These 4 Lessons I Learned Stick With

I Learned 4 Life Lessons I Can’t Get In A Classroom

The guide to life isn't in statistics class

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I'm currently enrolled in a communications class this semester and the classes are hit or miss. Sometimes we go straight into notes, learn the material for the day, and head out the door. Other days we do high school level activities, watch long TED talks, or watch documentaries. Usually, I can debunk about every point made in a video we watch, making it pointless. Let's face it... I can "enjoy" those videos from the couch at home. The activities are usually too long, and they don't cut to the point — what a waste of my time. Fortunately, my money isn't going completely to waste. I've learned life lessons throughout my high school and college education that one can't get sitting in a classroom listening to TED talks.

1. People will try to screw with your life time and time again

But you can be the bigger person. People regularly come to my side, spend every day with me, and as soon as I refused to put up with crap, they would bolt. As soon as I became "too attached," people would run for the hills. Here's the thing... that's okay. People aren't always meant to stay. My personality isn't meant for everyone. I'm blunt and I don't sugar coat. Some people don't like that, but that's not my problem. My best friends from high school and college don't seem to mind. Those people who hurt you and treat you poorly are not your friends. Ditch them. You'll be a much happier person.

2. People have differing opinions and you need to be open minded

I'm not saying toss your morals and values out the window, but if someone has a different opinion, it needs to be respected. I have many peers that practice a different religion, and some handle it more gracefully than others. Some like to throw it in my face, others like to have an open conversation about it, while a few want to try to convert me and tell me my life is a lie. You can't have an honest discussion with people if you bash their beliefs or try to change them. This goes for politics as well. Just because someone likes one candidate over another, it doesn't give you the right to tell them they're wrong. You can have a discussion with them over why you prefer the other candidate, but everyone needs to have an open mind in conversations.

3. If you burn yourself out, it's hard to stay on task

Keeping yourself mentally and physically healthy is a difficult task, especially in college. Part-time jobs seem like full-time jobs and exams take up the little free time we have, but it's important to take a few minutes and evaluate. I burned myself out to the point where I took a three-week break. I was a music therapy major, and the schedule and homework load was too demanding. I was in school from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and that didn't include a four-hour rehearsal after. I overbooked myself. Now that I have more control over my life, I feel like I can conquer more. Take the time you need for yourself so that you don't become overwhelmed and burn out.

4. Social media should not dictate your future

Yes, it's fun to see what the Vlog Squad from YouTube is doing every day and laugh at the funny memes that come my way, but I don't obsess over social media. I used to be on Snapchat daily and watch new stories roll in about every hour. I scrolled through Facebook whenever I was bored. Likes and follows on Instagram used to be everything to me. It was unhealthy. If you love Netflix, you may have heard of the KonMari method shown by Marie Kondo. She helps people declutter their houses. If it doesn't bring you joy, pitch it. I do the same thing on my social media accounts. I unfollow and unfriend people all the time. I had 430 friends on Facebook, and I didn't recognize half the people I was unfriending. I have 20 friends on my Snapchat, and I rarely use it anymore. My feed is much more controlled, and I limit what people see. It makes a world of difference.


You can't get this kind of education sitting in Biology 101. I've learned how to talk to people by sitting on a tour bus for hours. I've learned how to deal with moronic friends by watching them walk out. They are hard lessons to learn, but I'm a much better person for it. If you feel like you aren't learning in the classroom, remember that you're learning so much more out of it.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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