One day early on in my journalism class, I noticed a girl sitting in front of me with a diabetes patch on her bared arm. I remember thinking to myself how confident she must be to just have it out in the open (not that it's something to be hidden away). But from what I'd observed throughout my life, people usually tucked them out of sight. But she was different. She had it out in the open and was not ashamed of it in the slightest. I admired that. So I wrote it down, a little note to remember to wear my own patches (they may not be medical, but you get what I mean), not on my sleeve but out in the open, and to not hide away the person I was.
That was the start of my list of "Lessons that College Classes Haven't Taught Me," volume one. This one is pretty short, granted, I didn't observe nearly as much as I should have. Or, I didn't write it down. Either way, one end of the spectrum was laziness mixed with schoolwork and trying to maintain a social life, which resulted in a somewhat short list. However, these were some of my prominent thoughts. Ones that I knew I had to look back on when things got rough to remember how much I'd grown (or to be real with the struggles I'd had). So here is my somewhat mediocre list. Some go off on tangents, and some are just sentences. But they were the results of my freshman year experiences and 18-year-old mind. They're real, they're blunt, and maybe even a little personal. So, enjoy. or don't. Take it to heart, or don't take it too seriously. I'm not the boss of you.
1) There are children and adults all inside the same pool of 18-year-old bodies. Some of us are older in mentality, wiser, more self-aware. More insightful, more determined, more dedicated. We keep to ourselves our goals and ambitions, yet we work hard to achieve these things, absent of the need to boast or be prideful. We practice quiet confidence.
Others are children. Others must double-check with uncertainty with peers about everything they do to feel validated or accepted. They flow with the tides and never against them. They do not have ambitions that they fight for. They let life pass them by without care of tomorrow, or even the present. They live in their shell, are scared to peek out or need an adult to pull them out. They are boastful to hide their shame. They are ignorant as a result of indolence. They are loud in fear of silence.
We, the adults, do not fear the silence. We do not fear the loneliness. We live in knowledge and in faith. We can help the children, but we cannot make them grow. Only when they shed their small skins will they become one of us. (Dramatically poetic, I know. I'm sorry.)
2) I want romance. (Not the dating around, getting-to-know-one-another BS. Can't we just fast forward and fall madly in love? Maybe my mother's right, I watched way too many good movies when I was younger.)
3) I have always gone against the grain. College will not be the factor to change that.
4) I cannot see myself spending four years here. (There's trying times at the beginning of college; it's a huge change. You start to question, well, everything. Including exactly where you are. I'm studying fashion design, in hopes to make it in one of the most competitive industries on this planet, and here I am in the middle of cornfield-infested Iowa trying to achieve that. Of course, I was worried. My outlook has since changed.)
5) I have to suffer. (This sounds extreme, don't I know it. One day I was reading my friend my list thus far and I got to this one and she looked wide-eyed back at me like I'd just slapped her. I don't mean in a torturous manner or anything like that. Suffering, in this case, means I have to mess up. I have to fail at times in order to know that I have something to work on. Something to improve upon so that I know that I'm becoming the best version of myself that I can. Something to strive towards so I'm never at a standstill. It sounds morbid, but it has a deeper meaning. Maybe I just like the shock factor.)
6) In the words of Chief Tui from Moana, you must find happiness right where you are. (Yeah, maybe this 18-year-old adult was watching Moana when she's trying to fall asleep. Where's the shame in that? However, these words ring true. I've realized that 9 times out of 10, my circumstances are not going to be ideal. That's just life, and I'm learning and accepting that. Happiness isn't something that you can buy - unless it's a designer, of course - but something that you need to find within yourself. A light at the end of the tunnel. the rainbow after the storm. Hope keeps us striving, and happiness keeps us moving.)
7) Keep that childlike wonder about you. (This list kinda makes me seem like a kid... I swear I'm a mature adult. I swear it. But in all actuality, I've seen so many people get burned out from the things that they love, whether it be what they're studying in school, hobbies and interests, even their outlooks and perspectives, etc. One thing that I've always been is curious and hopeful. Trying new things is exciting, and I've never lost that motivation to keep progressing, even if it's in different, more niche aspects of my life. This addition was more like a reminder. College can be a very influential place, and I lost myself in the rush at times. It's important to call yourself back to home base and remember the person you truly are, and the person you want to be. To keep wondering.)
8) There are liars. You know them. Trust your instincts about people, for they are God's whispers in your ear and your conscience's nudge in the right direction.
9) Those who flaunt it don't have it at all. (My parents have worked to establish a sense of humility in my siblings and I. My father, in particular, has taught us to practice quiet confidence, and my mother has always instilled in us the truth that nothing material or physical can ever enhance one's personal worth. Being humble and kind is always the motto. I've since learned that there are many people in this world who were not as lucky to have as positive of role models in their lives as my parents. I've learned, much before college, but yet again revisited there, that the people who flaunt what they have, whatever it may be, are compensating for something else. And please don't take that in a dirty way.)
10) You can smell fake from miles away. Trust your intuition.
11) People who took you for granted come running back once you have taken time to grow and blossom. (This is tried and true. Funny how life works. However, your response to this is the most important aspect of this scenario... and one that I'm still trying to navigate.)
12) You have a fear of letting people in. (It's true, and I came face-to-face with this reality this year. Sorry if this is a little personal, but hey, I'm letting you guys in. Soak it up, because I've learned that it doesn't happen often. But truly, my issue with openness is something that I ignored all of high school because it was scary to me, and something that was necessary to finally discard of this year. While I'm still working on being a true open book, I've learned how refreshing it is to see the support and love I see from the people around me when I am in my most raw, yet evasive form: myself.)
13) You let so many people intimidate you with your sheer idea of them when in reality, they truly respect you. Acknowledge their feelings, for they are valid. You are not inferior.
14) The days are becoming routine. I wake up each morning just to repeat the same day. I lose a bit of joy in the idea of new days. I've never experienced this before, not really. (College is a struggle. Adulting is hard, as you've probably seen slapped across the front of countless cheesy tee shirts that middle-aged white women love and every journal, coffee mug or planner you find in Target. Things get a little monotonous from time to time. However, what keeps me motivated for my seemingly routine days at school is the excitement in a new day. Something different or weird or funny will happen every day, and it may even be just the little things that make a day special. But whatever it is, you'll never have another day like today. So embrace it, because it's yours and no one else's. You can make whatever you want out of it.)
15) Time is stolen from underneath you without you even noticing it. Embrace every moment. There are symbolism and something to be learned in every second of your life. (I don't believe in coincidences. You are in the exact place and time in this world that you are meant to be in for some reason that only a higher power knows - if you believe in that kind of thing. I know I do, but to each his/her own.)
That is the extent of my notes that I typed as I had moments of revelation in college. I want to keep doing this throughout my four years, and maybe even document the lessons that I learn in the workplace or within family life... really anything. You never know if you might possess the words that will change someone's life for the better. I encourage you to share or at least keep a personal list, of the life lessons you acquire throughout your days. It's amazing to see the progress that you make and the beautiful individuality of your story. Here's to the end of my first year of college, and to learn even more over the next three!)