I am 21 years old. I’m a junior in college. I’ve experienced the 8 AM classes, the all-nighters to cram for exams, checking my bank account to see that I only have $7.63 left (which is enough to buy me at least one coffee), I’ve kept up on my homework, participated in class, met a ton of friends, etc.
I moved away from home to go to college to get the full ‘college experience’, and as I’m midway through my junior year of college I’m realizing more and more each day that the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far (and I’m still in the process of learning it) is not in classrooms by the professors, by the homework/projects assigned, or the tests I stay up all night studying for.
If you think about it, college is simple. You attend class, pay attention to lecture, study your notes, and take an exam that reflects your understanding of the material. It’s a process we go through to gain a certain set of skills designed for whatever profession that we aim for. During my process of adopting a skill set that’ll enable me to succeed in my profession, I’ve adopted skills that’ll help me succeed at ‘life’. That’ll help me keep on moving. That will help me keep on pushing. Because let’s face it, life is tough. And we’ll come across times where it’s tougher than we ever imagined.
It is something that can set us back, perhaps, have us think about giving up. It’s challenging, and it’s disappointing.
It is something that doesn’t have a course you can sign up for, pull an all-nighter figuring out how to do it, or sit in class and listen to a professor lecture on it. But rather, it is solely based on experience, and it's in your hands to figure out how you’re going to deal with it.
If I wanted to survive I had to pick up on what my parents tell me frequently, which is this:
“Take it one day at a time”
Seems easy right? Well, it’s not. Yet this is what I taught myself to do.
Each day I wake up around the same time, I eat breakfast, I go to work, walk to my classes, find time to make it to the gym, go home, eat dinner, sleep, and do the same routine over again the next day. Life can get stressful when you have to balance a million and one things all at once, but taking one thing at a time not only lets you focus better and not get caught up in stress, but it permits you to live a qualitative life.
Yes, life can be messy, but there are so many things in the world to be happy about—so much positivity to focus on. It is important to live in each and every moment.
Make your best attempt to stay off your phone while in class, try to look up when you walk to class to greet your friends you see along the way, make conversation with strangers in the elevator, make a call to the ones you love instead of text, educate yourself on something you've always been interested in, challenge yourself and go outside your comfort zone whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I promise you, you will gain the most from the moments that you soak in. And those moments sink in the most when you take one thing at a time.