I always envisioned my college experience consisting of attending class and learning, fun with friends, and planning for my future. I did not realize how much I would actually learn about myself within three short months.
While I have obtained a great deal of new knowledge from my classes thus far, more importantly, I learned more about myself. The lessons I have learned have helped me stay grounded, and focus on the most important aspects of my life. While I am no expert on life, here are a few things I wish I valued more during my high school years.
1. Don't force any relationship
Starting a completely brand new chapter is overwhelming and scary. I thought that making new friends while maintaining old ones would become a day to day challenge. However, I noticed that the relationships that were important to me, and mutually by the other party were not a struggle to maintain.
Forcing old relationships is not only a waste of time and energy but takes away from time you can be spending on forming new friendships. Reflecting back on high school, there were definitely times I, and I'm sure everyone else, put effort into a friendship we knew deep down was not worth it. After starting this new chapter, I realized how important it is to make an effort only with those I cannot imagine my life without.
2. Family is forever
Being away from my family put into perspective how important they are. While I was the type to stay home on a Friday night to watch a movie with my parents instead of going to a 20 person basement hang out, not everyone was like that.
I promise, once you are away from home, you will regret those nights you had a mediocre time at best with friends instead of taking advantage of chill nights with your family. Being more independent, with fewer rules than ever will also put into perspective how much your parents do for you. Simple day to day actions like doing laundry or making your bed suddenly become all on you. Maybe have your mom teach you how she separates whites, darks, and colors to do your laundry before you get to college and accidentally die your favorite white shirt light pink.
My number one piece of advice, however, is to simply tell your family you love them every day. Even if you get into a fight with your sibling, or your mom won't let you go somewhere with your friends, I promise you still love them.
3. There is more to life than what is currently going on in yours
It's very difficult not to be consumed with what's going on in the lives of yourself and your friends during high school. After being in college for a few months, I've realized the importance of learning more about the world than just your personal bubble.
The ability to make conversation with a diverse body of people is a special skill. However, this requires taking the time to learn about more than what your 300 Snapchat friends are doing.
For example, taking the time to watch the news or read some articles in your free time. Being well-versed with what is going on in your community, state, country and even world as a whole allows you to communicate and connect with so many people. This truly is a unique skill and makes it so easy to get to know people you never thought you could be friends with.
4. Remember who you are, but strive for who you want to become
High school was definitely a time where I learned about myself. Not only did I learn about myself in the present, but I realized the kind of person I wanted to become. I may not have realized this in the moment, but I now reflect back to high school experiences when looking for explanations of the kind of person I am.
For example, a simple action like picking my class schedule took into account my strengths and weaknesses from high school. A more complex experience like finding people I truly connected with made me think back to high school, and the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with each day. If I discovered in high school how important my past experiences were, I may have taken advantage of opportunities I quickly dismissed.
Each day, I think back to my time as a high school student. Whether it is remembering study habits that helped me earn an A on a hard test, or how I handled myself in an argument with a friend, these past experiences shaped my current self.
5. Live in the moment, but plan for the future
While this seems quite contradictory, it truly makes sense. I have always been a planner, planning out my day from the precise time I get out of bed in the morning to the time I go to sleep. I continue to do this in college in order to keep me motivated and organized. However, it is so important to live in the moment and accept slight deviations to your schedule.
My first few months in college showed me how necessary it is to make a plan, stick to it, but learn to make new plans along the way. Now, this can mean grabbing a bite to eat in between classes instead of getting ahead on homework or taking a power nap in order to stay up late studying.
Regardless of the situation, reacting to your body and mind instead of your calendar notification is most important. Doing what you want in the moment, while adjusting your plan for the future is the best way to stay happy and healthy and still achieve your goals.