There's no shock that people in college have a lot to deal with on a regular basis. First, lay on the minimum 15 credit classes that require three to four plus hours of studying per class, then add on clubs and sports team commitments. Then add on keeping up with our health and well-being, not to mention staying in touch with our families and friends from home. Also, having your social life stay alive by making sure to attend every party, and oh, did I mention that you have to squeeze in doing laundry once a week when dealing with the terrible machines that were around since your parents were born and having to worry about that one kid that always takes your clothes out the second they are finished?
OK, so yeah, we have a lot to deal with as college students. Frankly, I don't believe we get enough credit for what we're accomplishing, which is getting at least a Bachelor's degree. In the midst of all the drama, academics, social life and making sure that we eat something other than three-minute microwavable mac and cheese, it's important that we focus on staying happy.
Happy? Is that even possible with the amount of work that we all have constantly? Are there even moments that we can take a break and just smile?
Life is way too short to keep crying and stressing each week about what's due on a particular day and the anxiety and pressures of being in college. Of course, academics are important, but that one quiz that you failed that is worth 2 percent of your grade is definitely not worth your tears.
So, if you're feeling overwhelmed and, quite honestly, lost like I was during my first semester of college, sit back, relax and listen to ways to stay happy.
1. If it won't matter in five years, then it's not worth your tears.
This one is a rule that took me a long time to learn and works for me almost every day. That presentation you're so scared to give: chances are that the people in your class won't remember it and you won't even remember the classmates' faces. When you're in the real world and have a full-time job, chances are that you won't look back on your college experience and remember that time freshman year first semester when you choked in front of your class.
OK, so now that we're focusing on relaxing instead of stressing about our academics, we realize that this rule can apply to pretty much any problem that you're dealing with at a given moment.
Going through a heartbreak? Sure, you'll remember the guy that broke your heart, cheated or chose someone over you because that stuff frankly hurts like hell. However, in five years do you really think that you won't meet someone new or be thinking about the relationship that you used to have?
Ask yourself, what are some events that you will remember in the five years?
Not that presentation, not that stupid boy, but the amazing friends and memories that you created in your four years together. I'm still unsure of how a bunch of 18 to 22-year-olds are allowed to live together from all over the country and barely have any rules to follow, but I'm not complaining. Chances are that we will never get a chance to have this experience again.
2. Embrace the independence.
I know that the following will kill my mother to read, but one of the best parts of college is the fact that you get to be away from home. Don't be afraid of that because if anything, we should welcome that privilege. Do things on your own to show yourself that you can do them. College is the bridge from childhood to adulthood, and gaining the confidence in yourself to be by yourself is a crucial component of living a healthy, happy life.
People say "you find out who you really are in high school." Well, I politely disagree. I think that high school is a time of fitting in, keeping your head down and just counting down the days until graduation. Alternatively, I think that college is the time when people really branch out of their shells, find themselves and explore interests in fields that they couldn't imagine themselves ever doing.
I entered freshman year of college almost exactly the same as high school: scared, afraid to be different and too shy to get involved and apply myself to my schoolwork. I encourage everyone to not start the way I did. College is all about being confident in yourself, taking chances and believing that whatever you set your mind to is something that you can absolutely accomplish.
3. Surround yourself with good friends.
The beauty of college is that there are no longer clique-y groups that exclude you. For the most part, everyone is friends with everyone. Sure, I've seen some people still stuck in high school, but besides that small amount of people, no one judges you based on what you look like, who you talk to or by your interests. In my experience, everyone tends to get along and it's important to really find people who are genuinely good and care about you. You don't want to be friends with the people that ditch you or make fun of you or talk about you behind your back.
Friends motivate you because they see the potential that you have to grow. Friends get you an extra cup of hot chocolate when you're too sick to get out of bed. Friends make you laugh so hard that soda comes out your nose (that has actually happened to my close friends at college). So a word of advice: leave all of the drama in high school and find people who will love you as much as you deserve to be loved.
Funnily enough, trying out for things isn't like how it was in high school. Sure, it might've been "weird" to join the AV club or the Mathletes, but in college everyone does everything. Even better, do things that you love or are interested in experiencing. Also, I found some of my closest friends getting involved in clubs and the sooner that you start, the more comfortable you'll be and the more friends you'll end up making!
For instance, I started a club my first semester of my freshman year. Now, by my second semester, I'm on the chair of executives. That not only looks great on my résumé, but it is also exciting to be further involved in an organization that I truly care about.
5. Go out!
6. Live these four years to the fullest.
We've all heard it from parents, cousins and friends that college is one of the best times of our lives, but also that it goes incredibly fast. Even though it might be your first year, it's as if you'll take a blink and the next thing you know, you're walking across that stage to get your well-deserved diploma.
It sounds dumb, but live every moment to the fullest. You hate your roommate? Cherish the moments that they piss you off. You hate the dining hall food? This is probably the last time that you can ever be on a meal plan. You're too tired to go out? Push yourself because when you're working a full-time job in the future, you will give anything, and I mean anything, to relive the college days.
I realize that I say this a lot, but I can't reiterate enough how short life really is. So eat that extra slice of pizza, go out with your friends while you can and don't pass up on an opportunity of adventure. If Ted Mosby did that, then he'd have nothing to tell his kids and certainly, wouldn't have a story to share of how he met their mother.