11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

It's been more of a learning journey than I'd like to admit, but I'm glad I know these things now.

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The first year of college is rough—you're on your own for the first time, school just got stupidly hard, and you have no idea what you're doing. Once sophomore year hits though, you're pretty much an expert—you've probably settled into your major, joined a few clubs you're passionate about, and finally figured out how to handle this whole "life" thing. While reflecting on the past year and a half of our lives, my friends and I compiled a list of the core things we wish we had known before now.

1. Befriend people who intimidate you 

Mean Girls

My first two semesters of college, I spent a lot of time being jealous of my peers who seemed to have it all together and were doing "better" than me. Once I actually became friends with some of these people, I realized that they're also just people and have struggles just like I do. I also found that by surrounding myself with equally (or more) motivated people, I was able to accomplish so much more.

2. Learn to say no every once in a while 

No

The opportunities on a college campus are just about endless, so it's easy to get caught up with so many things to do that you don't have time for what you actually want to do. Learning how to say no (and not feeling guilty about it) has helped me focus my energy and time on what matters most to me.

3. Mental health is so important 

Meditate

'Nuff said.

4. Stop telling yourself you can't be good at things 

Help

About halfway through the semester, I started running for the simple reason that I've always told myself it was something I couldn't do. After training for and finishing a 5K, I've proven myself wrong and gained a confidence that has transferred over into all aspects of my life.

5. You need all different types of people in your life 

Hug

It's important to have a balance of friends and family in your circle. You need some who you can laugh with, some who you can cry with, and some who nudge you out of your comfort zone.

6. Romantic relationships do not, and should not, define you as a person 

Patience

Over the years, I've been very insecure about my (non-existent) dating life. I've felt that I'm "less than" for having an S.O. This semester, I learned that having a strong support system is much more valuable than a strong romantic relationship. The right person will come along eventually.

7. Stepping out of your comfort zone usually works out well 

Comfort Zone

I have a lot of fear when it comes to meeting and talking to new people. I don't like to do things alone. This semester, I finally stepped out of my comfort zone in this regard by trying things by myself without a friend with me, and honestly, I had a blast.

8. Enjoy your alone time 

Roommates can become instant best friends. However, their presence automatically means you lose a large chunk of your alone time. When you get a free moment to yourself, take advantage of it. Your mental health will thank you.

9. Take part in events, no matter how cheesy they may seem 

Yes, colleges can be corny with some of their more wholesome activities. These events will only be available to you for a short portion of your life. I've found that sometimes you can make better memories at things like that than you can at a bar.

10.  Try things, even if you don't think you're good enough to keep up 

Try

So maybe you were the star in high school. Maybe you weren't. Either way, you shouldn't stop yourself from trying out for sports or activities in college because you think you "aren't good enough." No matter how big your college is, there's no way you'll know whether or not you can do something until you actually try to do it. More times than not, something will work out in your favor.

11.  Take advantage of the ridiculous amount of opportunities available to you. 

Do it

Your college years are going to be full of opportunities—both academic and social. You have every chance and every tool to succeed, it just comes down to actually taking the leap and making those opportunities work out for you.

Even though all of these things would have been nice to know in the past, I think that not knowing them made us into stronger human beings overall as we've learned and grown from our mistakes. So don't be afraid to fall into these traps yourself–sometimes, the best way to learn is to fall a few times before you can get up and stay up.

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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I Didn't 'Drink To Forget' My 21st Birthday, And I Couldn't Be Happier About That

Just because I did not blackout does not mean I "did it wrong".

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Turning 21 is a big deal. It is arguably your last exciting birthday, and I think why it is exciting goes without saying.

I finally just reached this birthday milestone, and my night was exactly what I would have wanted it to be. I bought a new shirt for the night, did my hair and my makeup, had the stereotypical girl turning 21 sash and balloons, and I drank and went out with my friends. But there is not one point of the night I could not tell you about.

You can all celebrate however you want, as they are your birthdays, but for my birthday, this was perfect.

I am tired of the stigma that celebrating things around this age is a reason to get incoherently, miserable to be around, drunk. Why would I want my only memories of my birthday to be me throwing up the next morning? Instead, I can remember laughing with my friends and taking pictures and dancing.

From everything I have seen, blacking out and throwing up does not sound fun to me, and I am glad that my friends let me decide what was going to be fun for me and not what they thought would be fun.

Being force fed shots does not sound like my ideal night out, nor does chugging drinks for "fun".

I am not trying to sit here and pass judgement on those who have tested their drinking limits in honor of birthdays, you do you. But let other people decide how they are willing to spend it, and in turn do not judge them for how they chose to celebrate.

If remembering what happened makes my birthday "lame" to you, then it is probably a good thing that you were not apart of my celebrations. Personally, I was happy to be surrounded by people I love and remember every minute of it.

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