In less than three months I will be putting on my cap and gown, and crossing the purple stage at the Grand Canyon University commencement ceremony. Graduation showed up fast. Too fast. With graduation coming closer and closer, it got me thinking about all the things I've learned about myself and world and friendship and all that stuff, during my few years here. I was really nervous about starting school here back in 2016, but GCU has really shaped me and taught me things I may not have learned anywhere else. I am so grateful for the lessons I've learned and the people I've met along the way!

1. Friends are more important than classes.

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Classes are important. Education is important. But if your friends need you, forget the classes. High school me would be appalled that I missed any classes, let alone missing to be with a friend, but GCU has taught me the importance of being there for the people who care about you when they need you.

2. Self-care matters.

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Self-care matters. If GCU has taught me anything it's that taking care of yourself is important. Taking care of yourself emotionally is something you can't compromise, even if your self-care doesn't look like somebody else's.

3. Wearing purple is never tacky.

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While I've become more conscious of what I wear while in college, I've also learned that what you wear isn't everything. GCU bleeds purple, so while wearing a bright purple shirt might not be the hight of fashion, it doesn't matter. Looks aren't everything.

4. "Ring-by-spring" is overrated.

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I came into college with an expectation that I was going to meet "the one," but I ended college meeting no one, and coming to the realization that "perfect timing" isn't everything either. I might have a timeline of life events played out in my head, but that doesn't mean that's what's going to happen. And that's okay.

5. You always have time to go to the gym.

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In college, I often skipped going to the gym because I "didn't have time." I did have time. I just didn't make time. Just as emotional health is important, so is physical health. College has not been my healthiest season, but it has inspired me to do better and to care more about my health.

6. If the food is free, show up.

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Saving money, especially in college, is imperative. While I was lucky enough to not to have to deal with a lack of funds in college, many people do. And I think learning to be wise with your money and save when you can is a very important life skill. So if there's free food somewhere, save a few bucks and go get it.

7. Take lots of pictures.

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College is full of memories that you're going to want to remember, and some that you might want to forget, but make sure you capture the moment. It doesn't have to be "Instagram worthy" for you to take a picture. Just take pictures and videos and everything you can to remember the good times.

8. It's okay to be alone.

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If college has taught me anything, it is that it is okay to be alone. I have spent a lot of time alone in college, and while I started out feeling lonely and rather sorry for myself, I've come to learn the important skill of being alone.

9. Find your people, and stick with them.

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When you find good friends, stick with them. Invite them to do things, don't just wait around for them to invite you. Support them. Skip class for them. When you find your people, don't let them go.

10. Once a lope, always a lope.

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In my last year, I've really come to feel that GCU is home. It's a community where people know each other and love each other. It's unlike anywhere I've ever been to before. I think that if I had gone to any other university, I might have floundered, but here at GCU, I was supported and loved. I am proud to be a lope. And once a lope, always a lope.