous careers, and made great strides in their fields. These people make me feel like I can do these things too, and push me towards my goals.


College is making me connected

In high school, I knew my graduating class, family friends, and a few teachers I liked. Now, I meet new people at every event, social, party, meeting, conference, and class that I go to. Plus, getting more involved has allowed me to befriend Student Body senators, chairpeople, club presidents, and more. Also, the more time I spend here, the closer I get to my professors and advisers, who can help me make the right academic choices and can recommend me for internships and good jobs. And, you know, the actual relationships you make are a perk.

College has made me more appreciative

College life might be busy as hell, but running around all day has really made me appreciate the free time I do have. My personality has become chiller, because with school, extracurriculars, social activities, and ALL THE STRESS, I simply don't have time for drama or unnecessary distractions. Maybe I've grown up, but I appreciate random acts of kindness and my friends/family more than ever. College has also made me realize how lucky I am to be here at all, because all it does is improve my life and my character.

College is making me more interesting

Long gone are the days of only Top 40 and Sara Dessen books. The challenging classes I take and the interesting people I meet in them have really broadened my horizons. Now, weird movies are cool to me and studying abroad doesn't seem so out of reach. Spotify Premium is only like $5 for students, so awesome music is easily accessible, too. Thanks to college, I can talk for hours about obscure shit and retweet stuff from accounts other than Common White Girl without being an annoying hipster. And I DO stuff! Concerts, plays, comedians, and PARTIES are usually free in college, so I take away awesome stories from all of these things. Let's just say I'm not the last one out in that Five Fingers party game anymore.

College is making me smarter

Well, no shit. But the great thing about a liberal arts education is the fact that you learn stuff that you never thought you wanted to, but are happy that you did. I've taken classes that have nothing to do with my future career, but turn out to be incredibly interesting. Did you know "The Shining" could be about the staging of Apollo 11? I didn't, until college.

And finally...

College has made me more fun

It's college. What did you expect?








Cover Image Credit: zimbio.com

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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The Pulse Affect

Where do we stand 2 years later?

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It's been 2 years since the infamous Pulse shooting and everyone, including myself, is still affected. I remember so clearly how I was too scared to go to any pride events afterward. I knew that's what the shooter wanted, was for us all to retreat back into the closest we so bravely came out of, but still, I couldn't bring myself to leave the bed.

The news had hit me harder than any of the previous shooting. While it was still a mass shooting such as what was happening at the schools, the target was more specific. He went in there with the mind of not just killing people, but people associated with the LGBT community. The scene was so horrible, that some of the first responders have even mentioned having PTSD still from the scene.

The news had sunk everyone's heart and many flocked to social media just to find out if friends were there or not. The toll was 49 innocent people who had lost their lives to a despicable individual I refuse to name. I feel he received too much attention in the media as it was.

It also didn't take long for the focus to switch from the victims to the "how could we prevent this"—which isn't a bad question, but the two sides who seemed to differ on opinions so much just turned it into yet another screaming match. That being said, those who weren't on the extreme end of it found themselves seeking comfort from each other. For many people, this attack did scare them, but I think within the horrifying event came a new sense of community.

For those who had family or friends that were victims of such an attack, my heart goes out to you. The mourning doesn't stop, and while I know there are no words that can be strung together to bring closure, I can show my support and continue to fight for equality and help educate whoever I can. The tragedy isn't something I wish on anyone, and the wound stills fresh to me despite not having any personal connections to anyone.

To end this story on a hopeful note, today people are doing positive things in honor of the victims of the pulse attack. One article writes about a couple who spends their time cleaning up the area of litter and mentions others donating money, objects, or their own time in hopes to help anyone in need. One direct quote from this article is "Last year, more than 2,500 people volunteered their time in support of Acts of Love and Kindness, and while there was no official tally yet for this year's outpouring, it seems likely that many will go uncounted."

I encourage people today to reach out to one another, no matter orientation or identity. Love one another and don't let things strip others of their human qualities. We are all human and have the ability to do good. The shooting was tragic, but we should not let it keep us from celebrating who we are and embracing each other with open arms. Don't let the worlds hate scare you or stifle your creativity. We will not let anyone push us back into the dark, no better their best effort. Live on and keep your heart open to love.

Cover Image Credit:


https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-gathered-near-building-holding-flag-at-daytime-919194/

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