Ever since I started living with my grandfather my freshman year of high school, he’s heard almost all of my complaints. Especially when it comes to school. He’s seen the stress I had over chemistry sophomore year to the tears I cried from physics junior year. He saw me leave the house in the morning, dreading the pre-calculus test I was about to take that day.
He could see the weight on my shoulders I could not see myself. Throughout all of this, he’s never failed to give me advice. At the time, I would simply nod my head and let out a heavy sigh—not realizing just how true his words really were until I finished high school.
I find myself applying his little worlds of wisdom even more into my own life each and every day. While college is stressful, it shouldn’t dictate the way we live our lives.
1. Don't sweat the small things— including classes.
As cliche as it may sound, one thing he truly emphasized was not to worry about the little things. One thing he would always say was, “Are you gonna be a chemist? Then don’t worry about it!” when it came to my tears over chemistry class. While it is small, that mantra still stays with me. (Even though I don’t plan on taking chemistry anytime soon!)
A bad quiz grade, a missed homework or pre-exam stress seems like the end of the world in the moment. It’s almost all your mind can focus on and we, as high school and college students, become so hard on ourselves. We wonder what we did wrong, we criticize ourselves for making a mistake and we get so caught up in it.
We’re so caught up in it that we don’t realize it doesn’t matter in the long run.
Understanding that concept is one of the hardest parts and I still find myself struggling to realize that today. Yet the more I practice this, the more it sticks.
2. Always start your morning with positive thoughts, no matter how early your alarm goes off.
Something I always admired about my grandfather was how he manages to wake up close to six in the morning each day with positive thoughts, no matter what is going on in his life. He always starts his day thinking about the aspects of life that truly make him happy.
So when your alarm goes off at 7 a.m., try not to grumble and groan. Don’t let your mind immediately jump to the essay you have to finish by midnight tonight or think about the long walk ahead of you to get to your 8 a.m.
Think about how nice that long walk is going to be in the springtime, and how you’re one step closer to Friday every morning. Think about how you can stop and get a small cup of coffee from your favorite coffee spot. Most importantly, think of the incredible people that surround you and the incredible opportunities you have each and every day.
3. You're never too old (or too busy) for time with your friends.
Each week, my grandpa sets aside time to have coffee or breakfast with his friends. Coffee on Monday’s and Friday’s, breakfast on Tuesday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s. No matter how busy his schedule is, he always makes time for his friends.
Classes and assignments may get in the way some weeks. After all, we’re in college and professors may assign an essay due all in the same week. Yet try to take a few moments out of the week to spend time with the ones closest to you. Even if you’re both drowning in homework, head to the library together or even pause for a coffee break.
Schoolwork and exams will only make up a fraction of your life—the memories you make with your closest friends will last a lifetime.
While he hasn’t been to school since 1966, his words of wisdom still reign true. So, thank you, Grandpa, for the words of wisdom that will stay with me for a lifetime.