This fall, I will be entering my Junior year of college. Exciting! So many things have happened since starting school back in 2015, and I have grown and learned in ways more than I can imagine.
Since I was a baby, I have dreamed about going to college – specifically the University of Washington. Being born and raised in Seattle, I have “husky blood” running through my veins. I never imagined myself going to a different school and I am so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to continue my education here. Throughout my time at UW, I’ve challenged myself academically, landed myself a stable job, joined a sorority, and have made lifelong memories. Along the way, I’ve learned more about myself and my capabilities. Here are a list of 10 things I have learned since starting college. What have you learned in your college experience? Let me know!
1. Failure is Okay
Failure can be one of the most terrifying things – especially in college. Students are always worried about getting into their major, if their grades are high enough to get into graduate school, or if they’ll fail their next midterm exam. I’ve been there. When I was taking one of my General Chemistry classes, I got a 35% on my first midterm exam. I was baffled when I saw the score because I had studied day and night for that exam and didn’t know where I went wrong. Instead of giving up, I decided to take my failure and learn from it. I went to the tutoring center everyday, went to every “office hours” session, and did so many worksheets I probably killed a tree. My next midterm exam, I got a 90% – a vast improvement from my first exam. I use failure as my motivation. Failure helps you learn, failure helps you grow, and failure does not define you.
2. Explore as Much as You Can
College is a time for exploration whether that be academically, socially, or personally. Use this to your advantage! Even joining a sorority was something that I thought was farfetched for me in high school. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my personal growth through my explorations and I encourage everyone to do the same.
3. Let Your True Self Shine
In high school, I always felt pressured to be who I wasn’t. I wanted to fit in and have lots of friends. When I started college, I thought the same way. I tried to morph my beliefs and actions to fit in with a new social crowd, and have even more friends than I did in high school. After months of trying, I gave up. This wasn’t me. I didn’t like going to frat parties multiple times a week, skipping class to do nothing, or just feeling like I had to filter what I had to say in front of people. That’s when I just decided to do my own thing. From there, my new group of friends formed organically and I’ve never been happier. There are so many people to meet in college and everyone will find their people.
4. Dump Those Who Make You Feel Dumpy
Okay, I admit, the title of this one sounds a little funky but I swear there’s a purpose for it. What I’m trying to say is: ditch those that make you feel like crap. There is no time for crappy relationships or trying to salvage relationships with those that won’t give you what you deserve. This goes for both romantic and friendly relationships. Surround yourself with the people that make you feel like the best you. Don’t settle for less.
5. It’s Okay to Eat That Hamburger
For the first two quarters of college, I was micro-managing my weight like crazy. I was scared of putting on the “freshman 15” and I wanted to look like the girls on Instagram. In reality, there’s not much time to always keep track of your food. If you’re anything like me, I live at the library and don’t have much time to cook. My studies are always my priority. Since I eat out a lot, I always try to pick the healthier option. But sometimes, with all my studies, I just need a pick-me-up. More specifically, a food pick-me-up. So, I go for guilty pleasure foods: a hamburger, pasta, or a bowl of ice cream. Granted, I don’t eat these all the time, but they do make me feel better when I’m in a rut. Note: this doesn’t mean “forget the vegetables!”
6. Challenge Yourself
I talk about growth a lot. Growth is so important to me because that’s what keeps life moving forward! Challenge yourself in as many ways as you can. Join a new club or take a class that you never thought you would take. Take that step!
7. Don’t Use The Library as a Social Hub
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gone to the library, stayed until 3AM, and have only gotten done 25% of what I wanted to accomplish. I would go the library every day planning on working but just end up socializing with my friends the whole night. As hours passed, more and more people would come to just hang out. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t actually getting anything done and cut off the library from my life (at least the social part of the library). If you’re going to the library to study, actually study! You’ll thank yourself later.
8. Take a Mental Health Day
College is stressful and it’s a time where people don’t take proper care of their mental health. It’s important to treat mental health the same as your physical health. If you feel overwhelmed, take a mental health day. Or at least a mental health hour. Relax and unwind and clear your head of all your stress and worries – at least for the time being.
9. Dress for Comfort
You might want to think twice about wearing those cute new heels to class or that new body-con dress. Yes, you will look bomb but is it worth the pain in your feet or your body? But some days, it’s okay to look like a bum when going to class. Trust me, no one will care. Wear what you’re comfortable in and what makes you feel good!
10. Believe in Yourself
It’s no doubt that college is extremely difficult and will test you in ways that you didn’t think were possible. Don’t give up. Believe in yourself every step of the way – even when you think things couldn’t get any worse. Things get better with time, trust me. Also, I believe in you!