After moving back home this weekend from the University of Kentucky, I reflected over my first two years of college. My first year of college at Kent State University was a rough one. I was pretty much just trying to survive my way through it because I was so miserable.
Coming out of my first year at the University of Kentucky, I can say I am much happier and UK has become a second home for me. Although this year has been much better, it's also been a lot different than my first. Emotionally, this has been one of the most trying years of my life. A big factor that played into that is that I have learned more life lessons in the past 365 days than I would've cared to.
1. I learned not to take anything for granted
I didn't realize until this year how comfortable I was in life and that I thought everything would always be the same. I really took for granted how lucky and grateful I am to be living this amazing life and that I'm surrounded by amazing individuals.
2. I learned to live in the moment
Life goes by so fast, I learned to take a step back every once in awhile and to take a mental picture of the moment.
3. I learned to follow my heart
This is a hard one. Multiple times in the past year, my heart, mind, and gut were not on the same page. I thought following my gut was always the right choice because it always screams the loudest, but following my heart has gotten me into less trouble and has made me happier in the long run.
4. I learned to put my own opinion first
I have zero problems with voicing and forming my own opinions, but in the last year, I have learned not to let others' opinions take place of mine. I often found myself listening to others and letting their words impact my own decisions instead of taking my own advice.
5. I learned to pay attention to my feelings
I have a tendency of putting on a "blindfold" and blocking out all emotions I'm feeling when times get hard. This often gets me into some sticky situations and I regret it in the long run. Something I've really had to work on in the past few months is not letting the "blindfold" come on and face my emotions and feelings head-on, even if it's hard.
6. I learned that I have some growing up to do
I consider myself very mature for my age, but I've realized from learning all of these life lessons that I'm not at my full potential or even close to it for that matter.
7. I learned that situations don't always work out the way you want them to
I'm used to a lot of things working out for me naturally, but this year was a different story. I learned that this is just how life goes sometimes.
8. I learned that reading books is beneficial
Yes, I'm a writer, but I hate reading. This year, self-improvement books have been my go-to. I learned there's a lot of amazing authors out there that know a lot about navigating life and the human brain, and there's a lot I could learn from them.
9. I learned that I have changed a lot
I'm not the same person I was a year ago because of the situations I've been faced with and the lessons I've learned. I really think I have grown a lot over the last year.
10. I learned that I don't give myself enough credit
With anything really — my writing, my academic success, my mental strength, and the list goes on. Let's just say there have been more pats on the back for me in the last year.
11. I learned how to make myself happy
I thought I had to cut people and things out of my life in order to focus on myself and my happiness. Boy, was I wrong. Turns out, the happiness was always there, I just had to find it within myself.
12. I learned that I need to be less selfish
I used to make decisions thinking they only impacted me. I learned that my actions have the power to hurt a lot of people. Over the past year, I've really tried my best to put myself into others' shoes before I make a decision.
13. I learned that I need to be less high maintenance
Admitting that I was high maintenance was a battle within itself for me. I learned that not everything in my life has to be perfect. If I'm happy and others around me are happy, then that's enough and everything is okay the way it is.
14. I learned that I have to live with the consequences of my mistakes
You would think this would be an obvious one. I've learned in the past year that I have to deal with the consequences of my actions and I have to realize there will be a consequence in certain situations.
I've learned a lot of lessons over the past year, and many of them are lessons that have impacted my life in a huge way. I've learned a lot, I've realized a lot, and because of that, I've grown a lot. My freshman and sophomore years were so different in big ways. I can't wait to see what my junior year has in store for me.