The start of a new year always puts me in a nostalgic mood. The months spent in school speed by leaving little time for reflection, but winter break allows me to make the time to contemplate the finished semesters and digest the events that took place.
This past year has been a roller coaster, to say the least.
It was my first full year of college (shoutout to my fellow spring admits!) and it was filled with enough uncertainties to last a lifetime. In-between wondering whether I still wanted to pursue my major, and re-learning how to make new friends, the first couple months at USC were hectic and confusing, yet now these troubles couldn't be further from my list of stressors. The issues I faced in the beginning of 2018 aren't memorable anymore, and it's calming to know my current issues will either be resolved or forgotten a year from today.
Here are some of the lessons I've learned while enjoying my semester off and this past school year:
1. It’s okay if you don’t have a certain path.
You're young and in college! You're not supposed to have everything figured out yet. It's okay if you decide you're unhappy with your major and want to change it a couple times (or eight times). It's okay if you're confused and uncertain about next steps–most people are, even those who seem like they have it all. With time and proper experience, you'll find your true passion.
2. Be kind to yourself.
Whether you're in your first year, or fourth year, life will throw obstacles in your path that you're going to have to maneuver, and no matter how difficult things seem in the moment, they'll get better. From a failed midterm, to a fight with a close friend, the most important thing is to not be hard on yourself and to not give up. Just because things are hard in the moment doesn't mean they'll be hard forever; you have to give yourself the space and time to grow. One of the most important pieces of advice a friend gave me is, "Be compassionate to yourself, accept yourself for who you are, and just be nice like you were talking to someone you love". You are your own biggest critic, and treating yourself with the same respect you show others is essential.
3. Live in the moment.
You never know how life is going to turn out. Hindsight may be 20/20, but it's impossible to predict the future no matter how much you plan for it. This being said, it's important to slow down and genuinely enjoy the situations you're experiencing. Whether they're positive or negative, just as every action has a reaction, every experience has a lesson. Learn from your mistakes, and don't let them hinder your progress. Try to enjoy life as it happens because no two days are the same.
This advice may seem overstated and obvious to some readers, but actually believing in the points and incorporating them into daily life can be extremely beneficial. As someone who overthinks every situation and stresses out over every assignment, sometimes something as small as taking a step back to reevaluate is more helpful than can be articulated, and I encourage everyone to adopt these mindset hacks.